Dr. Wes and Young Adult Panel Discuss Sex Live on the Radio
This is probably the best radio show I’ve done in the last year. I recruited three 19 to 22 year old college girls (sorry no boys responded!) to speak on the topic of teen sexuality and dating, and wow did they. There is no morning better spent than one in which we talk openly with three articulate (and very entertaining) young people about the important issues of sexuality. As a bonus, I’ve posted below the “Snow Day Couple” column from Dear Dr. Wes: Real Life Advice for Teens. Buy the book and find out how Daniel and Taylor’s relationship turned out! In the meantime, here’s the link to the podcast …
…and here’s the backstory.
Dr. Wes: The young couple warmed the whole restaurant on a cold afternoon. Their principal had called a snow day and they knew exactly how to spend it—together.
I couldn’t take my eyes off them. Frequent readers of Double Take know my guilty pleasures. I love watching the antics of playfully close families, or witnessing couples lost in each other’s company. For this couple at Chili’s, the whole world had disappeared, leaving only the space around them. They never noticed me across the room with my “aw, how cute” smile.
She hadn’t worn makeup that day. She didn’t need to. She adorned the booth, wearing an old white T-shirt and sweats, safe and comfortable. On some unspoken cue, she leaned across the table and shared a kiss, sweet and perfect, with her boy. She talked and laughed, entertaining him. No texting or video games or DVDs or Internet needed. He never took his eyes from her, noticing her every detail. He grabbed her hands across the table. She lit up again.
“I wonder how long they’ve been together,” I said to my kids. “It looks like a week or a month maybe. They’ve so much to say and—”
“No, Daddy,” my thirteen-year-old daughter said. “You’re not going to talk to them.”
“How about you?” I asked my kindergarten son. “Men with cute little boys can talk to anyone. You’d go over there with me, wouldn’t you?”
“I’m going to the car,” he said.
They hid in the entryway, like they were waiting for the bus.
I can’t help it. It’s my respite from the office, where I see couples of all ages creating disasters for each other. Forgetting what it felt like to be lost in that space with their partners, sometimes imagining they could go back there, if they just found someone else. Always wanting to be where they’re not.
Neither the boy nor girl was surprised when I told them they were the cutest couple in the history of the world. Not a bit. They just giggled, as if they got that all the time. Anyone who loves love would see it and want to celebrate it with them. She’s sixteen. He’s seventeen. They’ve been together for an entire year and still give off the energy of the day they met. It’s like their first date again, today in that booth.
We can debate the wisdom of such intense love at this age. We’ve done it before in this column. But whomever that boy and girl end up marrying, I can tell you this: each will know how to love their partners, to entertain them, to notice them, and make a space just for them. That’s what they’re practicing now.
Dear teens whose parents have dropped this column by the breakfast plate on this manic Tuesday morning, I have just one wish for you: Feel that.
Toss everything you know about hooking up and hanging out. Just trash it. Don’t cling desperately to a guy or girl who treats you like crap. Go on strike until someone looks at you like that couple looked at each other, warming the room with love for one another. A hundred hookups from now, you’ll never find what that young couple finds every day across the table, together, effortlessly.
You can blow it off. Say they’re one in a million. Not normal. But I’ve seen hundreds of couples, young and old who know how to love like that. Nothing is stopping you from becoming one of them.
Trust me on this one.
Samantha Schwartz: What struck me about Wes’s story was the amount of time the couple has been together. Not just two weeks or a few months. A year.
Almost any couple can make it a month or two and still look like that. Everything is just so easy in that lovey-dovey, get-to-know-ya period. You have yet to discover the other person’s flaws, and their weird habits still seem “charming.” Getting past the honeymoon and into real life is a difficult transition, but the strongest couples have made it there together.
Any fans of The Bachelor out there? Last Monday, Jake proposed to Vienna, the girl with whom he had less of an emotional connection and more of a physical one. Vienna told Jake that she wanted her marriage to be “Just like being teenagers in love every day.” Yeah, okay.
Love is more than attraction and lust. It takes effort and work.
I doubt Wes’s restaurant couple are close by accident. They probably worked at it. After a year of dating, they’re bound to have had conflicts, and they must have talked them out. They’ve made each other a priority. Decided to spend the snow day together, even though they could have used it in a hundred other ways. They built trust so they could tear down the barricades we all put up to protect our hearts. And Wes is right, that’s what love is about.
Maybe they’ll write in and tell us how they did it.
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