As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m working on a novel that will follow a teenaged couple from eighth grade through high school graduation. Right now, they’re both only 14.
I’m female, and never had brothers, so I don’t presume to know everything there is to know about how a teenage guy thinks, feels or reacts. What I do know is that I’ve been told, many times and by many different guys, that boys that age never have sex off of their minds: not entirely, anyway. And that when a guy is anywhere within arm’s reach of a girl, particularly one that he’s “interested in”, he is keenly aware of her femininity.
So I’m trying to illustrate that, without being crude, but I’m not sure about a couple of bits that I have so far. In the following excerpt, they’re at the 8th grade dance, slow-dancing for the first time:
Mr. Rilch says, “Any editor would tell you to leave that out.” But maybe I could change the 9/11 reference to something else. My point there is, Ash has to think of something sobering and unpleasant, in order to keep from being…ungentlemanly. Or should I leave out that internal conflict entirely? I could, but I don’t want to, on the grounds that I’ve been told that that’s exactly what happens when a 14-year-old guy gets into “Omigod, we’re touching a woman!” mode. My characters are going to have sex eventually, and as such, I want to show right along that they do have a sex drive, so I can build up gradually to the big event, not just abruptly go from hand-holding to that.
Then there’s this. They’re walking to a pizza parlor while Alexandra tells how her mom has a mail-order business making candles and so forth:
Friend says he’s not sure a 14-year-old would make that association. But wouldn’t just the word “bath”, let alone “bath oil” be enough of a trigger? I was, after all, a 14-year-old girl once, and I well remember the numerous things that made me self-conscious. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think that at that age, anything that the opposite gender does, that your own doesn’t, seems terrifyingly intimate.
So what d’y’all think?