I was at the mall last week, quietly eating my frozen yogurt in peace, when all of a sudden a flock of tweens descended on my particular area of the food court. And then I realized what a mistake I'd made in stopping by the mall for a frozen yogurt after work - on a Friday night. Oh, shit. That is exactly when and where tweens and teens alike begin their weekend! What was I fucking thinking?
At first, my fears were confirmed: they were awful. For one thing, they were unreasonably, irrationally loud. Yelling at one another for no other reason but to confirm to any and all adults in the vicinity that they're all more visceral and alive than we are or will ever be again. Jesus. Very quickly, the slutty 13-year-old girl of the group made herself known to the rest of us by exclaiming to a tween boy coming off the escalator, "Hey, you in the green! You're cute! I love that color green! Hey! Where are you going? Come here!" Then she didn't so much run over to him, as she did throw her body through space and time at him. Her status as Jezebel was then confirmed by her closest friend, when said friend began to run after her whilst yelling, "God, whoregasm! You don't even know him!"
I sat there wincing, considering whether or not I really wanted to watch a display of children running amuck with their barely there teen hormones.
Very suddenly, however, things took a surprising turn. Because for all their flirting and exclamations of "whoregasm!", the strangest ritual began to take place between the 20 or so male and female tweens gathered near the escalators. A ritual I can only refer to as The Ritual of Delicate Hugging. All at once and I think unrealized by them, they were initiating and receiving the most delicate and gentle of hugs from one another. One would approach another, gingerly touch the person's torso, at which point they would enact a hug that looked as though they were worried about breaking one another's bones. Then they would stand there in a dainty pose, talking to other people in the group, barely touching, yet with their limbs entwined.
It was the lightest, most timid display of physical affection I've ever witnessed. And it didn't just stop with them finding the one person and hugging - they were weaving in and out with one another like it was a dance in the decorous times of Jane Austen. And I actually began to laugh out loud. It was the most adorable sign of their true maturity level. For all the screaming and running and yelling and supposed slutty natures of one girl or another, in truth they were all more like tiny, prim little kittens touching noses.
So I'm a little less worried about these ruffians watching Gossip Girl and getting not so bright ideas from The Hills. Not entirely unconcerned, but certainly less so.