Boys Will Be Boys

I am listening to the news.

The news is about a man who wants to be appointed to be a Supreme Court Justice.

The news is about this man being accused of attempting to rape a girl when he was a teenager.

Some people are saying that this rape does not count, because he was young, and "boys will be boys," and they do hurtful things, because they cannot help it.



The afternoon before my husband and I signed the papers to purchase our first home, he disappeared from our apartment. My daughter was an infant at the time. She was in my arms.

My husband disappeared because he was stressed about our mortgage. He hated owing money. He was nervous about purchasing permanence. He was worried about being responsible. He had screamed and thrown something and made a hole in a wall earlier in the day.

He didn't tell me he was leaving our apartment. He just left. And he stayed away. And he didn't answer his phone for many hours. Many hours later, after nursing our baby and worrying and changing her and putting her to sleep and worrying and eating dinner and worrying, I sat on the couch crying onto my baby's tiny body because I didn't know if my husband would come back, and I didn't know if we would have a house, and I didn't know if I would be a single mother.

I kept calling my husband but he never picked up. I called his friends and they didn't answer.

I got in my car and I put the baby in her car seat and I drove around the neighborhood. I was looking for his car, or his stumbling body, or some sign of him. I looked in driveways and in the parking lots of bars, mostly.

Finally I called his mother around 2 am. I woke her and she said "what's wrong?" and I said "your son disappeared" and she said "I will be right over."

My mother in law knew, at the time, that my husband had tried to kill himself before. She most definitely knew that one possibility could have been that her son had gone out and found a way to take his own life, leaving me with our baby and no new home.

But my mother in law stayed silent about those things. She didn't say "you know, my son has a history you should probably know about." She didn't say "there is a good chance my son has done something very stupid because he cannot cope with life sometimes."

My mother in law arrived at our apartment and she hugged me and she looked at my sad face and she wiped my tears and she said "boys will be boys."

Comments

  1. This boys will be boys mindset is one of the most troubling aspects of modern American culture. I don't claim to be innocent of it, and I certainly did my share of irresponsible "boys will be boys" things when I was young, but I hope that I can raise my children to be better than that.

    I remember earlier this year when Aziz Ansari was called out by a woman who went on a date with him as a sexual abuser. I remember people calling it a bad date blown out of proportion. I had friends who agreed with that. I remember thinking after reading the story that the lengths Aziz went to sounded like a bad sitcom episode of a guy trying to get laid. And I remember realizing in that moment how toxic the "boys will be boys" mentality is. This idea that men can behave this way and women should or must put up with it is deplorable and turns my stomach. I hope every day that I can raise my son to be better and my daughter to not to accept people who treat her that way in her life.

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  2. Your blog is so powerful. I follow you on Twitter because you share the same political views and I do and you’re a fellow New Yorker. I follow your blog because your writing is extremely powerful and carries a message that should be hear by men and women from across the world. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your life experiences with us.

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  3. Your writing goes straight to the heart. It also goes straight to the heart of the issue. Thank you for sharing your story. Through you, others will know their story isn't just a story of the sad/bad that can befall us, but a story of hope, of silver linings, of sweet memories mixed in with the bitter, but most of all, of a future that is stronger in the broken places.

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