So I have this new friend. He’s 26 and was raised ultra-ultra-ultra-orthodox. In the past year, he’s started sneaking out of his parents’ house to go to fetish parties. Brilliant, right? What a great shortcut: instead of socializing and dating the old-fashioned way, just go straight to a sex club and stick some fingers in a vagina, bam. The best part is that he’s been maintaining a public online journal of his experiences — everything from “first kiss” and “first touch of a boob” to “first movie in a theatre” and “first burger in a fast-food joint.” Seriously.
So, of course, I’ve started monitoring the commentary and feedback he’s been getting. And I’ve managed to feel this extreme outrage that some dude advised him not to waste his time on listening to “chicks blabbing about their relationship problems” because it’ll never get him laid. If ever there were a situation where bro-on-bro advice does not apply, this would be it. And then I realized I was equally culpable as a selfish Westernized douchebag, for having told him what a great memoir he’ll have one day. It’s startling, how easily we mismanage naivety these days.

(Though, I am pretty proud of being in his journal as the person who first painted him with her own blood. I think that’s the way to deal with it: encourage and participate in new experiences, without priming newbies on how to respond to them. Blood-painting optional.)