Annie's Mailbox: Is it normal for teen boys to be nude together all day?

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Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our mid-60s. For the past five years, we have been the guardians of my daughter’s 13-year-old son, “Jake.” When I married 12 years ago, I certainly didn’t expect to be raising a teenager at my age.

I know that raising kids today is nothing like it was 30 years ago, but Jake seems well adjusted. He’s a top student, an outstanding athlete and a fine young man with friends we approve of. Here’s the problem: Jake recently asked if he and his friends could sleep in the nude when they stay over. He has been teased about living with “the old folks” and claims we are the only ones who don’t allow it.

I checked with the other parents, and they confirm this. In fact, at “Jay’s” house, the boys remain unclothed all day. Jay’s mother says they are often naked while playing video games, watching TV or snacking in the kitchen. They frequently appear in the nude at breakfast if they are going skinny-dipping in the pool after. She sees no need for them to dress.

Annie, I’m not opposed to nudity. I have no problem with Jake sleeping naked in his room or skinny-dipping — even the coed kind. But somehow, the idea of six teenage boys running around the house naked all day bothers me.

Hubby assures me that it’s a “guy thing” and all teenage boys do it. He remembers fondly how he swam naked at the YMCA through his college years at an all-male school. He says it builds character and is a significant male bonding experience. Indeed, he encourages it.

I don’t have anyone to ask about this. Our best friends are our contemporaries and would be appalled if their grandchildren ran around naked. Have you ever heard of this before? Is it common? How do other parents handle this?

— Not Over the Hill

Dear Not: In certain times and places (swimming pools, overnight camp), group nudity among young men is not unusual. Being naked all day, however, is much less common, and we would not encourage it.

Don’t be badgered into agreeing to something that makes you uncomfortable. You do not have to allow it, nor do you need to apologize. It’s your house, and you get to set the rules.

Dear Annie: Our eldest daughter will be getting married this fall. Naturally, the guest list will need to have a limit. We would like to somehow soothe the ruffled feathers of those who might have expected an invitation, but won’t receive one. How should this be done?

— Father of the Bride

Dear Father: In years past, those who were not invited to the wedding received an engraved wedding announcement. It is also not uncommon to send out invitations for a casual reception several weeks after the wedding for those who could not be included in the main event.

If that is not within your budget, you can mail an invitation (or use Evite) to join the bride and groom for an informal toast or party in celebration of their marriage.

Dear Annie: This is for “Blindsided in Vermont,” whose married brother picks fights with her until she’s in tears.

I have a smart brother who is a fast thinker with a huge vocabulary, and he is my polar opposite politically. He would start an argument and beat me down to the point where I would nearly cry. One day, my husband said, “Don’t let him get to you. When he starts in, say, ‘I hear the swallows are coming back to Capistrano.’”

So I did. It took a while, but it worked. My brother now can’t get a rise out of me and he stopped talking politics. And, we get along much better.

— Greensboro, N.C.

Dear Greensboro: We love it!

Comments

GreyStone 4 years, 7 months ago

“History has shown that when it comes to censorship, there is almost nothing that someone, somewhere won't object to -- and try to ban.”

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RichardBarbosa 4 years, 7 months ago

A pertinent point, Greystone. Well said. I read CharminChatty's comment before it was deleted. I thought her points were relevant and ought not to have been erased from view. I cannot imagine what portion of the usage rules the CDP imagined the deleted comments to have violated.

As I recall, Chatty made two main points. 1) Six teenage guys who like to hang out nude together all day or all weekend may well be gay, and therefore in need of condoms in order to protect themselves from terminal STD's.

2) Jay's mom clearly has some issues if she likes having her teenaged son and his 5-6 naked teenaged male friends hanging out nude in her kitchen, all over the house, and at the breakfast table. There is something weird about Jay wanting his mom to see him naked.

You may not agree with the above comments by Chatty, which were deleted, but I happen to think they are good points, relevant points, and not in violation of any newspaper's usage agreement, including the CDP rules.

I want to add this: this letter to Annie reminds me very much of the letter several months ago, in which teenaged daughter started working out with, and counting the exercises of, her buck-naked father. Dimwitted mother needed Annie's advice to find out if all was well in that daughter-father relationship. My response is the same as the one I have to the current letter: Duh.

I hope that Grandma sticks to her guns in the current situation. Whether her grandson is gay, is not really the issue. Gay or straight, for him to hang out nude for the entire day with his 5 friends at Grandma's house, or at Jay's mom's house, bespeaks uncivilized behavior and a lack of socialization, and is disrespectful of Grandma's home, to say the least.

Now, is the CDP going to remove my comment, too?? I am curious about that.

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lonelyone 4 years, 7 months ago

Richard, I have noticed more and more comments being removed by the paper. I think that we the people who read and comment on the forum should be the ones to police it so to speak. Each and everyone of us has the right to click on the remove button if we find someone is out of line. I think the paper needs to let us handle this for the most part, instead of someone who has decided to use their morals to judge our free speach. I realize that there are times when things get pretty heated on here and people start wondering why the paper allows certain comments and could get sued because of them, but most of us know that the paper is not responsible for what is posted and should stay out of the removing part of the forum.

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GreyStone 4 years, 7 months ago

Richard & Lonelyone,

Good points.

“Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient to the government or media organizations as determined by a censor.”

Welcome to Wikipedia

Censorship is not usually good.

May this, Quote, not count as my third strike and delegate my (Anonymous) moniker to the trash heap of suppression.

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Really 4 years, 7 months ago

GreyStone, I wouldn't worry too much - if you go back through others' posts, there are people that have more than three removals that are still posting.

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RichardBarbosa 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree with all of you who have posted comments in which you complain about a newspaper's attempt to curtail our expression of our own opinions.

Really: I disagree with you and think that we should actually be concerned about being banned. After I read your comment, I tried to click onto CharminChatty, and she/he now has an "inactive account". Banned. Banned for stating the obvious when she/he said the boys who like to hang out nude all day and all night together may be experimenting with homosexual activity and therefore should use protection against STD's, and banned for stating the obvious, i.e. that Jay and his mom have something strange going on when mom likes his naked teen friends at her breakfast table, and Jay likes to have mom see his naked teen body.

I still say that the mother/naked teen son and mother/half a dozen naked teenage boys running around the kitchen are quite unhealthy developmental behaviors. Sexual activity between mom and her son, or between mom and any of his teen friends, and that includes just the long looks and charged comments, will mess those guys up for many years to come. I guess ObamaCare will cover all that mental health therapy, too? Don't bet your last dollar on that!!

Be careful. If Charmin got banned, any of us could also.

I would really like to have a mental health professional weigh in on this..... not some hack school counselor, either, but a psychiatrist or a well-experienced psychologist with a degree from a reputable grad school.

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GreyStone 4 years, 7 months ago

Really,

Regardless how insignificant the act of censorship seems, it is never a positive answer to the insecurity of an institution or individual choosing to censor.

Censorship affects discussion.

Posts have become rather innocuous and rather dull in the last several weeks due to this censorship thing.

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justthefacts 4 years, 7 months ago

As a Matter of FACT: This mess is too big and too deep and too tall. We can't clean it up! We can't clean it up at all. We can only rely on the smartness of one and all!!! ( And Richard the spellbarrion).

Just reaching FOR THE FACTS

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RichardBarbosa 4 years, 7 months ago

Reply to Justthefacts, who posted the following:

"And Richard the spellbarrion"

Ummmm..... what is a "spellbarrion", or even just a plain old "barrion"? Justthefacts, since you post in some language that appears to be a made-up one designed by 4-year-old twins for the purpose of communicating only with each other, would you do all the rest of us the courtesy of defining "spellbarrion", or even just "barrion"?

Much obliged..... and again I say, I hope to God you are not a "professional" in the MCSD. Dr. Baxter, are you listening/reading? Could you check this clown out? If he is posting during school hours through the use of school district property, would you deal with him? He appears to be entirely inept.

Dr. Baxter, please read through the old posts by Justthefacts. He has far too much intricate knowledge of the school district and the coaches and the complaints by parents to be just some yay-hoo. Please deal with him. Whatever the MCSD pays him, it is too much.

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justthefacts 4 years, 7 months ago

Would someone please help poor Richard out.

Fact: I can't handle it anymore. I'm melting, melting, melting.

Fact: Dr. Baxter is not allowed to help. The school board does not meddle in school issues!!! ( Why do you think the schools in Moffat County are failing?)

How did it get so late so soon? I must go.

Always looking for, JUST THE FACTS.

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daybyday 4 years, 7 months ago

Barbosa...Chatty...Dunnce...one in the same...what a dame.

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nikobesti 4 years, 7 months ago

Some of you are jumping to conclusions about what nudity means. Nude men/teenagers together does not have any correlation with homosexuality whatsoever. I highly doubt these teenage boys are gay. In fact, it might not have anything to do with sexuality at all. Nudity, and societies’ reactions to it, is cultural. Different cultures react differently to nudity. In some cultures nudity is quite acceptable. Just because family members are nude together does not mean anything sexual is going on. Some Americans of the more prudish persuasion get a bit too worked up about naked people. Different ages react definitely also, and as the letter mentions, I remember having no problem skinning dipping when I was a teen. Now I would definitely think twice.

I’m not saying people don’t need to be careful in these situations. I understand the concerns. And in “American culture” (if there is such a thing) nudity in public or around others is at least viewed as bad taste. So although this behavior may not “normal,” it’s not necessarily harmful.

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Anitadunnce 4 years, 7 months ago

Right, Niko, it's cultural. These boys are in the United States, where it is not considered normal or in good taste to hang out nude in front of Grandma all day, or for Jay and his mom to spend naked time together.... or did you think maybe this letter to Annie was sent from the jungle of Somalia?

Just the thought of 6 naked young men's rear ends on the dining room chairs does not do it for me! Even in nudist colonies, it is my understanding that people sit on towels on the lawn chairs, etc. This whole scenario is such an obvious bad scene that I wonder if the letter was simply made up!

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George Robertson 4 years, 7 months ago

If God would have wanted people to run around naked they would have been born........Oh, nevermind.

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nikobesti 4 years, 7 months ago

My point, Anita, is that nudity is subjective. It doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody. Not even everybody in America. (By the way, Somalis are very conservative and cover themselves from head to foot. Europeans, on the other hand, don't find nudity to be as "dirty" as we Americans do).

I would not be comfortable with my teenagers and their friends walking around naked in my house either. But if they did I wouldn’t automatically assume something was “wrong” with them. I’m not going to judge people because of it.

nimrod: nice one.

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Ericshoberg2010 4 years, 7 months ago

Nikobesti, I have a couple of immediate responses to your recent post. First, it is a quantum leap to suggest that because a teenage boy may be gay that something is "wrong" with him. That is a harmful suggestion, and the sort of censuring community view that leads young guys and girls to suicide. "Homosexuality" should never be equated with "freakishness" or "wrong". Such a comparison deeply disturbs me, although I am aware that a larger percentage of the Craig population may castigate gays than occurs in more accepting, more enlightened communities in which dwellers hold a much larger percentage of advanced college degrees.

Second, please read up on Somalis. Just because they are Muslim does not mean that they are necessarily "modest", or that the men cover themselves head to toe. You have made another quantum leap with your comment. In fact, the "coming-of-age" ceremony for 14-year-old Somali males requires every male in the village to be completely naked as they walk into the jungle and hold the ceremony and then drink a special beer together. Even those naked Somali males, however, do not allow a single female to peep out the window to see them in all their naked splendor, as any female who lays eyes on them during this time is murdered. Therefore, even an entire tribe of naked Somali males shows more respect than these six American teenagers show to Grandma or to Jay's Mother.

I agree with previous commenters who have stated that nudity for an entire half dozen teenagers for an entire day or weekend, in front of Grandma or Mom, is strange, unhealthy, and shows extreme disrespect for the owners of the homes.

That is one of the problems with American teenagers. Since when does a teen, who is only a dozen or so years out of diapers himself, start dictating what happens inside his Grandmother's or Mother's home?

All of my disagreements with you having been laid bare, so to speak, Nikobesti, I will also say that I enjoy your comments very much. You sound intelligent and express yourself well. I hope to read more of your comments. I don't recall seeing your posts before, and I have just started to post here myself, but I hope that you will continue. Your input is valuable and indicates exactly the reason that opposing views should never be deleted or squelched in our free-press society!!

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nikobesti 4 years, 7 months ago

Hi Eric. You misunderstand my posts if you think I inferred that homosexuality is “wrong” or “abnormal.” It is neither in my opinion. People are born gay and have been born so forever. I’m not sure where you’re reading that in my posts. I my first post I wrote “So although this behavior may not ‘normal,’ it’s not necessarily harmful.” I meant the behavior of walking around naked, not homosexuality. In my second post I wrote, “But if they did [walk around naked] I wouldn’t automatically assume something was ‘wrong’ with them.” Again, I’m referring to nudity, not homosexuality. I am countering the argument that nudity would mean anything about their sexuality (which is why I put “wrong” in quotes, as this is what some incorrect people might think). I am confused as to how those statements infer that I think something is “wrong” with them if they’re gay.

Interesting cultural note about Somalis and nudity. Most Africans are very socially conservative when it comes to sex, Somalis included. It’s not a Muslim vs. Christian thing. You reinforce that by saying they don’t allow women to watch. Nudity amongst one gender might not be a big deal but nudity between unmarried men and women is generally quite a no-no. I chose to respond to Anita’s remark about Somalis to stifle any stereotypes about all Africans running around in the nude like perverted barbarians. That’s nonsense.

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Ericshoberg2010 4 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for clarifying that, Niko. I did infer from your post and your use of "wrong" that if you were to interpret your kids' spending the whole day nude at home with half a dozen same-sex friends (and mom) to mean that the teens have sexual feelings toward those same-sex friends, i.e. "homosexual" feelings, that would mean that you were interpreting that something was "wrong".

Even with the gay issue out of the equation, I still think there is something wrong about a teenaged boy wanting to spend his day naked with his mother or grandmother. I do wish that a well-educated, skilled, experienced psychotherapist would weigh in. Is there anyone with that professional background in Moffat County?

We all see creepy things on TV with mom and teen son showering together, sleeping together, etc., and the show (such as "Law and Order") usually ends with son violently hacking up mother in a murderous rage, because he is an emotional, developmentally-stunted wreck.

For a teen son to expose his naked body to his grandmother/mom all day long causes me to wonder whether even mom is fully dressed when the friends are gone, or whether she and son have a teasing, inappropriate relationship with each other that is rife with sexual innuendo.

My view would be no different if teen daughter started prancing around nude all day long in order to get her father's attention, or if teen daughter were trying to spend time with dad while he was entirely nude. Those behaviors would indicate some unhealthy, unresolved issues, too, in my view.

Thank you for explaining your previous post, because in fact I had misunderstood you. I still, however, think that there is something problematic and psychologically troubling about a teen son wanting his own mom to see his nude body all day long, whether or not the teen is gay. I don't think that is a natural progression of adolescent development. Instead, I think some teen modesty before opposite-sex parents is the natural, healthy progression of development.

I am not one who believes that Africa is comprised entirely of primitive tribes. I do believe, however, that the view of women often is primitive and controlling, and that is how women are so little valued that it is they who are murdered for viewing the naked male ceremony, rather than the murder of the man who prances around nude. If the men truly did not want to be viewed, they would go deep into the jungle before removing their clothes. It is the same ignorance that causes people across much of the African continent to rape, and therefore kill, baby girls, due to the belief that intercourse with a virgin will "cure" the rapist of HIV/Aids. Women are used, misused, abused, and discarded across much of the continent. This ignorant view is fostered by the Roman Catholic Church, which still speaks against condoms to prevent HIV and unaffordable births.

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nikobesti 4 years, 7 months ago

I personally also believe such situations you describe (as well as the one described in the letter) are “unhealthy.” It is definitely inappropriate and although I have a relatively liberal view about nudity, I wouldn’t stand for it in my house either.

I just read today that the UK is unveiling a new TV show called “Undress for Success” where office workers come to work nude: http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/the-naked-office-reality-show-has-people-undressing-for-success/19483606. This reinforces my point about different perceptions of nudity, as some folks might think this is sick and perverted while others think little of it. However, I realize my analogy isn’t completely appropriate, as a bunch of nude coworkers is different than naked teenagers in your house. I think even most Europeans would have issue with a bunch of naked teenagers running around in their houses. While I advocate keeping an open mind, I think this crosses the line in most reasonable people's book.

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westslopeguy 4 years, 7 months ago

You said this: "Fact: I can't handle it anymore. I'm melting, melting, melting."

If this is indeed a "fact", does that mean by time you have read this you have melted and ergo: Won't be posting in the future?

Keep lookin'.

It's why I moved and really wonder why I still inquire

DONE!

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RichardBarbosa 4 years, 7 months ago

Westslopeguy: It is why we're glad you moved.

We also wonder why you continue to post here.

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