In Lynn Phillips’ 1999 Planned Parenthood study Recasting Consent: Agency and Victimization in Adult-Teen Relationships, she highlights the admissions by women in their 30s who came to regret the choices they made as teens.Women who once defended their choices as responsible and as a mark of their own superior maturity cited regret, depression, and a sense of manipulation that was not clear to them at the time.While adults should be free to be in a relationship with whomever they choose, including younger or older partners, I dare to argue that teenage girls should never date older men.However, the hardest people to convince would be the girls themselves. But I was also most unlike what we assume that girl to be.
The guys my friends and I dated made it seem like there was nothing strange about men in their 20s sexually pursuing teenage girls—after all, we were so old for our age. They had never met girls like us, girls who knew so much, girls who understood them so well.
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They told us this over and over, every one of them, like reading from a script: When I was young, I didn’t understand that as an insult, lifting girls up in the singular while putting us down in the plural.
I was dying to feel older, which I accomplished by wearing impossibly short skirts and sky-high platform shoes, carrying a tiny knife disguised as a tube of lipstick in my purse and feeling sly and dangerous.