When I was little, I asked my parents what sex was after I heard my friend shout the word at the top of his lungs one day on the playground. My mom took me aside and explained that sex was a very special kiss between mommies and daddies that felt wonderful and made babies so that’s why people did it. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered it was a hell of a lot grosser than kissing, usually felt pretty mediocre, and rarely happened between mommies and daddies. In fact, that’s probably the most overused joke in today’s shitty sitcoms. Sorry honey, not tonight – cue the laugh track, bah dum, cha!
2. You can be anything you want to be.
This one is a constant source of frustration for me. Yes, when you’re young you can be anything you want to be and I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. But then, once you hit puberty, you literally, physically cannot become an Olympic gymnast anymore. Like, you go to the Olympics when you’re 12, you don’t begin training then. So here I am, 24 and completely disillusioned by the parents who led me to believe I could pursue any dream at any time. I didn’t realize there was a time limit to my dreams!! Now I’m obviously too old to be anything I want to be. Also! When I was a kid, I didn’t understand that people were different races. I coveted my neighborhood friend’s dark skin and wanted to be just like her. I now realize I will never be a black person. I mean, I guess I could try to tan my way to bronzed hotness, but I’d probably just wind up with a giant freckle blob and then peel. Gross. I guess I’m stuck being white for life. Thanks a lot, MOM.
3. You are beautiful.
My parents always told me I was beautiful because I was a very cute child and it was a nice thing to say absentmindedly while tucking me in at night. Today, I realize I am not. There is a pretty obvious distinction between beauty and cuteness – a concept that current culture ensures is drilled into the minds of everyone with an X chromosome. Beauty is Frida Pinto. Beauty is Penelope Cruz. Beauty is Mila Kunis. Cute is freckles. Cute is round cheeks. Cute is me. I’ve come to terms with this now that I’m in my 20’s and frequently mistaken for a 14-year-old, but it took some serious hits to my ego to knock me down a few pegs. I pretty much spent the better part of a decade thinking I was way hotter than I was. Awkward.
4. Santa is real.
This is probably the most pervasive lie that parents in America tell their children. I grew up sort of non-Christian bordering on Jewish and celebrated Hanukkah from time to time so it’s not like my parents had any obligation to go along with the elaborate lie of Christmas. I would have been perfectly happy receiving my gifts like any other normal child without the fantastical tale of a fat guy in a red suit lording over his elfin sweatshop. I don’t even remember exactly when I discovered the truth about this holiday, but I don’t recall being particularly upset. If anything, I just felt a little betrayed that mom and dad didn’t think they could be real with me. Besides, I definitely didn’t care about Santa as long as the tooth fairy was real. (I found $4 on my bedside table after I got my wisdom teeth taken out last year which I accept as substantial proof that she exists.)
5. He’s only mean to you because he likes you.
Yeah….he was mean to me because he actually hated me. Like, we were not friends. Oh and this carries over to grown-up life too. When guys are assholes, it’s not because they have a crush on you. It’s because they don’t want to sleep with you. Message received.