All the 14 year old girls in America just burned me…and probably you

It’s OK, though, because this open letter in McSweeney’s is entirely accurate and honest, and also hilarious. The girls explain that they don’t want to have sex with us.

But it’s not just about us. It’s about you, being ancient. You still think you’re so young, don’t you? Yeah… no. Each and every one of you is just wrinkled, withering proof that mortality comes for us all. If you remember where you were on 9/11, you’re too old for us. Did just thinking about that make you feel old? That’s because you’re old. You’re all a thousand to us. Your faces make us sad.

And you know what? Even if we seem interested — even if we SAY we’re into you — here is a cool idea: Don’t listen to us! Who lets an eighth grader just do whatever she wants? We also want to drive cars. We want to drink beer. We want to slap peanut butter on a Pop-Tart and call it a well-balanced breakfast. This Roy Moore guy, 100 percent, is the kind of dad who wouldn’t let his own daughter wear eyeliner, for fuck’s sake. So like, be the adult in the room. Okay? Don’t make us be the grown-ups here. We hate that.

All it takes is a little self-awareness to understand this. I wonder who lacks that? Only one of the creepiest guys in the country.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    heh heh heh
    If you remember where you were on 9/11, you’re too old for us.

  2. Ogvorbis: Swimming without a parachute. says

    Not only do I remember where I was when 9/11 happened, I still have the hardhat (which has been etched by the dust that hung in the air . . . ). So does Wife. Actually, so do Boy and Girl.

    Wow. I am old.

  3. robro says

    Years ago I saw Jane Dornacher at the Other Cafe (famous venue in SF for Robin Williams, Jay Leno, Paul Pound Stone, Dana Carvey, et al). She had her daughter, Naomi (probably 12 to 14 at the time) and some of Naomi’s friends on stage to sing a song they had written called “That’s Gross.” I can’t remember it in detail, but I’m pretty sure it had a verse about lecherous 30 year old men: “Ugh, that’s gross!”

  4. says


    I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated.

    I remember watching the funeral. That makes me 60, not Crypt Keeper. :)

  5. chigau (違う) says

    For a while my jokey criteria for people being ridiculously young was if they were born after the Beatles broke up.
    Now some of those people are grandparents.

  6. coragyps says

    Wow. My granddaughter just turned 15, and I’ll bet my next Social Security check that she would endorse that. And possibly add “creepy old bastards” in somewhere.

  7. Hairhead, Still Learning at 59 says

    I had an interesting experience a while ago.

    I had edited and published a book by a man who was very popular at a local high school. He was in his 30’s, but he put on plays with the high schoolers, gave everyone a chance to be onstage, to write, perform, sing, dance, etc. was basically super-cool and friendly with the kids. I took him and the book to the school for a book signing, and I was warned that a lot of girls would be coming up to him.

    And so it was, He signed, joked, smiled, and hugged (non-creepily) girl after girl. Now, having been a social pariah all during high school, dateless and friendless, I thought, “Will I be attracted to these nubile girls?”

    And I wasn’t.


    I was over fifty, and sll of these 15 – 18 year olds . . . .I thought to myself, “They’re babies, BABIES!” The only emotion I had for them was one of protectiveness, Not a trace of sexual interest. I wasn’t 18 anymore, and I was the better for it. I began to think I’d finally grown up!

  8. cartomancer says

    Yes, well… some of us have real issues with this sort of thing. I’ve felt ancient and repulsive and sexually poisonous since my mid 20s. I’m in my mid 30s now and the thought of imposing this sepulchral wreck of a body concealed beneath my clothes on anyone in a sexual context is rather nauseating. I don’t need telling I’m the last thing people would want sexually, I already know that. It is not a pleasant fact to be reminded of.

  9. John Morales says

    Perhaps it’s accurate, but unless the writer is a 14 year old girl, it’s not honest.

    (Yeah, I know PZ is being jocular, and yeah, I remember my own attitude at that age (boy, of course) towards ancient people in their 30s — but still)

    And, not on topic, but I think the current generation of youngsters is ahead of my own generation of youngsters in many things — they are generally better people. My opinion only, of course.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @7: One of my criteria for people being ridiculously young is that they don’t know the Beatles’ first names. That age seems to be about 40. Consistent with my Misanthropic Principle: People under 40 are boring, and people over 40 are annoying. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    cartomancer @10: Sex appeal is a hell of a lot more about attitude than appearance (or what you perceive as your appearance). You seem to be using your obvious intelligence against yourself (“sepulchral wreck” is clever, but…). Anyway, you may not think so, but you are still young.

  12. chigau (違う) says

    Rob Grigjanis#12

    don’t know the Beatles’ first names

    What do I win?

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @14: You get to buy me the double brandy you promised me a couple years ago. And a medal!

  14. chigau (違う) says

    Rob Grigjanis #16
    I will be done whene’er we meet.
    (I hope the medal is chocolate.)

  15. chigau (違う) says

    John Morales #11
    Perhaps it’s accurate, but unless the writer is a 14 year old girl, it’s not honest.

  16. John Morales says

    chigau, yup. Seriously.

    The writer started the piece by writing “Hey, guys. We’re the fourteen-year-old girls of America.”
    PZ opined about that piece and claimed “this open letter in McSweeney’s is entirely accurate and honest”.

    PS you forgot Pete Best and Stuart Suttcliffe.

  17. chigau (違う) says

    Owlmirror #20
    Unless Ringo was actually
    or whatever googletranslate did on your browser

  18. John Morales says

    [chigau, it’s not Ringo, it’s Richard Starkey.

    (The question was about first names, not about stage names)

  19. chris says

    Caine: ” remember watching the funeral. That makes me 60, not Crypt Keeper. :)”

    I remember that too, since I am also sixty years old. Though being your age and very very young, I mostly remember being angry that my Saturday cartoons were replaced by a somber parade.

    Of course I also remember in sixth grade when hanging out with the boy next door who had I had roller-skated with, climbed trees, watched cartoons with, and tossed water balloons with asked me to check something in his room. So I followed, only to be pushed into the closet where he groped my newly emerged breasts. I ran home.

    Um, yeah… they start young.

    I loved this bit from SNL, because it described my life (and yes, I have played a crazy person when some guy tried to pick me up from a sports car… it was an idea I got from the university’s student run newspaper, because it was so common in the late 1970s it was part of “student advice”):

  20. chigau (違う) says

    Most of us still cannot watch that version of the video.
    Please stop posting the link.

  21. John Morales says


    Primus. I get gist of the letter, I get the gist OP. I had thought I had made that clear.

    That said, truthfulness matters, IMO.

    Secundus. Words have meanings, and for something to be “entirely accurate and honest” there can be no inaccuracy or untruth therein. To state that is not pedantry.

    Tertius. Chris @24 made a significant point, but has been ignored or dismissed (tsk, chigau). I do appreciate it, but suspect my appreciation will be poisonous, given my reputation here. Sorry, Chris.

    (I will now depart this thread)

  22. Rob Grigjanis says


    suspect my appreciation will be poisonous, given my reputation here

    Quartus: Get over yourself and ease up on the drama.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    John Morales
    “Chris @24 made a significant point, ”
    which was ….
    and do not *tsk* at me
    I cannot play that video on my current set-up.

  24. methuseus says

    I must be just plain weird. I remember things like 9/11 and the Berlin Wall falling, but I don’t remember where I was or anything like that. The where seems to be the least important part of the whole thing. I remember more who I was with and what happened. I remember the Challenger explosion even though I was only 5 years old, as well. I don’t remember where I first heard it or when, but I remember seeing the video of the explosion. I may have even been watching it broadcast live if that had been a thing at the time.

  25. methuseus says

    Oh, and yes, at 36 I’m a decrepit old man to a 14-year old, and I don’t mind them telling me that. It may make me feel old, but then again I am to them.

  26. A. Noyd says

    John Morales (#11)

    Perhaps it’s accurate, but unless the writer is a 14 year old girl, it’s not honest.

    Well, John took off, but if anyone else has the same silly thought, please remember that Jessica M. Goldstein, by merit of being a woman, has most likely been a 14-year-old girl before. If she’s like most women, she was creeped on by much older men at that age, too. There’s nothing dishonest about speaking from that experience.

  27. says

    I teach kids that age. They are a lot of things. Often they are adorably naive.
    And to give you some perspective on how they see us: I have a colleague who is 10 years younger and 35kg lighter than me. The kids mix us up.

    Really, stop it. There’s a lot of people with not conventionally attractive bodies. Sex can still be hot and awesome and we can still be desirable.

  28. dusk says

    I was at my first week of university when 9/11 happened (freshers week), so I’m younger than some in here, but an intended recipient of the letter. Are there really that many people who believe “there’s nothing wrong with men in their thirties pursuing relationships with fourteen-year-olds” ?? This year has been such an eye opener for a lot of things, but nothing more so that this #metoo movement.

  29. quotetheunquote says

    @dusk #35:

    To answer your question: absolutely, unequivocally, yes. One of them is now President of the U S of A.

    And since his attitude towards women is, and always was, right there in the open, you can add every last person who voted for him. They were all fine with it too, at least right up to the point they left the polling booth.

  30. says


    I remember that too, since I am also sixty years old. Though being your age and very very young, I mostly remember being angry that my Saturday cartoons were replaced by a somber parade.

    I was 6 years old, and I fully understood that our president was dead, murdered, and that pretty much a whole country was in mourning. Cartoons never crossed my fucking mind. It would appear we are indeed ages apart.

  31. jazzlet says

    Chris when I was a studennt we were told to shout ‘FIRE’ as householders and business owners would be far more likely to respond to that than to ‘RAPE’.

  32. chris says

    Caine: “I was 6 years old, and I fully understood that our president was dead, murdered, and that pretty much a whole country was in mourning.”

    I fully accept you were much smarter than me. Or your parents were more likely to discuss grown up things to you. The next thing I remember was that my dad was gone for over a year. Turns out he got stationed in Vietnam.

  33. cartomancer says

    I suppose what I’m getting at is the fact that lots of people, and I am among their number, struggle with feelings of repulsiveness and sexual undesirability connected with their age and appearance. For many reasons, but a general cultural message about the desirability of youth and the vaunting of certain physical standards contributes a lot of it.

    For such people the message of this article hits home less as a well-needed puncturing of pomposity in others than as a mean-spirited reinforcement of the standards we have taken all too readily to heart. “ha ha, you think you’re sexually desirable, but really you’re old and hideous” is a message we have internalised in our lack of confidence and self-esteem, and which we try to convince ourselves is not true every day. We often fail.

    I think there is something of a privilege issue at work here. Perhaps a lot of straight, white, cisgender men in their 30s really do think of themselves as supremely sexually alluring, particularly to 14 year old girls, because society keeps telling them that they are. Perhaps such people do need taking down a peg or two. But not everyone gets the social conditioning of straight white men. When I was growing up as a gay person I got two rather different messages. From the straight world that gay men are all paedophiles, so I am a disgusting child molester in waiting and my sexuality is sordid and dangerous. From the gay world that sexuality is all about youth and beauty and impossibly high physical standards, and that when you hit 30 you’re basically dead and should take yourself far from the beautiful young people lest you offend them with your creepiness. I tried to ignore both sets of conditioning, but my utter failure to engage with the world of sex and relationships tended to reinforce them.

    Rationally, of course, I know that neither of those things are true. But our deepest anxieties, fears and neuroses are rarely driven by rational considerations. The cultural world I grew up in has wormed its way in deep, and it’s not like those same cultural messages are not being reinforced today. So something about this article hit a nerve with me.

  34. rajid says

    I remember where I was when I heard about 9/11; I was waiting for a meeting to start at work, *and* at that point I had been working on Internet protocols (and previously ARPAnet protocols) for about 20 years! But, you know what comes with age, along with the wrinkles? Experience! We old people have *loads* of experience! We know how to get all of the enjoyment out of life without all of pain. If you young’ins will only be friends with us and allow us the luxury of feeling just a little younger every now-and-then, maybe we’ll share some of that experience with you. Maybe. :)

  35. Helen Huntingdon says

    “Perhaps it’s accurate, but unless the writer is a 14 year old girl, it’s not honest.”

    How would you know? Were you a 14-year-old girl?

    I was. And that piece was dead-on accurate in terms of what I and a few of my friends would likely have produced, when I was 14, if we had been asked to write something together on the subject.

  36. Helen Huntingdon says

    Uh, rajid, no, that came across as way too creepy. It wouldn’t if our culture weren’t already rife with older people trying to force their “valuable experience” on younger people without their consent, but that’s not the culture we’ve got.

    Your experience is only valuable to someone if they think it is, not if you think it is.