SL Letter of the Day: Boy Toys


Savage Love Parenting Book! Awesome idea; you should pursue this, Dan.
I navigated my teenage years thanks to Savage Love and Loveline. I would just direct your son to those two sources as they are funny enough to hold his attention but informative enough to keep him away from foreign object extraction at the ER.
@1 I agree.
You've got to watch the movie "World's Greatest Dad." It's like American Beauty but with Robin Williams, and a 15 year-old porn addict son instead of an introverted art kid. A very underrated movie, and it sort of chronicles your situation.
That letter sounded fake to me...
Letter writer sounds like a really great mom...keep up the good work!
As a GGG single mom to a (former) teenage boy, that letter sounded like exactly something that I would have written myself. Great advice, as always.
You know, for my 15th birthday my mother got me an electric shaver to shave my legs.

the same year my 14 year old brother got a bike and my 17 year old brother got golf clubs.

I am pretty sure this made me a lesbian.

GGGMom, I salute you.
I'm so glad I'm not a parent in the age of the internet.
Dan, I'm kind of incredulous that you of all people would infer homosexuality based on a desire to be penetrated. Didn't you introduce the world to "pegging"?
@9 Seriously. My porn was Miami Vice and barbies which were unrealistic enough. Terrifying.
Um, perhaps a gift certificate to a reputable online sex toy shop would be easier on the mother's mind. Less details, still lets the kid go nuts....
Add Savage Love to his bookmarks (or RSS reader, if he has one) and sneak the podcast onto his computer/iPod. Seriously.
When I was a young gay teen Id look at a lot of straight anal porn. I guess I was trying to not be gay, the whole time I just got off imagining I was that girl getting fucked, it was stupid :(

I was even using “Improvised” toys at this time. I wish I had some lube and a dildo, but I dont know if I would want my mom to give it to me!
@ 9 & 11, I'm just glad that I'm a parent at a time that this isn't brand fucking new. But my kids are real young now; who knows what the next 10-15 years will bring.
Have to disagree with you on the Robin Williams flick having much of a parallel here, @4. The kid in the movie was quite the masturbator to degrading porn, yeah, but only tangentially to being a grade-A antisocial prick.

Don't see anything to suggest this kid's any sort of meanie.

That aside, it was a terrific movie.
Do you really think buying him a dildo will keep him from shoving other things up his ass? I predict no matter how awesome the dildo, it's the variety that keeps his interest. No piece of mind there, I'm afraid; the best she can do is have good health insurance.
@15 More perversion?
Lucky kid.
Off topic, but very important.

From Pam's Houseblend:

NOTE FROM PAM:I can't believe this guy Charles Knipp, who performs in blackface as Shirley Q. Liquor, an "inarticulate black welfare mother with 19 children," has an audience. We've covered this horrorshow before. Knipp has the right to perform of course; but he just can't expect a supportive environment as he reinforces negative stereotypes of black women in order to make a living.

Please sign our petition to the Russian River Resort in Guernville to cancel blackface drag queen Shirley Q. Liquor.…

There are plenty of sex positive websites that are geared specifically towards teenagers. I would provide some links, but I work in a high school that filters sex positive websites that are geared towards teenagers. So yeah.
Fuck. Really not looking forward to my kids' teenage years.
What 1 said... I've been meaning to email Dan for a while now about a parenting advice book. And 9 - I'm not due til November but I'm already dreading what kind of new technology will be available to my future teenager.
When I try to click on the link it says that page doesn't exist... anybody?
Could there be anything more mortifying than your own MOTHER buying you your first dildo because she knows you've been jamming things up your ass? I'm thinking this plan could backfire just a tad--it's reasonable to ask for "leave no trace", but sheesh, this is taking parental involvement in a teen's sex life a bit far. A 15 year old deserves privacy, just as his family deserves discretion.
Just buy him a gift certificate to an online store (a good one with real people that can also answer questions, etc.). Bam. Done. Remind him that to keep his safety and his health in mind, so don't do stupid shit. After that, just trust him. Sounds like you're doing a bang-up job.
My son's 8, so the day when I get to deal with all this stuff isn't far off. When I first discovered Dan's column a year or so ago, I figured that I'd guide my son toward Dan Savage as an intelligent, healthy-minded resource for additional sex education.

Then, as I continued reading, I realized that Savage is pretty close-minded to the idea of bisexual men, despite the massive amounts of correspondence he gets from both gay and straight males saying essentially: "I assure you, Dan, I am 100% (gay/straight), but sometimes I like a bit of (pussy/cock) for fun. How do I convince my (boyfriend/girlfriend) that it's okay, and I'm still (gay/straight)?"

My husband is bisexual, and although we've both met straight-identified and gay-identified men who profess they're "curious" about the opposite sex and wouldn't mind trying it once, "just to see," we've also met lots of straight-identifies and gay-identifies who tell my husband it's impossible for him to be bisexual and he'll either come out or come to his senses soon.

I'm beginning to get the sense that society has this viewpoint: It's okay for women to be bi, because everyone "knows" women are more sexually flexible. It's not okay for men to be bi, because they need to "pick a side." If they pick the gay side and then try to say, "Um, you know, she's kinda hot -- I'd hit that," they get screamed down for being untrue to the gays. And vice versa if they pick the straight-side, but are occasionally interested in cock.

My son may turn out straight-identified. He may turn out gay-identified. Or he may, like his dad, enjoy a little of both. I don't really want to point him toward a source that demonizes bisexuality, and tells him he can't be bi. Who knows, by the time my son starts actually addressing his sexuality, there may be a reliable, noteworthy and open-minded source that I can use to supplement my own parenting.
I am very pro-porn and watch plenty of it myself. That said, I personally wouldn't give a kid that age open access to it. Maybe give him a few realistic paysites he could go to and some sort of budget, but not just any old thing he finds. Scat/vomit/rape fantasy heavy on the rape and light on the fantasy/kidnapping/bondage where the "victim" does not look like they enjoy it, it's all out there and knowing logically that this is not likely to be real is different from really getting it that this is almost NEVER real. Lesbian giant strap-on poop-eating cosplay would probably not seem as out there to a kid with no real life experience as it would to an adult who is more likely to know that it's a fringe fetish at best. And who, kid or adult, wants to really admit that the actress or actor who really seems to be enjoying it is probably just tuning it all out, moaning robotically, and waiting to collect a paycheck. Hell, I love to watch Chloe get off and I know that she was a junkie looking for a fix for most of her career. So I advocate budgeting and limitations. Maybe, if it's too weird to buy a dildo for your son's butt, just give him a gift certificate to Good Vibrations and let him shop online with a fake birthday. Oh, and get him his own computer so he quits dirtying the history of Dear Old Grandma's.
As for her question about making him wait to buy sex toys until he's legally old enough, the woman isn't making him wait to watch porn until he's legally old enough. I'm getting confused trying to figure out where the line is for her.
Why am I getting a page error when I try to read Dan's response? So, sad....
I'm also getting a 404 error when I go to the response link.
Frankly the kid sounds like an exhibitionist if he's continually getting caught. And using HIS GRANDMOTHER'S computer? Sorry, Mom needs to set some damn rules down. She doesn't barge into his room, he doesn't get so loud the neighbors hear.
Mom: What kind of dildo do you want son?

Son: Uhhh, I dunno, Purple I guess. And make it a big one- I want everyone to be jealous!

Mom: Whatever you say snookums...

Yikes! It was bad enough having my mother FIND my porn...
Great advice from Dan.

I would add that the son needs to learn to empty his browser history/cache, at least when porn watching at Grandma's or school.

I thought every teenager knew how to do that.
Is there something wrong with blocking those sites on your computer? I mean, my kids are only 2 and 4 but I cannot imagine me being down with him surfing the net for porn on our computer at 15. if he wants to jerk off, it's going to be the jc penney catalog or his imagination just like the rest of us at his age. I mean, my word. Buying dildos... let him go to the store and buy his own damn dildo with the money he earns at his job... internet porn... seriously?
True story: Long-married guy in his 50s decides he wants to experiment using household objects. His wife comes home and has to take him to the emergency room. Sticking a shaving cream can up your ass and losing your grip on it means surgery. Humiliation all the way around. Everyone at the hospital knows, therapist knows, insurance company knows, I know, etc. The x-ray may be circulating on the web right now. Give your son that gift certificate ASAP, Mom.
I couldn't read Dan's reply, and this is one that could help me, too. I clicked 'continue reading' and got an error message. Help!
@27: "Who knows, by the time my son starts actually addressing his sexuality, there may be a reliable, noteworthy and open-minded source that I can use to supplement my own parenting."

Well, you could also make sure to read it yourself and talk to him about it. Use it as a lesson that well, it's very rare in the world that one person has all the right opinions and answers. Sometimes people can be right about one thing and wrong about another.

A supplement, like you say: that's what Dan should be, even *if* he was all rainbows-and-puppies about male bisexuality. I mean, if he was super right about that too, I doubt you'd just point your son that way and let him loose. What if Dan went batshit crazy one day on other things?

Plus, there's a healthy side to Dan being wrong, esp. on Slog and the online Stranger: You get to illustrate to your son that TONS of people can disagree with Dan on all kinds of topics, even people who support him most of the time. What a way to train your son to be open-minded and aware.
@ 27, that's where you step in and guide your son. You tell him that you trust Dan on almost everything but feel that he's prejudiced toward bisexuals, so take that with a grain of salt. Because honestly, is there a better option?
I'm sorry, but my son will be not be allowed to look at internet porn on my computer or my internet connection, and I will never, ever, buy him a dildo. Sorry if that's not sex positive, but I believe I should try to instill in my child some sense that sex is special, related to love, and not just mindless pleasure. I don't want him to see sex as nothing more than a way to stimulate himself. Of course he will have casual sex, but he doesn't need encouragement, just like he doesn't need to be encouraged to eat junk food, smoke pot, drink, or play World of Warcraft.
@ people who keep getting the 404 error: the post was apparently renamed, and the url changed, so you have to reload the main blog page first and it'll have the working link
I’ve also explained that real sex is NOT like porn, and his future girlfriends are unlikely to beg for facials, fistings, or forced group sex. I’m concerned that he’s getting a warped view of what’s reasonable...

I think porn can definitely give young guys a mistaken idea of what women like. But any young guy will be set straight as soon as he starts getting naked with real women.
Well I was a teenager raised in the age of the Internet (less than ten years ago, I guess) but also very sheltered. Traumatizing combination for a girl who dated a teenage boy who thought sex was what he saw on the Internet (not as if I knew any better, though).

The expectations for what girls enjoyed was ridiculous and often dangerous. (Add the fact that our rural schools had no form of sex education.) I'm sure brave, honest parenting could've greatly helped lessen this great divide of reality versus ignorance. And I have to support the idea of getting this son some toys...improvisation ("creative problem-solving") was another dangerous, constant game. But for his future girlfriends' and boyfriends' sake, I'd really hope that the mother could find a way to filter the intense stuff. At least until he's been with a real-life person and truly understands the difference.

Of course, I don't mean to generalize about all teenagers. Maybe this kid is smarter than we were. I know plenty of men my age who watched dirty porn growing up, and had much more positive, realistic first-time sexual experiences (or at least claim to...the women I've talked to have disproportionately different stories).
All the more reason why I don't want kids.....
@2 I was a fan of Loveline when I was a teenager too, but it's changed quite a bit. Dr. Drew has gotten even more preachy about alternative sexuality and basically blames every fetish on abuse.
@39 I'm not sure how to say this, but . . . enabling your son to have the kind of orgasms that he wants WITHOUT a partner will help keep him from going out and having casual sex in search of an orgasm. I'm a female (so it isn't exactly the same), but let me assure you that there was nothing that made actual sex more tempting than the inability to have an orgasm on my own. Having my own vibrator (which I bought myself without my mother) has done more for my ability to wait for someone I'm in love with to have sex with than any other thing in my whole life. What you are proposing may actually hurt your cause, not help it.
The response appears to be back up and may have been down due to the update at the end.

Hmm, 15 is too young for porn? Oh dear... my poor mom and dad missed the mark. Look, sexuality and the self-aware interest in sex begins at different ages for everyone. To say this is too young and that is too old is strange to me. There was no internet when I was a child, but we had several magazines and yes, we did have access to quite a bit. By the age of 11, I had read The Happy Hooker twice. To date, I have never had sex with a German Shepard nor have I plied myself on a professional basis as a sex worker. Visual pornography in my childhood ranged from National Geographic to Kama Sutra posters and from Playboy to Hustler and a few other fetishist magazines.

I realize that the sexuality of children is difficult for most Americans to deal with and I am not saying that an adult taking advantage of this immature sexuality is okay. However, as a GGG adult, you need to know your kids and allow their sexuality and explorations to guide your actions. Yes, it is difficult, but "normal" kids begin their sexual explorations as soon as they can see the differences in men and women. And yes, that would be all children. It isn't sexuality that is bad, but how we react to their sexuality that can be bad and damaging. Or worse yet, how we react to our own and others' sexuality that damages children.

I think my niece when she was four had the best answer to her mom on these subjects.

Her mom had said to her, "I hate being tickled. How can you stand it and even ask your dad to tickle you?"
The four year old told her, "That's just the way I'm made."
#12 FTW. Gift certificate... don't pick out his dildo.
Thank ye merciful gods BUGGG(GGG) is telling her kid porn isn't representative of real-life sex. My partner of 12 years is a wonderful, lovable man who's deeply sick w/regard to his sexual expectations. With an abundance of muscle-worship porn and a dearth of guidance, he developed the idea that sex should be just like, look just like porn, and his dick should be just like the guys in the porn he watches. (It's not) We work through it. Again and again, ad infinitum.

Mom, your efforts could save your son's future partners years of work trying to set normal expectations for what sex should be. That said, he will be OK either way. Look at my guy. He's alright.
I'm going to add my support to @12, the only thing I can think of that would be more mortifying than having ti gove a child of mine a dildo would be to recieve one from my mother.

A gift certificate will also be awkward, but much less so than going online and having to ask yourself what kind of dildo your son would like shoved up his ass. Give it to him and tell him you expect him to be clean and discrete with his habits.

Oh, and you get the Slog Mommy of the Year award as far as I'm concerned. I don't have kids, but I don't see myself being as cool and collected about finding evidence of my teen son having stuck something up his ass.
@39 Sorry, noble as your ideas may be, they're not realistic. Your son will find porn whether you allow it or not. Sex with someone you love can be wonderful and special. Masturbation to porn for mindless pleasure is also pretty wonderful when in the right mood.
First of all, parents buying their children sex toys? Gross. Parents are there to give kids information about sex, not to provide them with masturbation aids.

Second, I see nothing in the question or answer about telling this little bastard that it's very much not ok to cruise for porn on grandma's computer, or in public places like at school. Those are just SOME of limits this mother needs to woman up and set, along with "keep your masturbatory activities private."

Also, Dan didn't answer an important part of her question, which was "So do I just let him have free-range webporn access with no comment?" Think the answer should be, if he's using a family computer in a public part of the house, a resounding no. If he's like most kids he can probably circumvent his parents attempts to restrict his internet use on his own computer in his own room, but that falls under "keep your masturbatory activities private."
I was recently lamenting that many straight guys will never discover the awesome Power of the Prostate, because they're ah-scared of their asses.

Whoa-boy, lemme tells ya, I got slammed big-time by a straight friend for my homosexism.

Let's not assume that just because Junior's in touch with his He-Spot, it may mean he has the gay. It doesn't. He's just figured out what he likes alot earlier than most.
Please please please direct your son to (tagline: "sex positive sex ed for the real world!") for his sex education. I wish I could go back in time and force it upon my past and future boyfriends during their teen years.
Unless your son is the exception to the rule, Dan is WRONG. Do NOT buy him a dildo, chrissakes. Maybe give him an allowance, if he can't afford a dildo, or don't, or whatever. Then tell him he is not to use household items for that kind of thing because it is unsafe for him and inconsiderate of other people. Tell him he can go buy a professionally made...whatever he wants that is made to be safe.

There is a difference between being ashamed of the details of one's sex life and sharing that shit with your parents. Maybe culture will change, but there is a lot more important stuff to change first, and right now - buying your son a dildo might be downright TRAUMATIC for him. This letter squicked me out so much.

I would've been really disgusted, angry, hurt - if my mom had ever presumed to buy me a sex toy. If she had had a talk where she said her piece about safety and consideration, and then BUTTED THE FUCK OUT, that would've been cool.
Dan -

This letter sounds kinda false to me. The fact that this kid is having heart-to-heart talks with mom about his jerkoff habits seems unlikely, and the 'fisting' talk just screams "fake email!" to me.

However - if there were a mom out there with this sort of son-is-sticking-things-in-his-ass problem, I would buy a dildo and leave it somewhere where the idiot could find it. "Oh, here's a box of stuff from my old college roomate. I'm going to throw it out...if there's anything you find in there, it's yours." Buying your son a dildo and presenting it to him? Might as well cut off his balls and call him Brenda in front of all his friends. Too humiliating.

Dan, NO, the mom should SHOW him where to get the dildos, but stop there. No kid wants to use the sex toys that mom buys for him! When I came out to my mom at a young age, she did the supportive thing and bought me a box of condoms before my first trip abroad. Technically the right thing to do. But could not put on a condom after that for ten years without thinking MOM ... traumatized me out of needs-protection forms of sex for a decade. Still hate the things.
If parents are so open, how are we ever going to get the next generation's "masturbation horror stories"?

But really, I agree with #51. We should be sex positive and also have manners.

Also, one tip: Give him a bunch of condoms. This will help keep him safe if he has sex, but also he could use them to at least wrap up that broom-handle before it goes in his butt.
I think that no self-respecting human being-teenage or otherwise- wants a parent to buy them a dildo. If it was a gift for me, I wouldn't even be able to look at the thing without dry heaving, let alone use it!!!

Talk about giving a guy serious issues. Don't buy your son a dildo, unless you want to give your son horrific mental problems that therapy and drugs will probably never fully be able to erase.

Someone said maybe a gift certificate? Even that seems a bit wierd, but maybe if you do it in safer sex context- tell him that it's for condoms and I'm sure he will be able to figure out what else he can spend it on. Pick a site that has a really good FAQ section that covers toy use, cleaning, safer sex, etc. Or give him a good book that is age appropriate and would be informative, helpful and educational.

Whatever you do though- don't buy him any toys!


You never know, your son may in fact need encouragement to smoke pot.

Do you realize that your link refers to the website where people can buy merchandise from "Charles Knipp, who performs in blackface as Shirley Q. Liquor"?

If this kid is dumb enough to let everyone know where his sexual interests lie, he needs to be taught some limits (probably too late) so he doesn't get arrested at the public library for watching porn. And he obviously has NO shame so I don't see why he would even care if his mother bought him sex toys. Where's his dad in all this?

And it sounds like he needs less porn and more organized conversations about respecting others, controlling himself and doing his own damn laundry.
Eh, every one needs different things when they're teens. I know that I would have been ecstatic if my mother had bought me a dildo/vibrator when I was 15.
I don't disagree with your advice, and it would be perfect in a perfect world. But she'd better hope that if she does buy her underage son a dildo that there's no chance that she's ever going to run into a custody dispute (it sounds like she's a single mom), or has any dealings with CPS. Even when it's good advice courts would likely frown on it. A gift certificate might be a bit safer for her.

She also might do well to tell her son to keep his porn-viewing at school he's just asking for trouble, and he could show some respect for Grandma.
Mom, be sure to introduce PornoBoy to Savage Love.

He'll be a regular:
"Dear Dan, I LOVE my partner but the sex doesn't meet my expectations...whaaaa"
"Well PornoBoy, if the sex isn't working for you it's time to move on...

and so on...
and so on...

Inexplicably, PornoBoy will NEVER find a partner that meets his expectations.
Porn-surfing at school? At Grandma's?
Sounds like a 'time-and-place' lesson at the very least, if not a good talk about exercising a self-control.
Really putting in a word of agreement here with 51 & 57--the foundation of being GGG is being considerate, and this kid sounds like he's getting sex-positive lessons at the expense of lessons in good manners. If he's not observing "Leave No Trace," he's not being respectful of his family's rules, and of basic recognition of reasonable boundaries. And "don't look at porn on your grandma's computer" is pretty much the very definition of a reasonable boundary. I'm not sure what the context is there, but if this means that he's, like, excusing himself from Thanksgiving dinner to go have a wank, then he needs a brush-up on his table manners and lessons in how to behave in social situations.
Our son was looking at straight internet porn at age 11. At 15 he came out. I don't think that gay porn = gay boy /straight porn = straight boy is a working correlation. I think that when puberty hits, all porn is interesting, First it's "whoa, what's this sex thing?" Then it's, "And what about me?"

And whatever your experience with porn, or lack of it, coming to understand where you and your partners fit in the junction of loving, lust, intimacy and pleasure is always awkward, difficult and risky. Everybody is screwed up, insensitive and clumsy at the start. The ones who never figure out how to be good partners never would have anyway - porn or no porn.
@67, agree 100%. I'm gay but when I was growing up and gay porn was impossible to get my hands on (and anyway I still wasn't yet totally sure what I was) my father's hidden stash of straight porn more than did the job simply because I was fixated on the men (of course when the internet arrived and I could finally get my hands on the gay stuff I knew there was no looking back). The only way to know for sure what way your teenaged son is headed is if he's looking at girl-on-girl action. Ick.
If even giving him a gift card to a specific sex toy site is awkward enough, you could always give him one of those credit card gift cards. Along with it, you could tell him "I'm not telling you you *have* to buy a safe toy with this, but I *am* telling you that if I find out that you've used an unsafe household item even though you had this money I gave you to buy something safe, you will be in trouble." Parents are supposed to protect their children from unsafe things, and even punish them for doing those unsafe things. In this case, it would not interfere with being sex-positive - it would just mean that you're colon-puncturing-negative.
Mom knows " that real sex is NOT like porn, and his future girlfriends are unlikely to beg for facials, fistings, or forced group sex."
And she's "concerned that he’s getting a warped view of what’s reasonable and safe."
But she'll still let PornoBoy have at it.
And Dan will congratulate her.
Because we are all so Sex Positive!!


Brainwashing impressionable immature credulous children (11years old @67? really?) with distorted ideas of sex is not Sex Positive.

Will mom feed PornoBoy a steady diet of 1920s Blackface Amos&Andy and call herself Race Positive?

How about Aryan Nation websites? Black Positive? Pay for his Nazi tattoos?

Let him watch violent homophobic material? Gay Positive?

The shit children pour into their brains becomes them.

I doubt Dan would wink and congratulate for a steady diet of violent anti-gay or anti-black material-
"sure mom- just tell him that isn't what gays and blacks are really like, everything will be OK..."

Dan thinks porno is no big deal.
He is wrong.
It is addictive and destructive.
It gives a distorted view of sex and creates unhealthy unrealistic expectations.
It ruins relationships and destroys families.
It does generate lots of return business for Dan, a steady flow of people who, oddly, can't find real life experiences to match their distorted expectations. For themselves or their partners.

Mom already had her answer.

PornoBoy has a warped view of sex.

As do millions of other children.

It is an important ingredient in out carefree Skip to Gommorah.

But Dan already knew that.

Right, Dan?
@70 Time to adjust the dosage. Seriously. You need help.
I wouldn't buy the kid dildos, myself - I think the horror of that experience would keep him from ever being able to use them without a limp dick, and it'd be back to the hairbrushes and broom handles. I'd give him a list of good sites to shop at (Babeland, Blowfish, the Smitten Kitten), give him my credit card, and tell him he had a price limit. Then I'd give him a book or website link to read about the importance of safety with anal insertables. Finally, I'd put him in charge of the mail for the next weeks so we could both pretend I had no idea whatsoever when the thing comes in the mail.

You know.

The thing is.

Ridiculous amounts of paragraph breaks don't actually

make you smarter.

Or make your point more coherent.

Or make it look like you have a lot to say.

They just make it look like you're channeling William Carlos Williams.
@65 - Seriously. No porn at grandma's. That's a massive, embarrassing disaster waiting to happen.
73 it seems to have gotten your attention......
Buy him a good sexuality book (the guide to getting it on, perhaps?) that includes the appropriate butt-safety info plus basic information about whatever else he might be thinking of trying, and then get him a big fat gift certificate to Babeland. Let him pick the butt toys out himself, without mom looking over his shoulder.
Amazon sells toys too. :-) Pretty big selection, just make sure he gets his own account since it will start showing "people who made similar purchases liked these items too" which can be a touch embarrassing when you share an account with a parent (oops.... my dad was completely baffled by that browsing session....).
About the dangers of DIY sex toys : Dan, you mentioned the embarrassing problem of foreign rectal bodies, but never said a word about the risk for colic perforation, a much more dangerous and life-threatening complication. Having the ER doc remove that eggplant from your ass may be embarrassing, but spending weeks in sepsis from a peritonitis is much worse.
I'd like you to add a word on the topic.
My mother bought me, and gave me, my first vibrator when I was 17. I wish she'd done it earlier.