19 Forever (God help the post-pubescents)

Who still remembers the Joe Jackson song “Nineteen Forever”, which speaks of 19 as the ideal age, mature enough to take on the world but before it all gets complicated? I recall listening to it incessantly at that particular age, knowing I’d be looking back one day and sighing.

I was somewhat grown up when I was 19, not like Justin Bieber who, as far as I’m concerned, will be 15 forever. But for reasons beyond my prehistoric capacity to understand, he is a sex symbol and his birthday this week will not leave the news. So I’ll have my say about this not particularly interesting occurrence.

Nineteen was once considered to be more or less grown up. In 1950, the average age of marriage in the US was 20 for women and 23 for men. Now it is 27 and 29, respectively. And according to some psychologists, even these latter ages can be considered within the recently extended adolescents.

In an age when we need to combat sexualization of children and rampant pedophilia, I suggest that we declare 20 to be the border of early adulthood. We should then limit the conditions under which children are publicized and represented in the media. That way we can keep the trivialities of Justin Bieber’s romantic interests and birthday shenanigans out of adult media.

Some might call it fascism or anti-freedom of speech. But I say just imagine a world with compassion for the real grown ups, the ones that Joe Jackson never wanted to be. Well, he is now 40 years older than the little Canadian boy-nymph, and I’m pretty sure that he’d rather acknowledge that being over 35 is not such a drag, rather than sit through a single performance of “Baby”.

Finally, for the sex ed corner: enough with the grabbing of the crotch, sweetie. When MJ did it is was just a thing, because he had that sex-less thing going for him. But JB is a white boy, in the derogatory sense. He may have skipped those early sex ed lessons which taught that masturbation is absolutely fine, just not in public. But for crying out loud, can’t your manager or any of your huge entourage or fan base let you in on the appropriate rules of sexual conduct, in this case, when to get a room for you and your hand? Granted, some of your peeps haven’t yet reached the age to receive sex ed themselves but a few of them have, so please speak up. Seriously, when he looks back 40 years from now, the haircut will have nothing on the chronic, public misplacement of his hands.

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