The interesting thing here (in the reputed ancient Chinese sense) isn’t that some dipshit teenage boy has publicly given notice that he is available around campus to hand out spare pads to his female classmates in their time of need. Few teenagers of either sex, after all, are of consistently sound judgment. What’s interesting about this case is that there are reasonably prominent elements in the online press (examples here and here) that consider this callow twit’s antics newsworthy.
Jose Garcia is clearly an Instagram attention whore, so there’s a possibility that his stunt is crazy like a fox. Maybe he has the moxie to maintain good frame for the duration of what should be a pathetic, if not also creepifying, exercise and credibly (in whose eyes, I care not to think) present himself as a celebrity rather than some pitiful wonder of callowness. The extended Kardashian family, after all, has been decreed worthy of our celebration, and Tampon Boy, toolbox or not, is objectively more useful than anything that clan has done since old man Robert’s retirement from the bar.
The choices here are just sad. Tampon Boy is either a calculating shitbird hogging attention that ought to go to something remotely worthwhile or a pathetically misguided loser who is about to grievously suffer the pwnage of n00bs. He’s either reprehensibly scheming or so foolish that Mr. T must be summoned for an emergency expression of pity.
Either way, we’re dealing with a serious structural embarrassment as a society. Stunts like this aren’t pulled off in a vacuum. Granted, this kid is from Florida, but even so he’s far from the only party to this dipshittery who has some explaining to do. Somebody at his school should take him aside and counsel him to put a stop to his nonsense. Teachers or administrators would be wise to forbid him outright to make such a fool of himself during school hours. He may be a victim of the bystander effect, the Kitty Genovese of adolescent stupidity.
Then there’s the matter of his disingenuous enablers, who are uncomfortable with his unctuous provisioning of menstrual hygiene products to members of the weaker sex but, in the interest of right thinking, feel compelled to celebrate him as an exemplar of enlightened manhood. Those among them who are still in high school have to be worse. Garcia is part of the Lord of the Flies demographic; its female counterpart may be less violent and have less of a taste for the long pig, but it’s no less emotionally manipulative and cruel. High school is practically by definition a horde of teens with inadequate adult supervision. The prevailing manners tend towards sophomoric coarseness, not maturity. A boy earnestly walking around campus offering free tampons and pads for the asking invites his female classmates to treat him as the apotheosis of beta bucks. Their attitude will probably be sweet on the surface, but underneath it will be ugly: hey, I’ll be right back, I’ma go grab a tampon off that dweeb, don’t wanna spring a leak if I run into the JV quarterback. Dude is inviting the girls at school to walk all over him. Some of them surely will take him up on his offer.
He must figure that his mobile maxi pad dispensary program will help him get laid. It’s hard to imagine another reason why a high school boy would do such a thing. Guys don’t maintain that level of interest in girls and their vaginal happenings out of idle, dispassionate intellectual curiosity. He probably has a secondary voyeuristic interest in knowing when his classmates are menstruating, but given a choice between merely peering in on their private world and bodily entering it, he would surely choose the latter. It would be stunning if he isn’t angling to fuck these chicks. He must want to use the intimate knowledge he’s soliciting for more than just a spank bank. Homeskillet has his eyes on that prize. He’s hoping against hope that self-service will not remain forever on the agenda.
We wouldn’t have heard a thing about Tampon Boy if he were screwing a teacher or a hooker. His publicity stunt is another example of sexual frustration causing a really weird blowout. If he were sexually active and still had burning unanswered questions about the menstrual cycle, he could ask whatever chick he’s fucking. Since girls his own age are unlikely to have any interest in someone as ill-adjusted as he appears, he’d be asking these questions of a woman who is probably old and mature enough to have lost any adolescent fixation on menstruation that she may have had as a teen. If he were asking such questions at all, that is; at heart, most guys who act like him are vanillas whose manifestations of sexual eccentricity will vanish if they get laid regularly. Seriously, we probably wouldn’t be hearing anything from or about this twit if he were being sexually initiated by an older woman. (Mary Kay Letourneau-style media circuses are rare.) He and his classmates wouldn’t be on the verge of a positive feedback loop of sophomoric foolishness, super-absorbency freeloading, and bullying.
We equally wouldn’t have heard about this nonsense if there weren’t a cottage industry devoted to publishing clickbait pieces and hot takes on frivolous distractions like the sexually charged idiocy of teenagers. It occurs to me that this is why we retain Mexicans to pick our crops; we wouldn’t have the energy to read about this horseshit if we picked our own lettuce, nor would we still have the requisite interest.
Carrying on about the logistics of menstruation is feasible in American high schools and in the clickbait press precisely because the stakes are so low. Public secondary education in the United States is overwhelmingly masturbatory in intent, tone, and effect. Much of it accomplishes absolutely nothing of any compelling societal benefit, not socially, not vocationally, not intellectually, not civically. When high schoolers don’t act like adults, it’s usually because no one genuinely expects any maturity of them. They’d need some maturity to work the Arby’s sandwich line after school, because in that case customer service and business operations are at stake, but let’s get real, the sky won’t fall if they text each other about stupid bullshit during history class. If they’re even referring to it as “history class,” that means that the curriculum doesn’t include enough history to warrant a class on the subject. I studied history in college, and look at me, unemployed and writing all this meta shit at four in the morning.
They’re at school because the state told them to be there, not because there’s any objective need for them to be there. The more ambitious or tiger mom-hounded ones are there because good high school grades are a second- or third-order requirement for entry into some sought-after profession or, more nebulously, for the achievement of some inchoate goal of financial and professional success. Ultimately, this means that they have to spend their days around whatever collection of hopeless losers, thugs, catty bitches, druggies, failed projects of the social services system, sociopaths in training, and general shitheads happen to be of school age in the catchment area of their districts.
And the clickbait press? Holy fucking shit. If that’s the state of American letters, I must be doing something right, or at least not horrendously wrong. This woman forgot to change her tampon. You won’t believe what happened next. This boy offered her a tampon. You won’t believe. Personally, I sometimes wish I didn’t believe, because this stuff is so execrable that it should be unbelievable. The Awesome Reason Why This Teen Boy Is Carrying Around Tampons At School: unfortunately, that is a verbatim headline in a popular online newspaper founded by the famous ex-wife of a Congressman, and a notorious wage thief in her own right. Left all except my name, another naturalized alien robbing Broadway. But that’s all right; I understand that he left her because he was gay. These fuckers shove a narrative arc into stories about how some earnest dipshit with more idealism than sense is handing out tampons to the girls at school. The suspense is crucial to their craft. He could be protecting himself against the possibility of his own unexpected anal bleeding, after all.
A first-world press for First World Problems. But at least it’s easier than doing investigative journalism or anything bearing the faintest resemblance to literature. Cheaper, too. The publishers are after return on investment, and, in a powerful embarrassment for those of us who give a rat’s ass about journalistic probity and the belles lettres and that kind of shit, they have a willing pool of staff writers to do their dirty work for a pittance, because writing is apparently what one does when one is a writer. One would hate to do something reputable and useful for a living, like collecting deposit bottles in a stolen shopping cart.
If it bleeds, it leads.