My son is a freshman at a fine boy’s high school run by the Jesuits with a strong tradition of service and athletics. He plays football, basketball, and tennis. He loves his school and, over time, I’ve grown to love it too. But last week something happened which shook me up.
I’ve written frequently about the impact of porn on our boys and how it distorts their view of women and sex. I have also written frequently about the “hook up” culture which deprives girls of the emotional connection they really want and boys the chance to grow in their capacity to experience real intimacy. I often bring these issues up at the dinner table because I want my son to know where I stand.
Last Saturday, he convinced me that he needed to go to the state hockey tournament where many of his friends would be playing for their school. I made him promise to be home for dinner. At the dinner table, I asked about the game. He said that the team had won and his friend’s dad had taken them out for lunch afterward.
Then came the words that stung me: “at Hooters!” He said it like it was funny. I was floored. What father would take another guy’s 15-year-old son to Hooters?
I didn’t approve, and I let him know. He tried to convince me that Hooters was just like any other restaurant and he’d gone just for the burger and fries. When that didn’t work, he said he regretted telling the truth. I made it clear that the truth was all I asked of him—hiding it was just as bad as a direct lie.
Is it just me? Or is it really insane that some guy took my kid to Hooters? What do you think I should do?
As a young man who went to an all-boys high school and then onto a Jesuit college, I can relate. Honestly, I’m glad I went to an all-boys school. I made close friends that I’ll have forever and got a great education. If I had to go through high school again, I’d do it the same way. But still, the atmosphere can get a bit stale. You’re surrounded by guys … all the time. Sure, you make friends with girls from other schools, but it’s not the same as interacting with them on a daily basis.
So, a 15-year-old going to Hooters isn’t really a bad thing. It’s good for a young kid to check it out and to form his own opinions about the whole thing. It’s the polar opposite of an all-boys high school, and stepping outside of that comfort zone is healthy. The first Hooters trip is a milestone in every guy’s life. It’s a stupid milestone, but it’s still a trip every guy remembers. I went junior year with some of my teammates. We ate some wings and acted like a bunch of dumb 17-year-olds. I haven’t been back since; the food is awful, and I’m just not a fan of white sneakers and tube socks. But it’s still something I remember.
Which is why it’s a tough spot. Hooters isn’t just about the food. Duh. And that’s especially true for a 15-year-old boy. So, yeah, I think a father has a reason to be upset if another dad takes his kid to Hooters without asking. But for the son, it’s harmless fun.