The blog of a man from New York City who's closing in on 40 yet still remains a virgin. And not by choice.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Don't talk to strangers
This is what my mother told me when I was a child.
I remember once being at the supermarket with my mother, and while her back was turned some man was talking to me. When my mother saw that I was conversing with a "stranger," she yelled at me and told me never to talk to strangers.
Yes, she spent a lot of time telling me never to talk to strangers, never to get into a car with stranger, don't believe anything a stranger tells me.
I really took the instructions to heart. When my mother then introduced me to her friends, I would clam up and not say anything. After all, if I never saw them before then they were strangers to me, I was just following orders. I was completely mystified how one adult could be a bad "stranger," and another adult a good "stranger" whom I was allowed to converse with.
I believe this was really bad child raising on the part of my mother. I suppose there's no harm in telling this stuff to a child who's naturally extroverted, but for a child who is already shy, like I was, I think this is devastating. I managed to reach the age of eighteen without being kidnapped by a pervert, but I was a shy and socially inept eighteen year old, not so good at interacting with people and dreadfully afraid of girls.
Of course there are other factors at work, but I really do think the message "don't talk to strangers" contributed to my problems. People are born naturally extroverted or introverted, but I believe that social phobias like shyness or fear of sex are also the result of our environment when we are young.
A good parent would try to encourage a naturally timid child to be more open and not make the situation worse by instilling fear.