Hello my little rebels! In keeping with the theme of the Bad Behavior Issue Autostraddle is curating this month and next, what better topic for August’s first Friday Open Thread than, well, bad behavior. But I want to know about a very specific type of bad behavior: the bad behavior that, looking back, isn’t all that bad at all.
What’s something you felt like such a rebel or a daredevil for doing when you were younger that your adult self would do without blinking? Or that looking back is almost laughable? For example, when I was in seventh grade, I was in my local theatre group, and I was under STRICT INSTRUCTION to not leave the church basement where we rehearsed. But sometimes we would sneak out and go… *looks around furtively* TO THE ICE CREAM SHOP DOWN THE STREET. No more than three blocks away – though it did involve one (1) crossed street – we would go to the Brigham’s and spend any allowance we had tucked away on milkshakes or double-scoop cones even though it was BEFORE DINNER.
Mind you, this wasn’t the theatre group’s rules, that we couldn’t leave the premises on break. No, this was only my mom’s rule, my mom who wasn’t AT rehearsal with us, and wouldn’t be back until about half an hour after rehearsal ended. But breaking my mom’s rules, even when she wasn’t there, always gave me a surge of adrenaline. Every time I had gum at school, said the F word, or watched an R-rated movie at my cousins’ house.
On the other side of the “bad at being bad” coin, I wasn’t even good at it when I tried to do something legitimately “bad.” I remember once when I was about eight, I put a little plastic bowl over a lamp bulb (I wanted to dim it for a less harsh reading light #nerd) and it melted the bowl to bits. I tried to hide the evidence, but FUN FACT, melted plastic smells something awful. So when my mom demanded to know what happened, I blamed my four-year-old brother. My mom seemed to buy it, and all was well and good, but the guilt ate me up inside and after what felt like DAYS (my mom says it was more like an hour) I ran to find my mother, tears streaming down my face, and confessed all my sins.
It’s funny, once I came out (and, as a girl from a Catholic school/household, broke arguably one of the biggest rules) I started to examine rules more carefully, picking and choosing which ones made sense and which didn’t. And I found a lot of the rules I had set for myself – no fantasizing about girls, no holding hands with girls, no kissing girls – ended up being the rules I liked to break the most. Being bad suddenly felt so good.
Of course “bad” is subjective, right? Just because my set of rules was wildly different than anyone else’s didn’t mean I wasn’t still breaking rules, right? And obviously there’s nothing inherently bad about being gay, that was my own projection/insecurities being shaped into rules and boundaries. What even really constitutes “bad behavior” – is it the action itself or the intention? Oof, maybe that’s a discussion for another day.
So tell me: what were the things you did that felt so rebellious at the time that looking back weren’t so wild after all? A one night stand or awkward date you regretted at the time but now is a funny story to tell? What did you try to do to break the rules but failed at? What rules did you break that you realized were arbitrary rules and breaking them had no consequences? Which rules seemed silly to you until you broke them? What rules did you make for yourself that you’ve since broken? Were you good at getting away with things or did you confess the second you were busted?
Or we can just talk about your favorite Bad Behavior Issue headline, your weekend plans, your current mood. There is no such thing as bad behavior in this comment section. (Unless you break the community guidelines YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.)
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