Firstly, they smell bad. Very bad. I have always had an aversion to BO - more so than most people who just get crinkly nosed and mildly put-off by the stench of sweaty armpits. It stems from the time that I was teased for being smelly. I don't know if those bullies were being honest or cruel, but to this day I never leave the house without perfume or deodorant in my handbag and have at least two showers a day. It is, therefore, impossible for me to understand how my teenage boys can go two or three days without a shower. They lounge and lope around, their pimples festering, lank, oily hair dragging in their eyes, shrouded in an atomic cloud of BO that oozes from every pore. It's only teenagers that can take a break from doing nothing, and the break is just to grunt, eat and sleep. It seems as if its just too much effort to drag themselves out of the primordial soup.
Secondly, I never liked teenage boys, even when I was a teenage girl. I just couldn't understand them - they were obsessed with sex, girls and food. It took some years for me to realise that this didn't change with age and maturity, the intensity just varied over time.
Besides these things, there are many other things that I have given up hope of ever understanding. How can they sleep comfortably when before they get in to bed they have to restructure the rubbish pile on it in order to make a primate-like cocoon to sleep in? Even more perplexing - how do they make it to the bed in the first place? It's a miracle reminiscent of Jesus walking on water. How do they breathe in a room that hasn't had the windows or curtains open for that long that the mechanisms have long since rusted and where, nightly, you hear the new cockroaches singing and dancing because they have reached the cockroach Holy Land?
What distorts their mind to think that a floor is a rubbish bin, that schoolwork is for dummies, and that everyone around them is wrong, stupid and in their servitude? How can they function when they are permanently bi-polar - snappy, surly and snarly at anything vaguely resembling authority, yet engaging, and funny with their friends and charming to girls? How can they navigate to some far away event without using a map, yet can't manage to locate a laundry basket? How can they have the right to vote when they don't know how to pick up a towel or find a pair of socks? How do they have the energy to drive up the road to buy junk food, but not to make a sandwich?
I don't know if these questions can ever be answered. Maybe the best I can hope for is a sudden maturity spike or hope that I don't have a nervous breakdown before they decide to leave the parental nest. I suppose there is another alternative - this morning after my shower I just dropped my towel on the floor, and when they asked me where their lunches were I just grunted. I must say, it felt slightly liberating...