Out of

Sync
Puberty is difficult enough.
Imagine going through it
when you’re nine?

www.GoodMenProject.com

By  Helen  Peppe

 

͞EĞǀĞƌƵŶĚĞƌĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƚŚĞ
ƉŽǁĞƌŽĨƚĞƐƚŽƐƚĞƌŽŶĞ͕͟
 the  endocrinologist  told  us.  His  tone  was  grave,  no  longer  the  there’s-­‐nothing-­‐to-­‐worry-­‐about  jocular-­‐
ity  he’d  had  when  Alex  was  in  the  room,  laughing  and  making  jokes  about  successful  short  men.  Now  
ĐĂŵĞƚŚĞǁĂƌŶŝŶŐƐ͕ƚŽůĚŝŶƚŚĞƉƌŽƉŚĞƐLJŝŶŐŐůŽŽŵŽĨĂŵĞĚŝĐĂůŽƌĂĐůĞ͘dŚĞƉĞĚŝĂƚƌŝĐƐƉĞĐŝĂůŝƐƚůĞŌĂŶĚ
ƌĞƚƵƌŶĞĚƋƵŝĐŬůLJǁŝƚŚƚǁŽĐŚĂŝƌƐƚŚĂƚŚĞƉůĂĐĞĚďĞƐŝĚĞƚŚĞĞdžĂŵŝŶĂƟŽŶƚĂďůĞ͘tĞƐĂƚ͕ŵLJŚƵƐďĂŶĚĂŶĚ
I,  the  parents  of  the  boy  who  exhibited  symptoms  of  age  beyond  his  years.
dŚĞĚŽĐƚŽƌůĞĂŶĞĚĂŐĂŝŶƐƚƚŚĞĐŽƵŶƚĞƌ͘,ĞǁĂƐDŝĐŚĂĞů:͘&ŽdžͲƐŚŽƌƚ͕ĐŽŶĮĚĞŶƚĚĞƐƉŝƚĞŚŝƐƐƚĂƚƵƌĞ͘,Ğ
ƉĂƵƐĞĚƚŽůŽŽŬŵĞƐƚƌĂŝŐŚƚŝŶƚŚĞĞLJĞ͕ĂƐŝĨ/ǁŽƵůĚĚŽƵďƚŚŝƐǁŽƌĚƐƵŶůĞƐƐŚĞƐƚĂƌĞĚǀĞƌLJĮƌŵůLJĂƚ
ŵĞ͘͞ŽŶŽƚ͕ƵŶĚĞƌĂŶLJĐŝƌĐƵŵƐƚĂŶĐĞƐ͕ĞǀĞƌůĞĂǀĞLJŽƵƌƐŽŶĂůŽŶĞǁŝƚŚĂŐŝƌů͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕ǁƌŝƟŶŐŽŶŚŝƐ
clipboard  as  he  talked.  “ There  could  be  serious  consequences.  A  big  complicated  embarrassing  mess  
ƚŚĂƚĐŽƵůĚĂīĞĐƚŚŝƐǁŚŽůĞůŝĨĞ͘ŶĚLJŽƵƌƐ͘,ĞĐĂŶŐĞƚĂŐŝƌůƉƌĞŐŶĂŶƚ͘,ĞǁŝůůŶŽƚŚĞƐŝƚĂƚĞŝĨŐŝǀĞŶƚŚĞ
opportunity.”
I  laughed.  Had  he  just  said  that  my  9-­‐year-­‐old  boy  could  get  a  girl  pregnant?  It  was  our  fourth  visit  in  
a  month  to  the  Maine  Pediatrics  Clinic  in  Portland,  but  I  was  only  just  beginning  to  grasp  what  the  
ĚŽĐƚŽƌƐǁĞƌĞƚĞůůŝŶŐŵĞͶƚŚĂƚůĞdžƐƵīĞƌĞĚĨƌŽŵĐĞŶƚƌĂůƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJ͕ĂĐŽŶĚŝƟŽŶǁŚĞƌĞƐĞdžƵĂů
ŵĂƚƵƌĂƟŽŶŚĂƉƉĞŶƐďĞĨŽƌĞĂŐĞϭϭŝŶďŽLJƐĂŶĚϭϬŝŶŐŝƌůƐ͘dŚĞůĂƐƚƚŚŝƌƚLJĚĂLJƐŚĂĚďĞĞŶĂĨĞƐƟǀĂůŽĨ
tests:  blood  work  checking  thyroid,  testosterone  and  DHEA  levels,  ultra  sounds,  MRI  and  CT  scans,  
ďŽŶĞyͲƌĂLJƐ͕ĂŶĚƌĞƉĞĂƚĞĚƉŚLJƐŝĐĂůĞdžĂŵŝŶĂƟŽŶƐ͘͞zŽƵĂƌĞǀĞƌLJĨŽƌƚƵŶĂƚĞƚŚĂƚLJŽƵŚŽŵĞƐĐŚŽŽů͕͟ŚĞ
ĐŽŶƟŶƵĞĚ͕ůŽŽŬŝŶŐĂƚŵLJŚƵƐďĂŶĚ͕ƌŝĐ͕ƐŽŵĞŽŶĞǁŚŽǁĂƐŝŶƟŵĂƚĞǁŝƚŚƚĞƐƚŽƐƚĞƌŽŶĞ͛ƐďƌĂǁŶ͘͞/ƚǁŝůů
ůŝŵŝƚŚŝƐĞdžƉŽƐƵƌĞƚŽŐŝƌůƐĂƐǁĞůůĂƐůŝŵŝƚƉŽƚĞŶƟĂůůLJĂŐŐƌĞƐƐŝǀĞƐŝƚƵĂƟŽŶƐ͘EŽƚƚŽŵĞŶƟŽŶƚŚĞƚĞĂƐŝŶŐ
and  his  own  comfort  level.”
dŚĞĚŽĐƚŽƌƉĂƵƐĞĚƚŚŽƵŐŚƞƵůůLJ͕ŚŝƐƉĞŶƐƵƐƉĞŶĚĞĚĂďŽǀĞŚŝƐŶŽƚĞƐ͘/ǁŽŶĚĞƌĞĚŝĨŚĞǁĂƐǁƌŝƟŶŐ
ƐŽŵĞƚŚŝŶŐůŝŬĞŵŽƚŚĞƌĨĂŝůƐƚŽƐĞĞƚŚĞƐĞƌŝŽƵƐŶĞƐƐŽĨƚŚĞƐŝƚƵĂƟŽŶ͘,ĞǁĞŶƚŽŶ͘͞zŽƵŵŝŐŚƚǁĂŶƚƚŽ
ĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌƚŚĞƌĂƉLJ͕͟ŚĞƚŽůĚƵƐ͘/ƉŝĐƚƵƌĞĚůĞdž͕ǁŚŽǁĂƐǁĂŝƟŶŐŽƵƚƐŝĚĞƚŚĞƌŽŽŵ͕ƚƌLJŝŶŐƚŽĞĂǀĞƐĚƌŽƉ
like  Samwise  Gamgee  beneath  Frodo’s  window.  Therapy?  For  whom?

Out of Synch >>> from The Good Men Project Magazine

 

Sex,  aggression  and  rage.

 My  husband  
and  I  would  hear  these  words  again  and  again  over  the  next  weeks  and  months,  always  spoken  in  som-­‐
ber  tones  by  concerned  medical  professionals.  It  was  hard  to  accept  that  they  were  talking  about  Alex,  
ĂĐƵƚĞďŽLJǁŝƚŚƐƚƌĂŝŐŚƚďůŽŶĚŚĂŝƌ͕ĂŶŝŵƉŝƐŚŐƌŝŶ͕ĂŶĚƚŚŝŶ͕ďĂƌĞůLJĚĞĮŶĞĚĂƌŵƐ͘,ĞǁĂƐĂĐŚŝůĚͶĂ
ĨƵŶ͕ŐŽŽĚͲŶĂƚƵƌĞĚ͕ŚĂƉƉLJ͕ŝŶƚĞůůŝŐĞŶƚ͕ƌĂƟŽŶĂůĐŚŝůĚ͘tĞƐŶƵŐŐůĞĚƚŽŐĞƚŚĞƌĂŶĚƌĞĂĚ:͘<͘ZŽǁůŝŶŐĂŶĚ
J.R.R.  Tolkein  books  aloud,  the  Lord  of  the  Rings  trilogy  twice.  Alex  played  Sonic  the  Hedgehog  and  
Zelda  video  games  and  took  my  computer  apart  for  fun.  He  loved  leaping  out  at  me  around  corners,  
laughing  when  I  screamed.  I  couldn’t  see  it,  this  idea  of  Alex  as  sexually  dangerous.  He  couldn’t  possi-­‐
bly  do  anyone  harm,  could  he?
tĞŬŶĞǁůĞdžǁĂƐĂĚǀĂŶĐĞĚŝŶƚĞůůĞĐƚƵĂůůLJĨŽƌŚŝƐĂŐĞ͘,Ğ͛ĚůĞĂƌŶĞĚƚŽƌĞĂĚĂƚϰĂŶĚǁĂƐƌĞĂĚŝŶŐĂƚƚŚĞ
ŚŝŐŚƐĐŚŽŽůůĞǀĞůďLJϳ͘,ŝƐŵĂƚŚĂŶĚƐĐŝĞŶĐĞƐŬŝůůƐǁĞƌĞĞdžĐĞƉƟŽŶĂů͘ƵƚŚĞǁĂƐƐŽĨĂƌĂŚĞĂĚŽĨŬŝĚƐŚŝƐ
ŽǁŶĂŐĞƚŚĂƚǁĞŚĂĚŵĂũŽƌƐŽĐŝĂůŝnjĂƟŽŶĐŽŶĐĞƌŶƐ͘DŽƚŚĞƌƐĐĂůůĞĚŵĞƚŽĐŽŵƉůĂŝŶƚŚĂƚůĞdžŚĂĚŵĂĚĞ
their  child  feel  dumb.  “Did  he  say  Tyler  was  stupid?”  I  asked  one  angry  mother,  ready  to  speak  to  Alex  
immediately  if  he  was  being  mean.
dŚĞŵŽƚŚĞƌƐƚĂŵŵĞƌĞĚ͘͞tĞůů͘ĐƚƵĂůůLJ͕/͛ŵŶŽƚƐƵƌĞǁŚĂƚůĞdžƐĂŝĚďĞĐĂƵƐĞdLJůĞƌƐĂLJƐŚĞƵƐĞƐ
long  words  on  purpose  just  to  confuse  him.”  Then  there  was  the  mother  who  called  to  say  that  Alex  
ǁŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚůĞƚŚĞƌƐŽŶǁŝŶĂƚDĂƌŝŽ<Ăƌƚ͘͞ĂĐŚĂƌLJǁĂƐǀĞƌLJƵƉƐĞƚĂŶĚƐĂLJƐƚŚĂƚůĞdžĐŚĞĂƚƐ͕͟ƐŚĞƐĂŝĚ͘/
didn’t  know  what  to  say.  Is  it  even  possible  to  cheat  at  video  games?
dŚĞƐƚŽƌLJǁĂƐĚŝīĞƌĞŶƚǁŝƚŚŐŝƌůƐ͘ůĞdžƐĂƚĂŶĚůŝƐƚĞŶĞĚǁŚĞŶƚŚĞLJƚĂůŬĞĚ͕ŽīĞƌŝŶŐƚŽŚĞůƉƚŚĞŵǁŝƚŚ
ƚŚĞŝƌƐĐŚŽŽůǁŽƌŬ͘tŚĞŶ/ĚƌŽǀĞĂƉƌĞƩLJϭϬͲLJĞĂƌŽůĚƚŽŵĂƌƟĂůĂƌƚƐǁŝƚŚůĞdž͕ŚĞƉƌĞƚĞŶĚĞĚŚĞŚĂĚ
ƚŽĨĂůůŝŶƚŽŚĞƌĂƐ/ƚƵƌŶĞĚĂĐŽƌŶĞƌ͕ƌĞƐƟŶŐŚŝƐŚĞĂĚŽŶŚĞƌƐŚŽƵůĚĞƌ͘dŚĞLJŐŝŐŐůĞĚĂŶĚǁŚŝƐƉĞƌĞĚ͘/
thought  of  her  now  as  the  specialist  planted  images  of  pregnancy  into  my  head.
The  doctor  knew  of  Alex’s  lack  of  social  skill  with  boys.  “ The  gap  between  himself  and  children  his  own  
ĂŐĞǁŝůůĐŽŶƟŶƵĞƚŽǁŝĚĞŶďŽƚŚƉŚLJƐŝĐĂůůLJĂŶĚŝŶƚĞůůĞĐƚƵĂůůLJ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕ŚĂŶĚŝŶŐƵƐďƌŽĐŚƵƌĞƐĂďŽƵƚ
precocious  puberty.  The  front  picture  of  one  was  of  a  boy  standing  alone  in  a  school  hallway  leaning  
ĂŐĂŝŶƐƚĂůŽĐŬĞƌ͘'ƌŽƵƉƐŽĨĐŚŝůĚƌĞŶŚƵĚĚůĞĚŝŶƚŚĞĚŝƐƚĂŶĐĞ͕ǁĂƌLJĂŶĚƚĂƵŶƟŶŐ͘͞/ĨůĞdž͛ƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJŝƐŶ͛ƚ
ƐƚŽƉƉĞĚďLJŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ͕͟ŚĞĐŽŶƟŶƵĞĚ͕͞ŚĞǁŝůůŚĂǀĞƚŚĞƚĞƐƚŽƐƚĞƌŽŶĞŽĨĂŶĂĚƵůƚŵĂůĞũƵƐƚĂƐŚŝƐƉĞĞƌƐ
ĂƌĞďĞŐŝŶŶŝŶŐƉƵďĞƌƚLJ͘dŚĞĞŵďĂƌƌĂƐƐŵĞŶƚĂŶĚĨƌƵƐƚƌĂƟŽŶǁŝůůďĞŝŶƚĞŶƐĞ͘͟

9

/ƐƚƌƵŐŐůĞĚƚŽŐƌĂƐƉƚŚĞďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌĂůŝŵƉůŝĐĂƟŽŶƐŽĨƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐ
ƉƵďĞƌƚLJ͘/ŶƚĞƌŶĞƚƌĞƐĞĂƌĐŚŚĂĚĂŶƐǁĞƌĞĚŵĂŶLJŽĨŵLJƋƵĞƐƟŽŶƐ͕
but  I  couldn’t  fathom  why  doctors  were  so  concerned  about  Alex’s  
ŵĞŶƚĂůŚĞĂůƚŚ͘tŚLJĐŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚǁĞũƵƐƚƐŝƚŚŝŵĚŽǁŶĂŶĚĞdžƉůĂŝŶƚŚĂƚ
he  was  too  young  to  have  sex?  And  why  did  they  assume  my  son  
ǁĂƐŐŽŝŶŐƚŽůŽƐĞŚŝƐĐŽŵŵƵŶŝĐĂƟŽŶƐŬŝůůƐĂƐŚĞŐĂŝŶĞĚďŽĚLJŚĂŝƌ͍ 
ƚƚŚĂƚŵŽŵĞŶƚ͕ƚŚŽƵŐŚ͕ƚŚĞƋƵĞƐƟŽŶƚŚĂƚŵŽƐƚĐŽŶĐĞƌŶĞĚŵLJ
husband  and  I  was  whether  Alex  would  reach  his  full  adult  height.

Out of Synch >>> from The Good Men Project Magazine

10
10

 

sĂŐƵĞŝŵĂŐĞƐŽĨŵĂůĞĂŶĚĨĞŵĂůĞŐƌŽǁƚŚĐŚĂƌƚƐĨƌŽŵĂĐŽůůĞŐĞďŝŽůŽŐLJƚĞdžƚŇŝƩĞĚĂĐƌŽƐƐŵLJŝŶŶĞƌ
ĞLJĞ͘tŚĞŶƉƵďĞƌƚLJĞŶĚƐ͕ŐƌŽǁƚŚƐƚŽƉƐ͕ƚŽŽ͘ĂƌůLJŐƌŽǁƚŚƐƉƵƌƚƐŝŶĐŚŝůĚƌĞŶǁŝƚŚƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJ
ŵĂŬĞƚŚĞŵƚĂůůĞƌƚŚĂŶƚŚĞŝƌƉĞĞƌƐ͕ďƵƚƚŚĞLJƐƚŽƉŐƌŽǁŝŶŐƐŽŽŶĞƌĂŶĚŽŌĞŶĞŶĚƵƉĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌĂďůLJ
shorter.  Sadly,  height  seemed  to  be  where  the  foretelling  powers  of  the  doctor  ended.  “I  can’t  an-­‐
ƐǁĞƌƚŚĂƚ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕ŚĂŶĚŝŶŐƵƐƚŚĞĚŝĂŐŶŽƐŝƐƐŚĞĞƚ͘͞zŽƵƌƐŽŶǁŝůůƐƚŽƉŐĞƫŶŐƚĂůůĞƌǁŚĞŶŚŝƐďŽŶĞƐ
ĨƵƐĞ͕ǁŚŝĐŚĨŽƌŵŽƐƚŵĂůĞƐŝƐϭϴ͕ďƵƚĨŽƌůĞdžĐŽƵůĚďĞĂƐĞĂƌůLJĂƐϭϭ͘tĞ͛ůůŬŶŽǁŵŽƌĞŝŶƚŚƌĞĞ
months.”
The  doctor  reached  for  the  doorknob  but  then  turned  back  toward  us.  “More  than  concern  for  his  
ŚĞŝŐŚƚ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕͞/͛ĚĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌƉƌĞǀĞŶƟŶŐŚŝŵĨƌĞĞĂĐĐĞƐƐƚŽƚŚĞ/ŶƚĞƌŶĞƚ͘,ĂƌĚĐŽƌĞƉŽƌŶĐŽƵůĚďĞ
very  damaging  at  such  a  young  age,  and  boys  with  the  level  of  testosterone  your  
ƐŽŶŚĂƐǁŝůůŽďƐĞƐƐ͘͟tĞƌĞǁĞƚĂůŬŝŶŐĂďŽƵƚůĞdž͛ƐďŽŶĞĂŐĞ͕ŽƌŚŝƐĐŚƌŽŶŽůŽŐŝĐĂů
ĂŐĞ͍/ƌĞĂůŝnjĞĚ/͛ĚŶĞǀĞƌŬŶŽǁĨŽƌƐƵƌĞĂŐĂŝŶ͘Ƶƚ͕ŝĨŚŝƐďŽŶĞĂŐĞǁĂƐƌĞĂůůLJƚŚĂƚŽĨ
ĂϭϰͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚ͕ǁŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚůŽŽŬŝŶŐĂƚƉŽƌŶŽŐƌĂƉŚLJďĞďĞƩĞƌƚŚĂŶĐŚĂƐŝŶŐŐŝƌůƐĂŶĚ
ĞŶŐĂŐŝŶŐƉĞŽƉůĞŝŶǀŝŽůĞŶƚĐŽŶĨƌŽŶƚĂƟŽŶƐ͕ďŽƚŚŽĨǁŚŝĐŚƚŚĞĚŽĐƚŽƌŚĂĚũƵƐƚĂůĞƌƚĞĚ
ƵƐĐŽƵůĚŚĂƉƉĞŶ͍tŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚǀŝƌƚƵĂůƐĞdžďĞƉƌĞĨĞƌĂďůĞƚŽĂĐƚƵĂůƐĞdž͍/ƐƚŚŝƐǁŚLJǁĞ
ŶĞĞĚĞĚĂƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚ͍dŽŚĞůƉƵƐĂŶƐǁĞƌƚŚĞƐĞƋƵĞƐƟŽŶƐ͍
It  started  with  pubic  hair  on  the  toilet  seat.  I’d  stared  at  the  small  hairs,  wondering  
ǁŚLJƚŚĞƌĞǁĞƌĞƐŽŵĂŶLJ͘/ǁŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚŚĂǀĞƋƵĞƐƟŽŶĞĚƚŚĞŵŝĨƚŚĞƌĞŚĂĚŶ͛ƚĂůƐŽďĞĞŶ
so  much  urine  on  the  outside  of  the  toilet  bowl.  This  pubic  hair  belonged  to  some-­‐
ŽŶĞǁŝƚŚůĂdžďĂƚŚƌŽŽŵŚĂďŝƚƐĂŶĚƉŽŽƌĂŝŵ͕ƚǁŽĐŚĂƌĂĐƚĞƌŝƐƟĐƐ/ŚĂĚůŽŶŐŝĚĞŶƟĮĞĚ
as  belonging  to  Alex.
dŚĞŶƚŚĞƌĞǁĂƐƚŚĞƌĂnjŽƌĞƉŝƐŽĚĞ͕ǁŚĞŶůĞdžĐƵƚŚŝƐůŝƉƚƌLJŝŶŐƚŽƐŚĂǀĞ͘/͛ĚŶŽƟĐĞĚĂ
darkening  of  hair  beneath  his  nose  and  on  his  cheeks,  but  I  come  from  a  very  hairy  
family  and  hadn’t  thought  much  of  it.  Alex,  though,  was  deeply  concerned  and  tried  
ƚŽƌĞŵŽǀĞƚŚĞƐƉĂƩĞƌŝŶŐŽĨĚĂƌŬŵŽƵƐƚĂĐŚĞŚĂŝƌǁŝƚŚŽƵƚŵLJŬŶŽǁůĞĚŐĞ͘/ĚŝĚŶ͛ƚ
understand  his  discomfort,  and  I  explained  to  him  that  the  hair  hadn’t  been  nearly  
ĂƐŶŽƟĐĞĂďůĞĂƐƚŚĞďůŽŽĚLJǁŽƵŶĚ͘
I  called  our  primary  care  provider.  She  examined  Alex  and  recognized  the  signs  of  
ĞĂƌůLJƉƵďĞƌƚLJ͕ďƵƚƐŚĞĂĚǀŝƐĞĚƚŚŽƌŽƵŐŚƚĞƐƟŶŐĂŶĚƐĞŶƚƵƐƚŽĂƉĞĚŝĂƚƌŝĐĞŶĚŽĐƌŝ-­‐
nologist.  Precocious  puberty  is  considerably  less  common  in  boys  than  girls,  and  an  
array  of  serious  congenital  anomalies,  tumors,  and  diseases  had  to  be  excluded  as  
an  underlying  cause.  Eric  and  I  worried  about  all  that  could  be  wrong  with  Alex  and  blamed  our-­‐
ƐĞůǀĞƐĨŽƌŶŽƚƌĞĐŽŐŶŝnjŝŶŐƚŚĞƐŝŐŶƐ͘ƵƚǁŚĂƚƉĂƌĞŶƚůŽŽŬƐĂƚŚĞƌϴͲLJĞĂƌŽůĚƐŽŶĂŶĚǁŽŶĚĞƌƐŝĨŚŝƐ
ƚĞƐƟĐůĞƐĂƌĞĂŶĂŐĞͲĂƉƉƌŽƉƌŝĂƚĞƐŝnjĞ͍ůĞdžǁĂƐǀĞƌLJŵŽĚĞƐƚ͕ĂŶĚ/͛ĚĂůǁĂLJƐƌĞƐƉĞĐƚĞĚŚŝƐƉƌŝǀĂĐLJ͘
tŚĞŶŚĞǁĂƐϳ͕ůĞdžŚĂĚŐŽŶĞƚŽƚŚĞĞŵĞƌŐĞŶĐLJƌŽŽŵĨŽƌĂƚǁŝƐƚĞĚĂƉƉĞŶĚŝdžƚĞƐƟƐ͘ƵƌŽůŽŐŝƐƚŚĂĚ
ĞdžĂŵŝŶĞĚŚŝŵŵƵůƟƉůĞƟŵĞƐǁŚŝůĞŵŽŶŝƚŽƌŝŶŐƚŚĞƚĞƐƟĐůĞ͛ƐďůŽŽĚLJƐƵƉƉůLJ͘tŚLJŚĂĚŶ͛ƚŚĞŶŽƟĐĞĚ͍
/ƚǁĂƐŶ͛ƚƵŶƟůƚŚĞĞŶĚŽĐƌŝŶŽůŽŐŝƐƚƚŽŽŬƚŚĞ͞ǁŽŽĚĞŶďĂůůƐŽŶĂƐƚƌŝŶŐ͟ŽƵƚŽĨŚŝƐǁŚŝƚĞĐŽĂƚƉŽĐŬĞƚ
ƚŽŵĞĂƐƵƌĞƚĞƐƟĐƵůĂƌƐŝnjĞƚŚĂƚůĞdž͛ƐďŝŽůŽŐŝĐĂůĂŐĞǁĂƐƌĞǀĞĂůĞĚ͘DLJƐŽŶ͛ƐƚĞƐƟĐůĞƐǁĞƌĞƚŚĞƐŝnjĞŽĨ
ĂϭϰͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚ͛ƐĂŶĚǁŽƵůĚŐƌŽǁƚŽƚŚĞƐŝnjĞŽĨĂŵĂŶ͛ƐŝŶĨĞǁĞƌƚŚĂŶƚǁĞŶƚLJͲĨŽƵƌŵŽŶƚŚƐŝĨǁĞĚŝĚŶ͛ƚ
ĚŽƐŽŵĞƚŚŝŶŐƚŽƐƚŽƉŝƚ͘dŚĂƚƐŽŵĞƚŚŝŶŐǁĂƐĂŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ͕>ƵƉƌŽŶ͕ǁŚŝĐŚŶĞĞĚĞĚƚŽďĞŝŶũĞĐƚĞĚ

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ĚĂŝůLJ͘ƵƚůĞdžǁĂƐƚĞƌƌŝĮĞĚŽĨŶĞĞĚůĞƐ͕ĂŶĚǁŚĞŶƚŚĞĚŽĐƚŽƌŵĞŶƟŽŶĞĚƚŚĞĚĂŝůLJƐŚŽƚƐ͕ůĞdž
ǁĞŶƚƐƟůůůŝŬĞĂĚĞĞƌŝŶŚĞĂĚůŝŐŚƚƐ͘dŚĞŵĞŶƟŽŶŽĨƚŚĞƐŝĚĞĞīĞĐƚƐŵĂĚĞůĞdž͛ƐĞLJĞƐŐŽǁŝĚĞƌ͕ŚŝƐ
ďŽĚLJƐƟīĞƌ͗>ŽƐƐŽĨďŽĚLJŚĂŝƌ͕ƐŚƌŝŶŬĂŐĞŽĨŐĞŶŝƚĂůƐ͕ĚĞƉƌĞƐƐŝŽŶ͕ĂŶĚĂĐŶĞ͘dŚĞůŝƐƚĂůƐŽŝŶĐůƵĚĞĚ
ĐŽŶƐƟƉĂƟŽŶ͕ĂďƐĐĞƐƐĞƐ͕ƐǁĞůůŝŶŐĂƚƚŚĞŝŶũĞĐƟŽŶƐŝƚĞ͕ĂŶĚǁĞŝŐŚƚŐĂŝŶ͕

but I  don’t  think  Alex
ŚĞĂƌĚĂƚŚŝŶŐĂŌĞƌ
shrinkage  and  genitals.
 

/ĨĞůƚƐŽƌƌLJĨŽƌůĞdž͘,ĞůŽŽŬĞĚďĞǁŝůĚĞƌĞĚĂŶĚǀƵůŶĞƌĂďůĞ͕ƐŝƫŶŐŽŶƚŚĞĞdžĂŵƚĂďůĞŝŶĂŚŽƐƉŝƚĂů
ũŽŶŶŝĞ͘,ĞĚŝĚŶ͛ƚůŽŽŬĐĂƉĂďůĞŽĨŐĞƫŶŐĂŐŝƌůƉƌĞŐŶĂŶƚŽƌƐƉĞŶĚŝŶŐŚŽƵƌƐŐĂnjŝŶŐĂƚŚĂƌĚĐŽƌĞ
pornography.  I  wanted  to  protect  him,  and  I  couldn’t  help  wondering  if  this  was  somehow  all  
ŵLJĨĂƵůƚ͘tĂƐŝƚƚŚĞDĐŽŶĂůĚ͛ƐĐŚŝĐŬĞŶŶƵŐŐĞƚƐ/͛ĚĂůůŽǁĞĚŚŝŵƚŽĞĂƚ͍ĞĞƉĨƌŝĞĚĐŚƵŶŬƐŽĨ
ĐŚĞŵŝĐĂůƐŵŝdžĞĚǁŝƚŚŚŽƌŵŽŶĂůůLJŝŶũĞĐƚĞĚĨŽǁů͍tĂƐŝƚƚŚĞŚŽƌŵŽŶĞƐŝŶƚŚĞŵŝůŬ͍dŚĞĐŚĞĞƐĞ͍
dŚĞĚŽĐƚŽƌĂƐƐƵƌĞĚŵĞƚŚĂƚŝƚǁĂƐŵŽƐƚůŝŬĞůLJŐĞŶĞƟĐ͕ĂŶĚƉŚŽŶĞĐĂůůƐƚŽĨĂŵŝůLJŵĞŵďĞƌƐƐŽŽŶ
ƌĞǀĞĂůĞĚƚŚĂƚŵLJĨĂƚŚĞƌŚĂĚĞdžƉĞƌŝĞŶĐĞĚƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJďĂĐŬŝŶƚŚĞϭϵϰϬƐ͘EŽŽŶĞǁŽƵůĚ
have  thought  to  diagnose  it  back  then,  but  my  father  remembered.  He’d  had  a  mustache  at  9,  
ďĞĂƌĚŐƌŽǁƚŚĂƚϭϬ͘/ĐĂƌƌŝĞĚĂƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJŐĞŶĞ͘ 
ƌŝĐĂŶĚ/ĂŐƌĞĞĚƚŽŝŶǀŽůǀĞůĞdžŝŶĚĞĐŝƐŝŽŶƐĂďŽƵƚŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ͘dŚŝƐǁĂƐůĞdž͛ƐůŝĨĞ͕ĂŌĞƌĂůů͕ĂŶĚ
/ǁĂƐŶ͛ƚŐŽŝŶŐƚŽĨŽƌĐĞŚŝŵƚŽƐƵďŵŝƚƚŽĚĂŝůLJŝŶũĞĐƟŽŶƐ͘/ĚŝĚŶ͛ƚŶĞĞĚƚŽďĞĂŶŽƌĂĐůĞƚŽĨŽƌĞƐĞĞ
the  nightmare  ahead  of  me.  I  remembered  all  too  clearly  having  to  administer  eardrops  for  an  
ŝŶĨĞĐƟŽŶ͕ŚŝŵƐĐƌĞĂŵŝŶŐĂŶĚŬŝĐŬŝŶŐŽŶƚŚĞŬŝƚĐŚĞŶŇŽŽƌ͘ĞƐŝĚĞƐ͕ŚŽǁĐŽƵůĚĂŶLJŽŶĞŬŶŽǁƚŚĞ
ůŽŶŐͲƚĞƌŵĞīĞĐƚƐŽĨĂŶLJŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶǁŝƚŚĂƐƵƌĞƚLJƚŚĂƚŵĂĚĞŝƚĂďƐŽůƵƚĞůLJƐĂĨĞ͍ 
ůĞdžĚŝĚŶ͛ƚƉŽŶĚĞƌŽƌŚĞƐŝƚĂƚĞ͕͞EŽŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͘ƌŝĐ͛ƐĚĂĚĂŶĚƐĞǀĞƌĂůŽƚŚĞƌĨĂŵŝůLJ
members  disagreed.  “It’ll  be  easier  on  Alex  if  you  give  him  Lupron,”  my  sister  said.  Eric’s  father  
warned,  “Height  for  a  man  is  like  beauty  for  a  woman.  It  opens  doors.”  At  our  next  visit  to  the  
doctor,  we  told  him  of  our  decision  and  were  comforted  when  he  volunteered  that  his  own  son  
ǁĂƐŐŽŝŶŐƚŚƌŽƵŐŚƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJͶĂŶĚƚŚĂƚƚŚĞLJ͛ĚĂůƐŽŽƉƚĞĚƚŽĨŽƌĞŐŽŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ͘ 
ĨĞǁǁĞĞŬƐůĂƚĞƌ͕/ŶĞĞĚĞĚĂďĂďLJƐŝƩĞƌĂŶĚŚŝƌĞĚĂLJŽƵŶŐƚĞĞŶĂŐĞŐŝƌůĨƌŽŵƚŚĞŶĞŝŐŚďŽƌŚŽŽĚ͘
tŚĞŶƌŝĐĂŶĚ/ĐĂŵĞŚŽŵĞ͕ǁĞǁĞƌĞŐƌĞĞƚĞĚďLJƌĞĚĨĂĐĞƐĂŶĚŐŝŐŐůŝŶŐ͘dŚĞŶĞdžƚŵŽƌŶŝŶŐ͕ƚŚĞ
Őŝƌů͛ƐŵŽƚŚĞƌĐĂůůĞĚĂŶĚƐĂŝĚŚĞƌĚĂƵŐŚƚĞƌǁŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚďĞďĂďLJƐŝƫŶŐĂŐĂŝŶ͘^ŚĞƌĞĨƵƐĞĚƚŽƚĞůůŵĞ
why.
͞tŚĂƚŚĂƉƉĞŶĞĚ͍͟/ĂƐŬĞĚůĞdž͘
“Nothing,”  he  said,  barely  looking  up  from  his  computer  keyboard.  He  didn’t  stop  typing.  “I  don’t  
ŬŶŽǁǁŚĂƚŚĞƌŵŽƚŚĞƌ͛ƐƚĂůŬŝŶŐĂďŽƵƚ͘tĞƉůĂLJĞĚǀŝĚĞŽŐĂŵĞƐ͘͟
“Something  had  to  have  happened.”
“Nope.  Nothing.” 
ƌŝĐĂŶĚ/ƐƚŽƉƉĞĚŚŝƌŝŶŐďĂďLJƐŝƩĞƌƐ͘
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KǀĞƌƚŚĞŶĞdžƚĨĞǁŵŽŶƚŚƐ͕ůĞdž͛ƐĂƉƉĞĂƌĂŶĐĞďĞŐĂŶƚŽĐŚĂŶŐĞĚƌĂƐƟĐĂůůLJ͘,ŝƐŚĂŝƌ͕ĂůǁĂLJƐ
straight,  started  curling  and  morphed  to  a  dark  brown.  His  rounded  baby  face  altered  into  
that  of  a  young  teenage  boy  and  sudden  oily  skin  and  body  odor  required  constant  remind-­‐
ĞƌƐƚŽƐŚŽǁĞƌ͘ƚϭϬ͕ůĞdžĚĞĐŝĚĞĚŚĞǁĂŶƚĞĚƚŽŵŽǀĞŚŝƐďĞĚƌŽŽŵƚŽƚŚĞďĂƐĞŵĞŶƚ͕ĂƐĨĂƌ
ĂǁĂLJĨƌŽŵƵƐĂƐŚĞĐŽƵůĚŐĞƚĂŶĚƐƟůůďĞŝŶƚŚĞƐĂŵĞŚŽƵƐĞ͘ƌŝĐƐĂŝĚǁĞƐŚŽƵůĚƐƵƉƉŽƌƚŚŝƐ
ŵŽǀĞ͕ƚŚĂƚůĞdžŶĞĞĚĞĚŚŝƐƉƌŝǀĂĐLJĨŽƌĐŽŶƚĞŵƉůĂƟŽŶ͘ 

ůĞdžďƵŝůƚŚŝƐŽǁŶĚĞƐŬƚŽƉĐŽŵƉƵƚĞƌ͘dŚĞƌĞǁĂƐŶŽůŝŵŝƟŶŐŚŝƐĂĐĐĞƐƐƚŽƚŚĞ/ŶƚĞƌŶĞƚĞǀĞŶ
if  we’d  wanted  to—which  we  didn’t.  Eric  and  I  agreed  that  Internet  pornography  would  al-­‐
ůŽǁůĞdžĂƐĞdžƵĂůŽƵƚůĞƚƚŚĂƚǁĂƐƚŚĞƐĂĨĞƐƚŽĨĂůůƚŚĞĂůƚĞƌŶĂƟǀĞƐ͘tĞĚŝĚŶ͛ƚƚĞůůůĞdžŽĨŽƵƌ
decision,  but  we  chose  not  to  control  the  pornography  unless  he  used  it  inappropriately—
ƐŚĂƌŝŶŐŝƚǁŝƚŚĨƌŝĞŶĚƐ͕ŽƌƌĞǀĞĂůŝŶŐŚŝƐƉŚLJƐŝĐĂůůŽĐĂƟŽŶƚŽƐƚƌĂŶŐĞƌƐ͘>ŽŽŬŝŶŐďĂĐŬ͕/ƌĞĂůŝnjĞ/
knew  nothing  about  boys  and  pornography.  I’d  never  seen  online  porn  and  assumed  that  Alex  was  
ǀŝĞǁŝŶŐƐƟůůƉŝĐƚƵƌĞƐƐŝŵŝůĂƌƚŽƉƌŝŶƚŵĂŐĂnjŝŶĞƐ͘/ƚǁĂƐŶ͛ƚƵŶƟůůĞdžǁĂƐϭϮƚŚĂƚǁĞůĞĂƌŶĞĚƚŚĂƚ
ŚĞ͛ĚďĞĞŶĚŽǁŶůŽĂĚŝŶŐǀŝĚĞŽĐůŝƉƐĂŶĚǀŝƐŝƟŶŐĂĚƵůƚĐŚĂƚƌŽŽŵƐ͘KƵƌƚĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐŝĐĂůƉƌŽĮĐŝĞŶĐLJ
was  no  match  for  Alex’s.  There  were  rapid  clicks  of  the  mouse  when  either  his  dad  or  I  entered  his  
ǀŝĐŝŶŝƚLJ͕ĂŶĚŚĞŽŌĞŶďůŽĐŬĞĚƚŚĞƐĐƌĞĞŶǁŝƚŚŚŝƐďŽĚLJ͘,ĞůŝǀĞĚŝŶƚŚĞŐůŽŽŵŽĨƚŚĞďĂƐĞŵĞŶƚůŝŬĞ
ĂŵŽĚĞƌŶ'ŽůůƵŵ͕ƉƌŽƚĞĐƟŶŐƚŚĞƉƌŝǀĂĐLJŚĞĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌĞĚƉƌĞĐŝŽƵƐ͘Ƶƚ/ǁŽƌƌŝĞĚƚŚĂƚůĞdžǁŽƵůĚ
ƚŚŝŶŬĂůůǁŽŵĞŶǁĞƌĞƐŝŵŝůĂƌƚŽƚŚĞƚŚŝŶĂŶĚĞĂŐĞƌƉŽƌŶƐƚĂƌƐŚĞŐŽŽŐůĞĚ͕ĂŶĚ/ŝŶŝƟĂƚĞĚŚƵŶĚƌĞĚƐ
ŽĨĐŽŶǀĞƌƐĂƟŽŶƐǁŝƚŚŚŝŵĂďŽƵƚǁŽŵĞŶĂŶĚĂĐĐĞƉƚĂďůĞďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌŝŶƌĞůĂƟŽŶƐŚŝƉƐ͘
I  bought  It’s  Perfectly  Normal  by  Robie  Harris,  where  the  women  and  the  men  are  overweight  car-­‐
ƚŽŽŶĮŐƵƌĞƐ͘dŚŝƐ͕/ƚŽůĚůĞdž͕ŝƐǁŚĂƚŵŽƐƚǁŽŵĞŶůŽŽŬůŝŬĞ͘,ĞŐůĂŶĐĞĚĂƚƚŚĞƉŝĐƚƵƌĞƐ͘͞/ĚŽŶ͛ƚ
think  that’s  accurate,”  he  said.  Then  he  dropped  the  book  on  the  kitchen  table  and  descended  
ƚŽƚŚĞďĂƐĞŵĞŶƚ͘>ĂƚĞƌ/ŶŽƟĐĞĚƚŚĞŬǁĂƐŐŽŶĞ͘tŚĞŶ/ĂƐŬĞĚŚŝŵĂďŽƵƚŝƚ͕ŚĞǁĂƐƐŝƫŶŐŝŶ
front  of  his  computer  with  headphones  on.  He  removed  only  one  cup  from  his  ear  when  he  saw  
ŵĞĂŶĚƌŽůůĞĚŚŝƐĞLJĞƐĂƚƚŚĞƋƵĞƐƟŽŶ͘͞EŽŶĞŽĨLJŽƵƌďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕ĨŽƵƌǁŽƌĚƐƚŚĂƚǁĞƌĞů-­‐
Ğdž͛ƐŶĞǁƐŝŐŶĂƚƵƌĞĞŶĚŝŶŐƚŽĂůůĐŽŶǀĞƌƐĂƟŽŶƐĚĞĞŵĞĚƵŶĐŽŵĨŽƌƚĂďůĞ͘/ĐŽƵůĚŚĞĂƌĂƟŶŶLJĚŝƐƚĂŶƚ
WĞƚĞ^ĞĞŐĞƌƐŝŶŐŝŶŐĂďŽƵƚĂůůƚŚĞůŝƩůĞďŽdžĞƐŵĂĚĞŽƵƚŽĨƟĐŬLJƚĂĐŬLJƚŚĂƚůŽŽŬĞĚũƵƐƚƚŚĞƐĂŵĞ͘ 
ůĞdžďƵŝůƚĂŐĂŵŝŶŐĐŽŵƉƵƚĞƌĂŶĚďĞŐĂŶǁƌŝƟŶŐŚŝƐŽǁŶƉƌŽŐƌĂŵƐ͘,ĞůĞĂƌŶĞĚ,dD>ĂŶĚ:ĂǀĂ
and  was  obsessed  with  source  codes  and  algorithms.  He  became  a  specialist  in  behind-­‐the-­‐scenes  
ŵĞĐŚĂŶŝnjĂƟŽŶĂŶĚĞdžĞĐƵƚĞĚƚŚĞŵĂũŽƌƉĂƌƚŽĨŚŝƐǁŽƌŬǁŚĞŶĞǀĞƌLJŽŶĞǁĂƐĂƐůĞĞƉ͘,ĞŶĞǀĞƌ
ǁĞŶƚƚŽďĞĚďĞĨŽƌĞϰ͗ϬϬĂ͘ŵ͕͘ĂŶĚŚŝƐŵŽŽĚĚƵƌŝŶŐƚŚĞĚĂLJ͕ĞƐƉĞĐŝĂůůLJŝĨŚŝƐĨĂƚŚĞƌǁĂƐŚŽŵĞ͕ǁĂƐ
ƐƵƌůLJ͘tŚĞŶĞǀĞƌ/ůŽƐƚƉĂƟĞŶĐĞǁŝƚŚůĞdž͛ƐŝůůͲƚĞŵƉĞƌ͕ŚĞĂĐĐƵƐĞĚŵĞŽĨWD^͕ĂŶĞŶƌĂŐŝŶŐĂĐĐƵƐĂ-­‐
ƟŽŶƚŚĂƚŵĂĚĞŵĞǁŽƌƌLJŝĨ/͛ĚŵĂĚĞƚŚĞƌŝŐŚƚĚĞĐŝƐŝŽŶĂďŽƵƚŵĞĚŝĐĂƟŽŶ͘,ŽƌŵŽŶĂůůLJĂŶĚŝŶƚĞů-­‐
lectually,  Alex  accelerated  into  maturity.  The  gap  was  so  wide  between  him  and  homeschooled  
ĐŚŝůĚƌĞŶŚŝƐĂŐĞƚŚĂƚĂƚϭϭ͕ŚĞŐĂǀĞƵƉƉƌĞƚĞŶĚŝŶŐŚĞĐŽƵůĚƐŝƚŝŶƚŚĞƉƌŝǀĂƚĞůLJƚĂƵŐŚƚƐĐŝĞŶĐĞ
classes  with  other  boys  and  begged  me  to  enroll  him  at  the  University  of  Southern  Maine.  Too  
young  for  the  university’s  Early  Studies  program,  I  got  permission  for  Alex  to  take  classes  in  the  
ĐŽŵƉƵƚĞƌƐĐŝĞŶĐĞĚĞƉĂƌƚŵĞŶƚĂƐĂƉĂƌƚͲƟŵĞƐƚƵĚĞŶƚ͘ƌŝĐǁĞŶƚǁŝƚŚŚŝŵĨŽƌƚŚĞĮƌƐƚĨĞǁĚĂLJƐŽĨ
the  semester,  but  it  was  obvious  Alex  didn’t  want  him  there.  Now  shaving  daily,  Alex  seemed  to  
want  his  professors  and  new  teenage  friends  to  think  he  was  a  grownup  orphan.

Out of Synch >>> from The Good Men Project Magazine 

ůŽĐĂůŶĞǁƐƐƚĂƟŽŶĚŝƐĐŽǀĞƌĞĚƚŚĂƚůĞdžǁĂƐĂƩĞŶĚŝŶŐƚŚĞĐŽůůĞŐĞĂŶĚĐĂůůĞĚƚŽĚŽĂƐƚŽƌLJŽŶŚŝŵ͕
ĂŶĚƐŽŽŶĂǀŝĚĞŽĐƌĞǁǁĂƐĨŽůůŽǁŝŶŐŚŝŵƚŽĐůĂƐƐĞƐ͘&ŽƌƐĞǀĞƌĂůŵŽŶƚŚƐĂŌĞƌƚŚĞƐƉŽƚĂŝƌĞĚ͕ůĞdž
experienced  local  fame  as  strangers  shook  his  hand  and  congratulated  him  for  his  hard  work.  His  
professors  were  equally  impressed  with  his  intelligence  and  maturity.  Alex’s  future  was  brimming  
with  possibility.
tĞƌĞƚƵƌŶĞĚƚŽƚŚĞƉĞĚŝĂƚƌŝĐĞŶĚŽĐƌŝŶŽůŽŐŝƐƚĞǀĞƌLJƚŚƌĞĞŵŽŶƚŚƐ͘dŚĞǁƌŝƐƚyͲƌĂLJƐƐŚŽǁĞĚƚŚĂƚ 
ůĞdž͕ĂƚƚŚĞĐŚƌŽŶŽůŽŐŝĐĂůĂŐĞŽĨϭϭ͕ǁĂƐƚŚĞďŝŽůŽŐŝĐĂůĂŐĞŽĨϭϳ͘,ŝƐďŽŶĞƐŚĂĚĨƵƐĞĚ͘,ĞǁĂƐ
ϱͲĨŽŽƚͲϳ͕ŽŶĞŝŶĐŚƚĂůůĞƌƚŚĂŶŚŝƐĚŽĐƚŽƌ͘ƵƚƚŚĞũŽƵƌŶĞLJǁĂƐŽŶůLJŚĂůĨŽǀĞƌ͕ĂŶĚƚŚĞƌĞĂůďĂƩůĞĨŽƌ
Alex  was  just  beginning. 
ůĞdžǁĂŶƚĞĚĂŐŝƌůĨƌŝĞŶĚ͕ďƵƚŚĞǁĂƐŶ͛ƚŝŶƚĞƌĞƐƚĞĚŝŶĂŶLJŚŝƐĂŐĞ͘zŽƵŶŐŐŝƌůƐůŽŽŬĞĚůŝŬĞĐŚŝůĚƌĞŶƚŽ
Śŝŵ͘,ĞůƵƐƚĞĚĂŌĞƌƚŚĞĨĞǁĨĞŵĂůĞƐŝŶƚŚĞĐŽŵƉƵƚĞƌƐĐŝĞŶĐĞĚĞƉĂƌƚŵĞŶƚ͘tŚĞŶŽƚŚĞƌƉĂƌĞŶƚƐƚŽůĚ
ŵĞŚŽǁƚŚĞLJ͛ĚĨŽƌĐĞƚŚĞŝƌϭϯͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚƐŽīƚŚĞ/ŶƚĞƌŶĞƚĂƚϵƉ͘ŵ͘ĂŶĚƐĞŶĚƚŚĞŵƚŽďĞĚ͕/ĚŝĚŶ͛ƚƐĂLJ
ĂŶLJƚŚŝŶŐ͘dŚĞLJǁŽƵůĚŚĂǀĞďĞĞŶƐŚŽĐŬĞĚƚŽŬŶŽǁƚŚĂƚ/ĂůůŽǁĞĚŵLJƐŽŶĨƌĞĞĂĐĐĞƐƐƚŽƉŽƌŶ͘tĞ
ƐŚŽǁĞĚŽŶůLJĂƐŵĂůůƉŽƌƟŽŶŽĨŽƵƌŚŽŵĞƚŽĨƌŝĞŶĚƐ͘/ǁŽƌƌŝĞĚĂďŽƵƚĂůůƚŚĞƐĞĐƌĞƚƐ͘
“Do  you  want  a  therapist?”  I  asked  Alex.  “Do  you  need  a  therapist?”
͞EŽ͕͟ŚĞ͛ĚƐŶĂƌů͘͞/͛ŵũƵƐƚĮŶĞ͘͟
WŽƌŶŽŐƌĂƉŚLJĂŶĚƉƌŽŐƌĂŵŵŝŶŐůĂŶŐƵĂŐĞƐŽĐĐƵƉŝĞĚĂůůŽĨŚŝƐŶŝŐŚƚƐ͘tĞŬŶĞǁƚŚŝƐǁŝƚŚŽƵƚůĞdž
having  to  tell  us.  He  missed  classes  because  he  couldn’t  make  himself  get  up.  If  he  managed  to  go  
ƚŚƌŽƵŐŚƚŚĞŵŽƟŽŶƐ͕ŚĞǁĂƐĞdžƉůŽƐŝǀĞĂŶĚŽďŶŽdžŝŽƵƐ͘/ǁŽƌƌŝĞĚƚŚĂƚŚŝƐƐŝƐƚĞƌƚŽĚĚůŝŶŐĂƌŽƵŶĚƚŚĞ
ŚŽƵƐĞŵŝŐŚƚďĞĂīĞĐƚĞĚďLJŚŝƐĂŶŐĞƌ͘/ǁŽƌƌŝĞĚƚŚĂƚƐŚĞŵŝŐŚƚŐŽƚŚƌŽƵŐŚƉƵďĞƌƚLJƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐůLJ͕
too.

So  out  of  sync  with  his  age  
ĂŶĚŚŝƐĚĞƐŝƌĞƐ͕ĂƚϭϱŚĞ
ĨŽƵŶĚŚŝŵƐĞůĨĂϮϭͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚ
homeless  girl  on  Craigslist.   
ĞŵŽŶƐƚƌĂƟŶŐĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌĂďůĞŝŶŝƟĂƟǀĞ͕ŚĞƚŽŽŬƚŚĞďƵƐĂŶĚŵĞƚŚĞƌĂƚĂŚŝŶĞƐĞZĞƐƚĂƵƌĂŶƚŝŶWŽƌƚ-­‐
land.  He  bought  her  dinner  and,  because  he  was  so  desperate  for  a  female,  immediately  thought  he  
was  in  love  with  her.  Now  the  words  sex,  aggression,  and  rage  echoed  in  my  inner  ear  in  a  way  that  
I  could  process  them.  I  had  not  thought  my  9-­‐year-­‐old  capable  of  all  that  the  medical  professionals  
ƉƌŽƉŚĞƐŝĞĚ͕ďƵƚŶŽǁ/ĐŽƵůĚƐĞĞƚŚĂƚŵLJϭϱͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚǁĂƐĚŝīĞƌĞŶƚ͘

Out of Synch >>> from The Good Men Project Magazine

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15
Maybe  we  should  have  called  the  police  and  told  them  that  an  adult  was  
ŵŽůĞƐƟŶŐĂŵŝŶŽƌ͕ďƵƚǁŽƵůĚƚŚĂƚŚĂǀĞďĞĞŶƚŚĞƚƌƵƚŚ͍,ŽǁŽůĚǁĂƐůĞdž͕
ƌĞĂůůLJ͍ĞƐŝĚĞƐ͕ǁĞĚŝĚŶ͛ƚƚŚŝŶŬƚŚĞƌĞůĂƟŽŶƐŚŝƉǁŽƵůĚůĂƐƚůŽŶŐ͘^ŚĞĚŝĚŶ͛ƚ
ŚĂǀĞĂůŝĐĞŶƐĞŽƌĂŚŝŐŚƐĐŚŽŽůĚŝƉůŽŵĂ͘tŚĂƚŬŝŶĚŽĨϮϭͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚǁŽŵĂŶ
ǁĂŶƚƐƚŽĚĂƚĞĂϭϱͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚďŽLJ͍
tĞǁĞƌĞǁƌŽŶŐ͘ůĞdž͛ƐĚƌŝǀĞƚŽĞŶŐĂŐĞŝŶƐĞdžƵĂůĂĐƚƐŐĂǀĞŚŝŵĂƐƚĂŐŐĞƌŝŶŐƚŽůĞƌĂŶĐĞĨŽƌĂǁŽŵĂŶǁŚŽ
ĚŝĚŶ͛ƚƐŚĂƌĞĂŶLJŽĨŚŝƐŐŽĂůƐŽƌĐŽŵŵƵŶŝĐĂƚĞǁŝƚŚŚŝŵďĞLJŽŶĚŵƵŶĚĂŶĞĐŽŶǀĞƌƐĂƟŽŶ͘KƵƌƐƚƌĂƚĞŐLJǁĂƐ
ƚŽŚĂǀĞƚŚĞƚǁŽǁŚĞƌĞǁĞĐŽƵůĚƐĞĞƚŚĞŵ͘dŽĂǀŽŝĚůĞdžƌƵŶŶŝŶŐŽīƚŽWŽƌƚůĂŶĚĂŶĚŚĂǀŝŶŐƐĞdžǁŚŝůĞǁĞ
ƐůĞƉƚ͕ƌŝĐĂŶĚ/ĂůůŽǁĞĚƚŚĞLJŽƵŶŐǁŽŵĂŶƚŽƐƚĂLJĂƚŽƵƌŚŽƵƐĞ͕ĮƌŵůLJŝŶǀŽŬŝŶŐĂŶŽƐŵŽŬŝŶŐƌƵůĞ͘DƵů-­‐
ƟƚƵĚŝŶŽƵƐƌŽůůƐĞƐĐĂƉĞĚŚĞƌĨĂĚĞĚƐĐŽŽƉĞĚͲŶĞĐŬƚŽƉƐ͕ĂŶĚ/ƚŽŽŬŚĞƌƐŚŽƉƉŝŶŐĂŶĚďŽƵŐŚƚŚĞƌƐĞǀĞƌĂů
ŽƵƞŝƚƐ͕ĂďƌĂ͕ĂŶĚƐŚŽĞƐƚŚĂƚƐŚĞǁŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚŚĂǀĞƚŽďĞŶĚƚŽƟĞ͘dŚĞŶ/ĞŶĐŽƵƌĂŐĞĚŚĞƌƚŽĂƉƉůLJĨŽƌũŽďƐ
ĂŶĚĐŚĂƵīĞƵƌĞĚŚĞƌƚŽŐƌŽĐĞƌLJĂŶĚĐůŽƚŚŝŶŐƐƚŽƌĞƐƚŽĮůůŽƵƚĂƉƉůŝĐĂƟŽŶƐ͘/ŵĞƚǁŝƚŚŚĞƌŵŽƚŚĞƌ͕ǁŚŽ
lived  in  a  low-­‐income  housing  complex  and  survived  on  food  stamps  and  government  supplements.  She  
begrudgingly  agreed  to  let  her  daughter  move  back  home.
Driven  by  testosterone  and  sexual  fantasy,  Alex  wanted  to  spend  every  second  he  could  with  his  girl-­‐
ĨƌŝĞŶĚ͘ƌŝĐĂŶĚ/ĂƌŐƵĞĚǁŝƚŚůĞdžĐŽŶƐƚĂŶƚůLJĂďŽƵƚƚŚĞƌĞůĂƟŽŶƐŚŝƉ͕ƵƐƵĂůůLJĞŶĚŝŶŐǁŝƚŚŚŝŵƐůĂŵŵŝŶŐ
ĂŶĚůŽĐŬŝŶŐŚŝƐďĞĚƌŽŽŵĚŽŽƌ͘dǁŽŵŽŶƚŚƐŝŶƚŽƚŚĞƌĞůĂƟŽŶƐŚŝƉ͕ƐŚĞŐĂǀĞŚŝŵŚĞĂĚůŝĐĞ͘ůĞdžƌĞĨƵƐĞĚƚŽ
ĐƵƚŚŝƐƌůŽ'ƵƚŚƌŝĞŚĂŝƌĂŶĚǁĂƐĐĂƌĞůĞƐƐǁŝƚŚƚŚĞƚƌĞĂƚŵĞŶƚ͘tŚĞŶ/ƚŽůĚŚŝŵƚŚĂƚŚŝƐŐŝƌůĨƌŝĞŶĚĐŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚ
ĐŽŵĞƚŽŽƵƌŚŽƵƐĞƵŶƟůŚĞƌůŝĐĞǁĂƐŐŽŶĞ͕ŚĞƉŽƵŶĚĞĚŚŝƐĮƐƚƐĂŐĂŝŶƐƚƚŚĞǁĂůů͕ĐƌĂĐŬŝŶŐƚŚĞǁŽŽĚŽĨŵLJ
ďĞĚƌŽŽŵĚŽŽƌ͘dŚĞŶŚĞůĞŌŽŶĨŽŽƚĂŶĚŚĞĂĚĞĚŝŶƚŽWŽƌƚůĂŶĚ͕ƌĞƚƵƌŶŝŶŐǁŝƚŚƐƚŽƌŝĞƐŽĨĞdžƉůŽŝƚƐƚŚĂƚǁĞƌĞ
ƚŽŽŽƵƚƌĂŐĞŽƵƐĨŽƌƵƐƚŽďĞůŝĞǀĞ͘tĞŬŶĞǁŚĞ͛ĚƐƉĞŶƚƚŚĞĚĂLJŚĂǀŝŶŐƐĞdž͘
KǀĞƌƚŚĞŶĞdžƚĨĞǁŵŽŶƚŚƐ͕ĞĂĐŚƟŵĞǁĞƚƌŝĞĚƚŽĞdžƉůĂŝŶƚŽůĞdžƚŚĂƚŚĞŵŝŐŚƚŚĂǀĞĐŚŽƐĞŶŚŝƐĮƌƐƚŐŝƌů-­‐
ĨƌŝĞŶĚƉŽŽƌůLJ͕ŚĞĐĂůůĞĚƵƐĞůŝƟƐƚĂŶĚƚŚƌĞĂƚĞŶĞĚƵƐǁŝƚŚƚŚĞůŽƐƐŽĨŚŝƐĮůŝĂůůŽǀĞ͘tŚĞŶŚĞƌĞĂůŝnjĞĚƚŚĂƚ
ŚŝƐŝŶƐƵůƚƐŶŽůŽŶŐĞƌŚĂĚƚŚĞĚĞƐŝƌĞĚĞīĞĐƚ͕ŚĞďĞĐĂŵĞƉŚLJƐŝĐĂů͕ƐŚŽǀŝŶŐŵĞĂŐĂŝŶƐƚƚŚĞǁĂůů͕ŚŝƐĨĂĐĞ
ŝŶĐŚĞƐĨƌŽŵŵŝŶĞ͘͞zŽƵ͛ƌĞƚŚĞǁŽƌƐƚŵŽƚŚĞƌĞǀĞƌ͊͟ŚĞŚŝƐƐĞĚƚŚƌŽƵŐŚĐůĞŶĐŚĞĚƚĞĞƚŚ͕ůĞĂŶŝŶŐŚŝƐǁĞŝŐŚƚ
into  me.  “I  can  marry  whoever  I  want.  I  don’t  need  your  permission.”  He  pushed  harder,  desperate  to  
ŝŶƟŵŝĚĂƚĞŵĞ͘,ĞŶŽůŽŶŐĞƌůŽŽŬĞĚĐƵƚĞĂŶĚĐƵĚĚůLJ͘͞ŶLJũƵĚŐĞǁŽƵůĚĞŵĂŶĐŝƉĂƚĞŵĞ͘͟ 
ůƚŚŽƵŐŚ/ŬŶĞǁŚŝƐďŝŽůŽŐŝĐĂůĂŐĞǁĂƐϭϴ͕ŚŝƐƐƚƌĞŶŐƚŚƐƵƌƉƌŝƐĞĚŵĞ͘/ĚŝĚŶ͛ƚĨĂůƚĞƌďƵƚLJĞůůĞĚƌŝŐŚƚďĂĐŬ
in  his  face,  remembering  the  advice  of  a  dog  trainer.  “Right  now  you’re  the  worst  son  ever,  and  if  you  
ǁĂŶƚƚŽůĞĂǀĞ͕ůĞĂǀĞ͕͟/ƚŽůĚŚŝŵ͘,ŝƐĨĂĐĞƚǁŝƐƚĞĚǁŝƚŚĞŵŽƟŽŶ͘͞/ĐĂŶ͛ƚďĞĂƌŽƵŶĚLJŽƵĂŶLJŵŽƌĞ͕͟ŚĞ
ƐŚŽƵƚĞĚĂƐŚĞƐƚŽŵƉĞĚĂǁĂLJ͘͞/ũƵƐƚŚĂƚĞLJŽƵƐŽŵƵĐŚ͊͟
^ĞǀĞƌĂůĚĂLJƐůĂƚĞƌ͕ůĞdžƌƵƐŚĞĚĂƚŚŝƐĚĂĚƐŚŽƵůĚĞƌĮƌƐƚ͘/ǁĂƐŶ͛ƚŝŶƚŚĞŬŝƚĐŚĞŶǁŚĞƌĞŝƚŚĂƉƉĞŶĞĚ͕ďƵƚ
ƚŚĞŶŽŝƐĞƌĞǀĞƌďĞƌĂƚĞĚƚŚƌŽƵŐŚƚŚĞŚŽƵƐĞ͛ƐĐŽƌĞƵƉƚŚĞƐƚĂŝƌƐƚŽǁŚĞƌĞ/ǁĂƐǁĂƚĐŚŝŶŐdŚĞ>ŝƩůĞDĞƌ-­‐
ŵĂŝĚǁŝƚŚůĞdž͛ƐƐŝƐƚĞƌ͘/ŚĞĂƌĚ͕͞dŚŝƐďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌŝƐƵŶĂĐĐĞƉƚĂďůĞ͘zŽƵǁŝůůŶŽƚƚƌĞĂƚƵƐƚŚŝƐǁĂLJ͘͟dŚĞƐĐƵŋĞ
ended  with  Alex  running  out  of  the  house  in  tears  and  Eric  driving  himself  to  the  emergency  room  with  a  
ďƌŽŬĞŶƌŝď͘EĞǀĞƌƵŶĚĞƌĞƐƟŵĂƚĞƚŚĞƉŽǁĞƌŽĨƚĞƐƚŽƐƚĞƌŽŶĞ͘dŚĞƌĞĐŽƵůĚďĞƐĞƌŝŽƵƐĐŽŶƐĞƋƵĞŶĐĞƐ͘
^ƵĚĚĞŶůLJ͕ƚŚĞƌĂƉLJĚŝĚŶ͛ƚƐĞĞŵůŝŬĞĂŶŽƉƟŽŶďƵƚĂŶĞĐĞƐƐŝƚLJ͘dŚĞƌĞǁĂƐŶŽĚŽƵďƚͶǁĞǁĞǁĞƌĞŝŶĂďŝŐ
ĐŽŵƉůŝĐĂƚĞĚĞŵďĂƌƌĂƐƐŝŶŐŵĞƐƐƚŚĂƚĐŽƵůĚĂīĞĐƚůĞdž͛ƐǁŚŽůĞůŝĨĞ͘ŶĚŽƵƌƐ͘/ŚŽƉĞĚǁĞǁĞƌĞŶ͛ƚŐŽŝŶŐƚŽ

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ŚĂǀĞƚŽĐƵƚŽīĂŶLJƚŚŝŶŐŽĨůĞdž͛ƐƚŽŚĞůƉŚŝŵĐŽŵƉůĞƚĞŚŝƐũŽƵƌŶĞLJƚŚƌŽƵŐŚĐŚŝůĚŚŽŽĚ͘
I  began  calling  therapists,  but  most  were  reluctant  to  work  with  Alex.  They  didn’t  know  enough  about  
ƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJŽƌŝƚƐĨĂŵŝůLJĚLJŶĂŵŝĐƐ͘ŌĞƌƐĞǀĞƌĂůǁĞĞŬƐ͕/ůŽĐĂƚĞĚĂŵĂŶǁŚŽƌĞůƵĐƚĂŶƚůLJĂŐƌĞĞĚƚŽ
meet  with  us.  I  made  it  clear  that  the  therapy  was  for  Alex,  that  I  wanted  a  safe  place  for  him  to  discuss  
ŚŝƐŝƐƐƵĞƐ͘/ǁĂŶƚĞĚƚŽďĞŝŶĐůƵĚĞĚĂƐůŝƩůĞĂƐƉŽƐƐŝďůĞ͕ďƵƚŚĞŝŶƐŝƐƚĞĚƚŚĂƚǁĞĂůůĐŽŵĞƚŽƚŚĞĮƌƐƚƐĞƐ-­‐
sion. 
ŌĞƌůŝƐƚĞŶŝŶŐƚŽƵƐƚĂůŬĨŽƌƚŚŝƌƚLJŵŝŶƵƚĞƐĂŶĚĞdžƉƌĞƐƐŝŶŐĚŝƐĂƉƉƌŽǀĂůƚŚĂƚǁĞ͛ĚĂůůŽǁĞĚůĞdžƵŶƐƵƉĞƌ-­‐
ǀŝƐĞĚ/ŶƚĞƌŶĞƚƐƵƌĮŶŐ͕ƚŚĞƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚƉŽƐŝƟŽŶĞĚŚŝŵƐĞůĨƚŽůŽŽŬĚŝƌĞĐƚůLJĂƚůĞdž͕ǁŚŽƐĂƚĂƚƚŚĞĞŶĚŽĨ
the  couch—as  far  away  from  us  as  possible.  “Are  you  afraid  of  your  father?”  he  asked  our  son,  his  hands  
clasped  over  his  rotund  stomach  like  a  suspension  bridge.  “Do  you  feel  that  you  need  to  defend  yourself  
because  your  life  is  in  danger?” 
ůĞdžƐĂǁĂǁĂLJƚŽƌĞŵŽǀĞŚŝŵƐĞůĨĨƌŽŵĂůůƌĞƐƉŽŶƐŝďŝůŝƚLJĂŶĚƚŽŽŬŝƚ͘͞zĞƐ͕/͛ŵƚĞƌƌŝĮĞĚŽĨĚĂĚ͘͟
dĞƌƌŝĮĞĚŽĨĚĂĚ͍tĞǁĞƌĞĚƵŵďĨŽƵŶĚĞĚ͘ƌŝĐŝƐĂƉĂƟĞŶƚĂŶĚƉůĂĐŝĚƉĞƌƐŽŶ͕ďƵƚƚŚĞƚƌƵƚŚĂƉƉĂƌĞŶƚůLJ
ĚŝĚŶ͛ƚŵĂƩĞƌ͘͞zŽƵĚŽŶ͛ƚŚĂǀĞƚŽŐŽŚŽŵĞ͕͟ŚĞƚŽůĚůĞdž͘͞dŚĞƌĞĂƌĞŽƚŚĞƌŽƉƟŽŶƐ͘͟ůĞdžƚŽŽŬƚŚĞƚŚĞƌĂ-­‐
ƉŝƐƚĂƚŚŝƐǁŽƌĚĂŶĚǁĂůŬĞĚŽƵƚŽĨƚŚĞŽĸĐĞƚŽŐŽůŝǀĞǁŝƚŚŚŝƐŐŝƌůĨƌŝĞŶĚ͘,ĞǁĂƐϭϱ͘/ƌĞƉŽƌƚĞĚƚŚĞŝŶĐŝ-­‐
dent  and  the  therapist  to  the  Department  of  Human  Services  and  called  the  police,  who  monitored  Alex  
ĨƌŽŵƚŚĞĚŝƐƚĂŶĐĞ͘dǁŽͲĂŶĚͲĂͲŚĂůĨĚŝĸĐƵůƚĚĂLJƐƉĂƐƐĞĚďĞĨŽƌĞůĞdžƌĞƚƵƌŶĞĚŚŽŵĞ͕ŚŝƐďŽĚLJůĂŶŐƵĂŐĞ
meek  and  his  words—to  me,  at  least—repentant.  He  barely  spoke  to  his  father. 
ƌŝĐƐĂŝĚŶŽŵŽƌĞƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚƐ͕ďƵƚ/ŝŶƐŝƐƚĞĚƚŚĂƚůĞdžŶĞĞĚĞĚĂƚƌĂŝŶĞĚĂĚƵůƚĐŽŶĮĚĂŶƚĞ͘dŚĞŶĞdžƚƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚ
ǁĂƐĂŚŝƉƉŝĞǁŚŽ͕ĂŌĞƌŵĞĞƟŶŐǁŝƚŚƵƐĂƐĂĨĂŵŝůLJ͕ƚƵƌŶĞĚƚŽůĞdžĂŶĚƚŽůĚŚŝŵŚĞůŝǀĞĚŝŶĂƚĞĞŶĂŐĞ
ŶŝƌǀĂŶĂ͘tŚĂƚĐŽƵůĚƉŽƐƐŝďůLJďĞƚŚĞƉƌŽďůĞŵ͕ŚĞĂƐŬĞĚŚŝŵ͍WĞƌŚĂƉƐŽƵƚŽĨŝŶƚĞůůĞĐƚƵĂůĐƵƌŝŽƐŝƚLJ;ŽƌĂ
ŶĞĞĚƚŽƉƌŽǀĞŵĞǁƌŽŶŐͿ͕ůĞdžĐŽŶƟŶƵĞĚƐĞĞŝŶŐƚŚĞƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚĨŽƌĂĨĞǁŵŽŶƚŚƐďĞĨŽƌĞƋƵŝƫŶŐďĞĐĂƵƐĞ
he  thought  the  therapist  might  be  “crazy.”
/ǁĂƐǁĂŝƟŶŐŝŶƚŚĞƉĂƌŬŝŶŐůŽƚŽĨƚŚĞƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚ͛ƐŽĸĐĞŽŶĞĂŌĞƌŶŽŽŶǁŚĞŶůĞdžŽƉĞŶĞĚƚŚĞĐĂƌĚŽŽƌ
and  slid  into  the  passenger  seat.  It  was  January,  and  the  wind  blew  hard  into  me.  Alex  picked  up  the  
^ŶĂƉƉůĞŚĞ͛ĚůĞŌŝŶƚŚĞĐĂƌĂŶĚĚƌĂŶŬďĞĨŽƌĞƐƉĞĂŬŝŶŐ͘͞tĞƐŝƚƚŚĞƌĞ͕ĂŶĚŚĞǁĂŶƚƐŵĞƚŽĐůŽƐĞŵLJĞLJĞƐ
and  balance  my  shakras,”  he  told  me.  “ That’s  what  we  did  for  thirty  minutes,  sit  with  our  eyes  closed.”   
ǀĞŶĂƐ/ƋƵĞƐƟŽŶĞĚŝĨůĞdžǁĂƐƚĞůůŝŶŐƚŚĞƚƌƵƚŚ͕/ĐŽƵůĚĨĞĞůŵLJƐĞůĨŐĞƚĂŶŐƌLJƚŚĂƚƚŚĞƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚĐŚĂƌŐĞĚ
ΨϭϬϬĂŶŚŽƵƌƚŽƐŝƚŝŶƐŝůĞŶĐĞ͘
͞ŶĚŐĞƚƚŚŝƐ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕ƉĂƵƐŝŶŐĨŽƌĞīĞĐƚĂŶĚďĂůĂŶĐŝŶŐƚŚĞďŽƩůĞŽŶŚŝƐŬŶĞĞ͘͞zŽƵ͛ůůďĞŚĂƉƉLJƚŽŬŶŽǁ
LJŽƵ͛ƌĞƉĂLJŝŶŐĂŐƵLJƚŽƚĞůůŵĞŝƚ͛ƐŚĞĂůƚŚLJƚŽŚĂǀĞƐĞdžǁŝƚŚĂůŽƚŽĨǁŽŵĞŶďĞĨŽƌĞĐŽŵŵŝƫŶŐƚŽŽŶĞƉĞƌ-­‐
ƐŽŶ͕ƚŚĂƚ/ƐŚŽƵůĚƐƚĂƌƚŝŶŝƟĂƟŶŐŶĞǁƌĞůĂƟŽŶƐŚŝƉƐŝŵŵĞĚŝĂƚĞůLJ͘͟
zŽƵŵŝŐŚƚǁĂŶƚƚŽĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌƚŚĞƌĂƉŝƐƚƐ͘tĞŚĂĚ͘tĞǁŽƵůĚŶ͛ƚĂŐĂŝŶ͘dŚĞƌĞĂƌĞĂůŽƚŽĨƐĐƌĞǁĞĚƵƉƉĞŽƉůĞ
out  there.  Many  of  them  are  therapists. 
ůĞdžǁĂƐŶĞĂƌŝŶŐϭϳ͕ĂƐŽƉŚŽŵŽƌĞŝŶĐŽůůĞŐĞ͘,ŝƐƚĞƐƚŽƐƚĞƌŽŶĞůĞǀĞůƐǁĞƌĞǁĂŶŝŶŐƚŽƚŚĂƚŽĨĂŵĂŶŝŶ
ŚŝƐĞĂƌůLJƚǁĞŶƟĞƐ͕ǁĞůůŽŶŚŝƐĚŽǁŶǁĂƌĚũŽƵƌŶĞLJĨƌŽŵŚŝƐƐĞdžƵĂůƉĞĂŬ͘,ĞŚĂĚƌĞĂĐŚĞĚĂƉůĂĐĞŝŶŚŝƐůŝĨĞ
ǁŚĞƌĞŚĞĐŽƵůĚŽŶĐĞĂŐĂŝŶƚŚŝŶŬ͕ĚĞďĂƚĞ͕ĂŶĚƉůĂŶ͘,ĞǁĂƐƌĂƟŽŶĂů͕ĂŶĚŚĞǁĂŶƚĞĚƚŽůŝǀĞŽŶŚŝƐŽǁŶĨŽƌ
ĂĨĞǁLJĞĂƌƐďĞĨŽƌĞŚĞůĞŌƚŚĞƐƚĂƚĞĨŽƌŐƌĂĚƐĐŚŽŽů͘ůĞdž͛ƐŚŽŵĞůĞƐƐŐŝƌůĨƌŝĞŶĚǁĂƐůŽŶŐŐŽŶĞ͘,ĞŚĂĚŚŝƐ

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ĞLJĞŽŶƐĞǀĞƌĂůŽůĚĞƌǁŽŵĞŶ͕ďƵƚƌŝĐĂŶĚ/ǁĞƌĞŶ͛ƚǁŽƌƌŝĞĚ͘ůƚŚŽƵŐŚŽƚŚĞƌƉĂƌĞŶƚƐƋƵĞƐƟŽŶĞĚŽƵƌ
decision,  arguing  that  he  was  too  young,  we  supported  Alex’s  need  to  live  in  Portland—away  from  us.  
͞zŽƵŬŶŽǁ͕ŵŽŵ͕ŵŽƐƚƚĞĞŶĂŐĞƌƐĂƌĞŽŶĚƌƵŐƐĂŶĚƌĞĂůůLJŵĞƐƐĞĚƵƉ͕͟ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͘͞/ĐŽƵůĚŐĞƚƉŽƚĂŶĚ
ĂůĐŽŚŽůǁŝƚŚŽƵƚƚƌLJŝŶŐĂŶĚ/ĚŽŶ͛ƚ͘͟,ĞŚƵŐŐĞĚŵĞ͘͞zŽƵ͛ǀĞƌĞĂůůLJŐŽƚŝƚƋƵŝƚĞĞĂƐLJ͕ĐŽŶƐŝĚĞƌŝŶŐ͘͟
tĞŐĂǀĞůĞdžĂĐĂƌ͕ĂŶĚŚĞŵŽǀĞĚŽƵƚĨŽƌƐĞǀĞƌĂůŵŽŶƚŚƐďƵƚƌĞƚƵƌŶĞĚƌĞŐƵůĂƌůLJĨŽƌĨŽŽĚĂŶĚ 
ĐŽŶǀĞƌƐĂƟŽŶ͘ƚϭϴŚĞďĞŐĂŶĚĂƟŶŐĂŶŽƚŚĞƌϮϭͲLJĞĂƌͲŽůĚ͕<ĂƟĞ͘dŚĞŐĂƉǁĂƐĐůŽƐŝŶŐ͘<ĂƟĞĞŶũŽLJĞĚ
ŚŝŬŝŶŐ͕LJŽŐĂ͕ŵŽƵŶƚĂŝŶĐůŝŵďŝŶŐ͕ĂŶĚǀŝĚĞŽŐĂŵĞƐ͕ĂŶĚƐŚĞǁĂƐƚŚĞĮƌƐƚŐŝƌůƚŽƚĞůůŵĞƚŚĂƚůĞdž͛Ɛ
ĐŚƌŽŶŽůŽŐŝĐĂůĂŐĞŵĂĚĞŚĞƌƵŶĐŽŵĨŽƌƚĂďůĞ͘ĐŽůůĞŐĞƐƚƵĚĞŶƚŝŶĂĮǀĞͲLJĞĂƌŵĂƚŚĞĚƵĐĂƟŽŶƉƌŽŐƌĂŵ͕
she  preferred  her  boyfriends  older  but  was  content  that  Alex  looked  the  part  with  his  full  beard  and  
ĂĚƵůƚƉŚLJƐŝƋƵĞ͘/ŶĂĚĚŝƟŽŶ͕ůĞdžǁŽƵůĚŐƌĂĚƵĂƚĞǁŝƚŚŚŝƐĚĞŐƌĞĞŝŶĐŽŵƉƵƚĞƌƐĐŝĞŶĐĞĂƚϭϵ͕ƐĞǀĞƌĂů
LJĞĂƌƐďĞĨŽƌĞƐŚĞĮŶŝƐŚĞĚŚĞƌŽǁŶƉƌŽŐƌĂŵ͘
Alex  stood  in  the  kitchen  as  I  experimented  with  a  new  eggless  veggie  burger  recipe.  He  talked  as  he  
dipped  chips  into  salsa.  A  strict  vegan,  Alex  had  just  apprised  me  of  new  research  on  latent
carcinogens  in  poultry  as  well  as  the  news  that  he  was  to  receive  the  award  for  the  university’s
KƵƚƐƚĂŶĚŝŶŐŽŵƉƵƚĞƌ^ĐŝĞŶĐĞ^ƚƵĚĞŶƚŽĨϮϬϭϬ͘,ŽůĚŝŶŐĂĐŽƌŶĐŚŝƉŵŝĚǁĂLJƚŽŚŝƐŵŽƵƚŚ͕ŚĞƐĂŝĚ͕
“I  appreciate  all  that  you  do  for  me.  I  know  I  couldn’t  have  come  this  far  without  you.”
DĂLJďĞůĞdžǁĂƐƌĞĨĞƌƌŝŶŐƚŽŵLJƐƵƉƉŽƌƚŽĨǀĞŐĂŶŝƐŵ͕ŚŝƐĂǁĂƌĚ͕ŽƌŚŝƐŚŽŵĞƐĐŚŽŽůŝŶŐ͘ƵƚŚĞŵŝŐŚƚ
have  also  been  referring  to  his  passage  through  precocious  puberty  and  the  anger  and  confusion  that  
we’d  all  endured  because  of  it.  I’d  heard  enough  stories  about  other  teenagers  to  know  that  the
ďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌĂůƉƌŽďůĞŵƐĐŽƵůĚŚĂǀĞďĞĞŶŵƵĐŚǁŽƌƐĞ͘tĞŵŝŐŚƚŚĂǀĞŵĂĚĞŝƚĂůůƚŚĞǁĂLJƚŽDŽƵŶƚ
Doom,  but  we’d  made  it  out  safely  without  losing  an  appendage.  Or  ourselves.
Alex  had  changed.  His  hair,  receding  slightly,  was  short  and  wavy,  his  arms  were  muscled  and  strong,  
and  he  no  longer  played  Sonic  the  Hedgehog  or  Zelda,  having  long  defeated  Dr.  Robotnik  and  saved  
ƚŚĞƚǁŝůŝŐŚƚƉƌŝŶĐĞƐƐ͘,ĞƉůĂLJĞĚtĂƌĐƌĂŌ///ĂŶĚŐĂŵĞƐŚĞǁƌŽƚĞŚŝŵƐĞůĨ͕ďƵƚŚĞƐƟůůŚĂĚƚŚĂƚŝŵƉŝƐŚ
ŐƌŝŶ͘KŌĞŶŚĞƌĞĂĚƚŽŵĞ͕ůŽŶŐĞdžĐĞƌƉƚƐĨƌŽŵů&ƌĂŶŬĞŶĂŶĚZŝĐŚĂƌĚ&ĞLJŶŵĂŶŬƐ͘,ĞǁĂƐƐƟůů
out  of  sync  with  his  peers,  teaching  labs  for  the  University  of  Southern  Maine,  tutoring  daily,  and  
ŐƌĂĚŝŶŐĨŽƌŵƵůƟƉůĞƉƌŽĨĞƐƐŽƌƐ͕ďƵƚƉƌĞĐŽĐŝŽƵƐƉƵďĞƌƚLJĂŶĚŝƚƐĞīĞĐƚƐŽŶŚŝƐůŝĨĞǁĞƌĞǁĂŶŝŶŐ͘>ŝŬĞ
&ƌŽĚŽ͕ůĞdžŚĂĚĞŵŽƟŽŶĂůƐĐĂƌƐĂŶĚŵĂŶLJƌĞŐƌĞƚƐ͘ƵƚŚĞŚĂĚƐƵƌǀŝǀĞĚ͕ĂŶĚ͕ƵŶůŝŬĞdŽůŬŝĞŶ͛ƐŵLJƚŚŝĐĂů
Middle  Earth  hero,  Alex’s  journey  was  real—and  his  story  goes  on. 

ďŽƵƚ,ĞůĞŶWĞƉƉĞ
Helen  Peppe  is  a  writer  and  photographer  
ǁŚŽƐĞǁŽƌŬŚĂƐĂƉƉĞĂƌĞĚŝŶĂƌƟƐƟĐ͕
ůŝƚĞƌĂƌLJ͕ĐŽŵŵĞƌĐŝĂů͕ĂŶĚĞĚƵĐĂƟŽŶĂů
ƉƵďůŝĐĂƟŽŶƐĂƌŽƵŶĚƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚ͘ƐƚƵĚĞŶƚ
in  the  University  of  Southern  Maine’s  
^ƚŽŶĞĐŽĂƐƚtƌŝƟŶŐD͘&͘͘ƉƌŽŐƌĂŵ͕ƐŚĞ
ůŝǀĞƐǁŝƚŚŚĞƌĨĂŵŝůLJŝŶtĞƐƚďƌŽŽŬ͕DĂŝŶĞ͘

18

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dŚŝƐĂƌƟĐůĞĮƌƐƚĂƉƉĞĂƌĞĚŝŶ
The  Good  Men  Project  Magazine.  
ŚƩƉ͗ͬͬ'ŽŽĚDĞŶWƌŽũĞĐƚ͘ĐŽŵ

tĞůĂƵŶĐŚĞĚThe  Good  Men  Project  Magazine:ƵŶĞϭ͕ϮϬϭϬ͕ĐŽŶĮĚĞŶƚƚŚĂƚƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚŶĞĞĚĞĚĂŶĞǁŬŝŶĚŽĨ
ŵĞŶ͛ƐŽŶůŝŶĞƉƵďůŝĐĂƟŽŶͶŽŶĞƚŚĂƚĚĂƌĞƐƚĂůŬĂďŽƵƚ͞ƚŚĞŝŶŶĞƌůŝǀĞƐ͟ŽĨŵĞŶ͘tŚĂƚŵĂŬĞƐƵƐĚŝīĞƌĞŶƚ͍tĞ
ƚĂůŬĂďŽƵƚƐĞdžǁŝƚŚŽƵƚ͞ƐĞůůŝŶŐƐĞdž͘͟tĞƉƵďůŝƐŚdaddy  bloggers,  Army  Lieutenants,  and  a  transgender  FTM  
who  wants  desperately  to  be  a  good  man͘tĞĐĞůĞďƌĂƚĞwomen;ǁŚŝĐŚŵĂLJďĞǁŚLJǁĞ͛ǀĞďĞĞŶƐŽƉŽƉƵůĂƌ
with  them),  and  we  publish  women͘tĞƚĂůŬĂďŽƵƚfathers  and  sons  ǁŝƚŚŽƵƚƌĞƐŽƌƟŶŐƚŽpredictable  clichés.  
tĞƉƵďůŝƐŚĐŽŵƉĞůůŝŶŐĨĞĂƚƵƌĞƐĂďŽƵƚteen  suicide,  ĂĚĚŝĐƟŽŶ͕  and  the  death  penalty.  And  we  tackle  the  bad-­‐
man  hype  ƚŚĂƚƐĞĞŵƐƚŽďĞĞǀĞƌLJǁŚĞƌĞƚŚĞƐĞĚĂLJƐ͘;tĞĂůƐŽlaugh.ůŽƚ͘ĞĐĂƵƐĞmen  are  funny  creatures  
ǁŚŽĂĐĐŝĚĞŶƚĂůůLJƐĞƚƚŚĞŝƌŐŝƌůĨƌŝĞŶĚ͛ƐŚĂŝƌŽŶĮƌĞ͘)
Can  a  men’s  magazine  that  takes  men’s  issues  seriously  prosper?  Do  men  want  to  read  about  what  it  means  
ƚŽďĞĂŐŽŽĚŵĂŶ͍tĞ͛ƌĞbanking  on  it.  And  then  banking  on  it  some  more.
tĞŚŽƉĞLJŽƵ͛ůůĐŚĞĐŬƵƐŽƵƚ͘

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