Friday, May 20, 2005

Milk Hormones

Gerald and I are conversing by the coffee station at the start of shift.

“My friend’s daughter’s ten and she’s already menstruating,” he says.

“Ten?” I gasp in surprise, “isn’t that a little early?”

“Unbelievable ain’t it?”

“Man, girls are hitting puberty younger and younger,” I say shaking my head. “When I was a kid girls didn’t start till twelve or thirteen.”

“I read somewhere that all the hormones injected into meat and dairy products have something to do with it,” Gerald replies.

“Ten is too young.”

“They think that in twenty years the onset of menstruation could be around six years old.”

My stomach turns. Children should be allowed to be children. What’s this world coming to?

“And you know some six year old will get pregnant.” I say sadly. “When I worked in health care I saw girls knocked up at twelve.”

“Boggles the mind,” Gerald says dryly.

“At least when I have daughters there’ll be some microchip technology so I can track them,” I say.

“You hope.”

“The second some boy tries something the chip calls my cell phone and delivers him a 10,000 volt shock,” I fantasize.

Think I’m twisted? Talk to any guy who has daughters. They’d install one in a second.

“Good thing they didn’t have that back when you were a teenager,” Gerald laughs.

“Yeah,” I say ruefully, “but back then the girls were teenagers too.”


Mercifully the door chimes, ending our conversation. I walk up to the hostess stand.

Waiting in the entrance is one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.

“Hi,’ she says brightly, “Are you looking to hire a hostess?”

Sometimes a girl is so lovely a guy becomes stupid.

“I certainly hope so,” I reply.

The girl smiles winsomely. A trim brunette, dressed in a professional but sexy outfit, she has a face that could launch a thousand ships. She looks to be about twenty two.

I realize that I’m staring.

“Let me get you an application,” I say yanking myself out of my reverie.


I leave the girl to fill out the paperwork and grab some more coffee.

“Wow!” I say refilling my cup, “She’s cute.”

“Si, si muy bonita,” Maria, the busgirl, says smiling. She knows I’m a happy guy.

Cup in hand, I waltz back over to the hostess stand to see if the girl needs any help.

“All done,” the girl says handing me the form.

“That was fast,” I say looking over the application.

“I’m seventeen. Is that going to be a problem?” the girl asks.

Suddenly I feel some kind of internal portcullis come crashing down.

“You’re how old?” I ask.

“Seventeen. I just graduated high school.”

“High school?” I blurt.

“I’m worried I can’t work in a place that serves liquor until I’m eighteen.”

I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. Seventeen? I was TWENTY when this girl was born.

My face betraying nothing I say, “If you’re only a hostess it’s ok. You just can’t serve alcohol.”

“Oh good,” the girl replies.

We chat a few minutes. She’s looking for a small job before she starts UConn in the fall. I tell her the owner will call her if he has something available.

He won’t. She’s too young for the rough and tumble of our bistro. It would be cruel.

The girl thanks me and departs. Normally I cast an appreciative look when a beautiful woman walks out the door.

Not today.

She’s seventeen for Christ’s sake.

Walking dejectedly back into the kitchen I announce,

“That girl was only seventeen!”

“Really?” Gerald says surprised.


“Must be the hormones in the milk,” he observes.

“Hey - you a dirty old man or what?” Maria adds laughing.

I slowly beat my head against the wall. “Seventeen, seventeen,” I groan.

“I hope her Dad had her microchiped,” Gerald quips.

“Thank a lot New Guy,” I reply.

I just turned thirty seven. I feel old. It’s a sensation I’m experiencing more and more.

Something tells me it’s only going to get worse.

Just go to any High School these days, and guaranteed you'll find the majority of girls are like that these days...
Wow, that's scary and oh so true. At my playgroup, a girl of six started growing leg, underarm hair, and sprouting breasts. At SIX years old! Her parents have her on Lupron, an drug that helps postpone the development. How truly scary this all is. My daughters are 5 and 3 and I hope they don't develop before their teenage years. Yes, kids need to be kids for as long as possible. The sad thing is they keep saying "When I grow up I'm gonna be...." and I shake my head and mutter under my breath "Enjoy your chance to be a kid!"
I feel your pain Waiter - I just turned 37 myself and am faced with that "old" sensation daily. Pretty soon we will be the ones talking about walking to school, uphill, both ways. Carry on!
FYI. 37 was awesome and feels very young right now... it's all perception, boys. And, maybe good meds. That is, if you can afford healthcare.
hello, i'm a random reader. some of the early development is hormones and whatnot, sometimes its a hormonal disorder...but in a lot of cases it starts early because today's nutrition is better. years ago it took til 12 or 13 because the body needed that long to get itself in order. with better vitamin and fat intake, the body decides that as soon as it's capable of supporting a fetus, it should try.
I just want to tell you that I love your blog! I'm a waitress, so I understand what you go through every shift. It's awesome that you make something positive out of it. I tried to start a blog called "waitressing is bad for your mental health", but it ended up being one long, monotonous rant about how I hate my job and I'm stressed out...But you- you have talent!
It's interesting that you talk about the meat and dairy products being injected with stuff. Might or might not affect the growth hormone but the diet playing a part is pretty evident when you compare an American and an Asian, say a Chinese in China (assuming both are in their own country and eat what is typical to their culture). An Asian at the age of 17 would physically look like a kid in comparison to the American at the same age. And most Americans have a lot of meat and dairy in their diet whilst most Asians have a lighter mixed diet. for thought..
I hear ya... I feel so old, I've been saying I'm 42 since I was 26.
same situation.. but I'm 32 and he's 17.. oh dear.. oh.. dear....
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