Hello young American. I see that you have begun your very first moment of puberty. Whether it’s the first hair popping out of your loins or a sudden whiff of acrid onions coming from your pits, this moment is unique to everyone.
To girls reading, I hope you are at least 12. At this age, things like “buying a bra” and “finding blood in your panties” are cool and a social rite of passage. Less than 12? Welcome to a time of isolated horror and awkward nipple silhouettes under Pokemon T-shirts. Studies show that girls who hit puberty later tend to be more popular and confident, so tell that uterine lining itching to escape that it needs to hold its horses, OK?
Boys, the earlier the better. You know that kid in the back row of the Christmas musical, towering over the other 5th graders? He’s probably going to have 7x more sex in his life, not because he’ll always be the tallest guy in the room, but because he was the tallest guy at age 11, when one’s self-image crystalizes forever. Late blooming boys, prepare to feel awkward in middle school locker rooms.
The key to dealing with puberty is to be proactive. The stigma of being the 5th-grade girl with Lilith Fair armpits never goes away. Learn about deodorant early. Err on the side of showering too much. Spend your allowance on lip gloss.
The next step is to explore literature that will help you deal with all of your new “feelings.” For girls, this involves reading YM and Teen magazine until you develop both a firm argument for saying “no” to peer pressure and a mild eating disorder. Cut it with Cosmo to develop a sexual curiosity that you would explore if you were still not terrified of your own body. Boys should and will seek out porn. I know the Internet exists, but you might want to read Playboy, just to feel connected to an ancient tradition.
Finally, you will start to interact with the opposite sex in entirely new ways. (Unless you’re gay. For you, slumber parties are about to involve some freaky homoerotic stuff, so just observe and enjoy.) You’re going to want to resort to bullying, because you’re horny and you’re not sure why or what it means and it’s going to make you mad. This is effective, as it allows you to both express your anger and get attention. The best way to satisfy mild curiosity is to take your dirty questions to whatever chat platform kids are using these days and pester your classmates from the confines of your own home.
I hope this guide was helpful. Happy blossoming!