By Isa Ghani
Daily Titan Multimedia Editor
Hereâ€™s a tip I have for all foreigners and immigrants coming to America for the first time: always, always ask for her age.
Iâ€™ve been here for nearly a year, and there have been more times than I would care to admit when Iâ€™ve tried to hit on a girl who has been (ranging from slightly to extremely) under the legal age of consent â€“ which in California is 18 years old.
Hereâ€™s my disclaimer though: I havenâ€™t done anything wrong (yet). I always figure it out in time (barely). And it honestly is very hard to distinguish the age of teenage girls in America (at least for me).
Iâ€™m Asian and from an Asian country. I didnâ€™t know many Caucasians, Latinos or blacks growing up; thus, my age-judging skills are lacking. To this day, I would honestly not be able to tell you off the top of my head how old I think Nicole Kidman really is because she does not look 42.
Or how old Brooke Shields was when she appeared topless in â€œThe Blue Lagoon.â€
She was 14 at the time the film was shot. Only four years until she was of legal age when she appeared half-naked in a Hollywood film (though she did later testify that body doubles were used for some of the scenes).
For someone who didnâ€™t grow up around here, itâ€™s hard to play â€œGuess her age,â€ especially with Caucasians. Itâ€™s especially hard when so many girls dress, letâ€™s be tactful here, â€œmatureâ€ for their ages.
I have approached, or been approached, by girls who looked 18 to me. I will admit I made advances only to find out later that she, or on one memorable occasion, they, were only 15 or 16. Of course, I immediately backed off and insisted we become platonic friends. Crisis averted.
But some people donâ€™t see anything wrong with taking a 13-year-old to bed. Perhaps Roman Polanski could give us tips on what not to do in that situation; or depending how you look at it, what to do.
When I first read about Polanski, I scoffed and said to myself, â€œWhat an idiot.â€ Now, Iâ€™m not so sure.
I do not approve of pedophilia.
What I mean is that I think itâ€™s just wrong to have sex (consensual or not) with an underage girl. If youâ€™re underage too, well thatâ€™s kind of a gray area â€“ but regardless, Iâ€™m just about to turn 21, so there should be no reason for me to eye 16-year-olds.
Yet, I do. Why? Because they look so damn mature and â€¦ well-developed.
In the course of doing research for this article, I came across a surprisingly large amount of controversial, yet legal, Web sites that showcase pictures of teenage girls â€“ in semi-nude and provocative poses â€“ with models who range from 13 – 17 years of age.
In all cases, parents had given legal consent to let their daughters be photographed and put on the Internet for leery old men to drool over, all for the price of $24.99 a month.
The loophole allowing this to take place is that if the girlâ€™s arenâ€™t completely nude, itâ€™s legal â€“ but, to me at least, still morally wrong.
*NOTE: All this was done purely for the purpose of researching this article. I swear, I do not have these bookmarked in my browser, nor do I frequent these Web sites.
What disturbs me is that there obviously is a demand for these Web sites. Someone out there is forking over $25 a month to (presumably) jerk off to photos of 13-year-old girls. I personally doubt that people buy these photos to put up on their mantel.
OK, so perhaps human beings are just that depraved. What disturbs me even more is that, although some of these girls are listed as being 14 or 16, they definitely do not look it; they look much older. Therein lies the problem.
Itâ€™s all well and good if everyone had an age disclaimer on the back of their heads, telling the world how old they are.
It would be great if the world were like Facebook, but itâ€™s not, and sometimes we guys have to learn this lesson the hard way.
I am often shocked when I find out peopleâ€™s real ages, and I guess Caucasians age differently than Asians. Iâ€™ve also made the mistake of under-guessing peopleâ€™s ages because this is California, the land of cosmetic surgery.
Maybe Iâ€™m going about this all wrong.
Maybe I should stop guessing and start every conversation with an attractive girl with: â€œSo, how old are you?â€
Or maybe I just havenâ€™t been around enough girls to learn the difference between â€œjail baitâ€ and â€œfair game.â€
If you have some tips, I would love to hear them.
But for now, I think Iâ€™ll start going to bars. At least there Iâ€™ll know that every girl inside is at least 21, or if she isnâ€™t, thatâ€™s what those handy-dandy Xâ€™s on the back of their hands mean, quite literally: No Entry Here.