She: I knew it! The New York Times has reported that teenage boys are actually more complex than we give them credit for.
Z: Low bar. Isn’t the assumption that teenage boys are only slightly less complex than a Triscuit?
She: One would think, but now there’s science to prove that all that macho testosterone-fueled stuff you see in the movies isn’t really true. Boys don’t just think about sex all the time.
Z: Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Giggle. Giggle giggle. Guffaw. Guffaw guffaw. Hee hee. Whoo-hoo! Ha ha ha. Giggle. Snortle. Snerfle. Giggle giggle. Guffaw. Ha!
She: Seriously. They did a study of 10th-grade boys, and asked them to give their reasons for pursuing a relationship. The top answer marked by 80 percent of the boys? “I really liked the person.”
Z: “… butt naked.” That’s the part they weren’t saying. Or, “… between the sheets,” or “… with a banana,” like the line you add to the end of any fortune cookie fortune.
She: Seriously, only 14 percent of the boys said they were pursuing a relationship to lose their virginity.
Z: Pursuing a relationship? There’s the study’s flaw right there. One does not pursue a relationship. One pursues …
She: That’s terrible. And scientifically not true.
Z: Hmm. On the one hand, we have the social science of asking teen boys what they’re feeling, and believing their responses to be truthful.
Z: On the other hand, we have the biological imperative for reproduction, hyperbolically inflamed in the swampy hothouse of adolescent hormones. You’re right, I say we trust what the boys are saying. Why would they lie?
She: I would think you’d be praising this study. It makes boys look more sensitive and maybe a little smarter than we give them credit for.
Z: They’re clearly smarter, but not for the reason you think.
She: What do you mean?
Z: They’re pulling one over on the woman — it was obviously a woman — who did the survey. They were just trying to get “between the sheets” by acting all sensitive.
She: That’s not fair. Now you’re preening for this column. I know you don’t really believe that.
Z: I’m an expert on this particular subject. I have vast experience as an actual teenage boy — at least 20 years worth.
She: Who knew that your prolonged adolescence would finally make you an expert on something?
Z: All that this study proves is that teenage boys are horny liars — not that I’m judging. It keeps the species going.
She: I think you’re just trying to hide a sensitive side. That’s what I’ve been telling my friends for the past 19 years.
Z: Yes, I’m a master actor. I can’t tell you how much sensitivity it’s taken me to hide all this sensitivity.
She: I think this survey clearly shows that teen boys need teen girls — that they truly are looking for companionship. You know, someone to talk to and maybe snuggle with.
Z: You’re right. I’m very sensitive. Now will you sleep with me?
She: Don’t be ridiculous. We’re married. You’re going to need to do some dishes first.
Z: I think a more accurate survey would have been, “What are you thinking about right now?” I’m guessing “pursuing a relationship” wouldn’t have been a big answer.
She: Well, sure, they could be worried about acne, or their SAT tests, or a football game or what’s going on in Iraq. Whatever they would answer doesn’t necessarily tell you what they think — or whether they think — about sex.
Z: Because the answer’s so obvious that it’s pointless to ask them. They’re thinking about the SAT tests of sex, how acne affects sex, sex during a football game, and sex in Iraq.
She: At least that would mean they had the ability to multitask. If we could channel that ability correctly, it’s actually rather promising. That’s even better than sensitivity.
Z: Yes, dear.
Tell She and Z what you think teenage boys are really thinking about. E-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.