There is no way Cathy can remember what it is to be a fourteen-year-old boy, expected to have sex, expected to be flawless, and courageous, and well-endowed, and so confident. What she can know is what it is to live in a world where everyone is terrified of their own bodies, but never admit it to each other.
"Why do you always have to make everything so weird?"
She praises him for waiting, as if he's waiting, a kindness in the middle of her rampage. "I know it's just a matter of time before girls start throwing themselves at you," she says; she sees him with a mother's eyes. "And I guess I get worried. Because I may not be around, to meet all of them..." And thank God for that, he says; she's getting used to that. She keeps trying to tell him, against her own best judgment and under the radar of her own plan, and he doesn't hear her. He promises to ask her, if he has questions; he won't have questions. He thinks that she will leave, but she won't leave.
"When you do start dating, you should know that women don't care so much about the sex stuff. I mean...It's... It feels good, and everything, and it's definitely an important part of any healthy relationship. Especially the foreplay." Making things weird again, Adam notes. "I just mean that sex isn't as important to us gals as... Other things. Like you noticing us." To be seen.
"Women like attention. Even if they act like they don't. Even if they say they don't want you to make a big fuss about Valentine's Day, or their birthday. Deep down they really wish you would."
Behind the scenes, for a behind-the-scenes type person, there is nobody.
"Oh, and if you're ever out on a first date, and you find that it's going, you know, there, and if you feel that you could totally score with her, or whatever you guys call it now, just slow down. Because no matter what, a woman always wants to feel like she's worth waiting for."
She wants to feel like she exists at all.
In the hallway, in the morning before summer school begins, Andrea watches the man paint the wall; he dances as he works. DREAM BIG, the mural says. The man is listening to Joe King, northern soul, and they dance without really looking at each other until he speaks. He loves the sound of Joe King's voice; Andrea loves to watch the painter dance, both eyes open, and thinks Joe King's all right. "That is Joe King you're talking about, young lady," he says; the painter has a British accent.