Deborah Ross: Our Woman in Crouch End

I'm being terrorised by a fearsome youth in a hoodie - and he's eaten my chocolate mousse
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The Independent Online

As everyone now knows, teenage boys are all evil menaces, gathering on street corners in the entirely realistic hope of grabbing your bag in broad daylight and then, perhaps, cooking you over a little gas burner and eating you bit by bit, secret body-sculpting pants and all. Indeed, in The Daily Telegraph last week, an entire page was taken up with stories headlined: Pensioner Mugged For Cash By Yobs; Funeral Car Attacked By Teenage Gang; Brawl at Youth Football Match.

As everyone now knows, teenage boys are all evil menaces, gathering on street corners in the entirely realistic hope of grabbing your bag in broad daylight and then, perhaps, cooking you over a little gas burner and eating you bit by bit, secret body-sculpting pants and all. Indeed, in The Daily Telegraph last week, an entire page was taken up with stories headlined: Pensioner Mugged For Cash By Yobs; Funeral Car Attacked By Teenage Gang; Brawl at Youth Football Match.

Some, though, won't have it, and argue that not only is this wave of hoodie hysteria absurd, but that most teenage boys are laughably benign. The average teenage boy, they continue, as if they had any evidence for it, does little beyond sleep until noon in a room that smells of old socks and wet dog and cheese that's gone off (the socks, we think, although the fungus-encrusted cereal bowls are also in the frame).

Come noon-ish, he may or may not get up, have a good scratch of his bits and then eat the entire contents of the fridge including the choice items hidden right at the back in the entirely unrealistic hope of keeping them for yourself. He may then return to bed unless, of course, he opts to hang about the streets with a gang so fearsome that should a girl come up to one of them and say: "My friend really fancies you. Will you go out with her?" they will all go red and run home to their mummies and stinking bedrooms with the piles of dirty clothes which, after a good sniff, are deemed sufficiently fresh to wear again. This is what I've heard, but of course it is rubbish because I read the newspapers and know that such boys are responsible for all that is bad in the world, including:

Global warning

Scientists now believe that holes in the ozone layer and disappearing glaciers are largely due to heat generated by the ears of teenage boys under baseball caps and hoods (New Scientist, Climate Change And Ears, April 2005). If current trends continue, we will all die in a fatal heatwave next week, if not in the next 10 minutes. It doesn't help that their bottoms are as good as wind-farms. Scientists hope teenage boys can be encouraged to show restraint on the wind front, but then don't we all. Lastly, they must be kept away from Lynx spray-on deodorant - used rarely but always over-generously - as the CFCs could prove the final straw. This is a shame, as Lynx is so pleasant-smelling it makes mothers gag first thing in the morning, not that there ever is a first thing in the morning with teenage boys. There is always a last thing at night, when mother goes to bed, leaving him in front of Celebrity Love Island doing what teenage boys who can't bring themselves to talk to girls do in front of Celebrity Love Island. This mother doesn't wish to know. On the other hand, if he does go blind he might not get at the choice items in the fridge so quickly. This might be something to look forward to, especially if you haven't had an Onken chocolate mousse in 14 years.

Crap telly

As ITV itself recently announced: "We accept that Celebrity Love Island is pathetically puerile, featuring as it does only moderately fit slappers who go around in bikinis. We accept that, if it were not for young males doing whatever it is they do in front of this show, we would have been forced to cancel it ages ago and replace it with something which, if it were only half-way decent, would still have to be a significant improvement."

Lying OAPs

Last week, a widowed grandmother who is a regular church-goer went to the post office to collect her pension and returned home without incident. Her evening also went without incident. She watched Countdown and Holby City, had a lamb chop for tea, and crocheted a toilet-roll holder for the WI sale. "At no point was I grabbed by youths, knocked to the ground, and kicked in the head for my handbag." she later said. However, as The Daily Telegraph pointed out, "She is a liar, as all grandmothers are attacked by yobs on a daily basis. These hooligans are even making liars of churchgoers who crochet for charitable purposes."

Star Wars films

This mother, as it happens, was persuaded to see the latest one with her son and was so bored she thought her watch had stopped. This mother didn't have a clue who was who, only that there was a pretty lady with big pretzels on her head and then little pretzels and then she died. This mother wondered why everyone went about in whizzy flying things until the final scene when Obi Wan Ka-Whatsit arrived at the tent of the sand people via a camel. That's the trouble with whizzy flying things. They're never around when you want one. "That was good," said the son afterwards. This mother doesn't know if it was as good as an Onken chocolate mousse as she can no longer remember what they taste like.

House prices

They keep going up because families with teenagers need larger and larger properties to house those really big, stinky trainers. Ideally, they should have a room of their own, preferably in Sheffield, if not Aberdeen.

d.ross@independent.co.uk

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