The two tall, gangly teenage boys were walking a dog at a park. Harmless enough, to be sure, but I couldn’t stop staring on account of their underwear. The first boy had a slight discrepancy between his actual waist and where the waist of his low-riding jeans happened to fall, resulting in about two inches of his black boxers showing. I had seen this before. I had never understood it, but I had seen it. The second boy’s discrepancy was so pronounced, so blatant, so wrong, that I literally gasped. Holy Boxers! His gap was at least eight inches, and the belt holding up those jeans actually rested below his – um – buttocks. His boxers were gray. I couldn’t imagine where that belt rested in front – or maybe I could – which is why, when I passed the boys in my car, I resisted the urge to turn my head to see how accurate my instincts were.

I had a few reactions.

First: Does the kid have a screw loose? Is he drunk? Does he think it’s cool? Has this attire proved effective at attracting girls?

Second: If any of my children ever walk down the street exposing their entire underwear-clad backside, I will never, ever, let them leave the house again.

Third: It is almost a guarantee that one or more of my children will do something equally (or more) shocking in their lifetimes. In all likelihood, I will remain blissfully unaware of said behavior – at least while it’s occurring.

Fourth: This gray-boxer-clad kid has a mom somewhere. In all likelihood, she is blissfully unaware that her son is walking down a busy street flashing his boxer-covered buttocks.

Fifth: How do I want strangers to react when they encounter one of my children doing or saying something outrageous, scandalous, or outright weird?

Sixth: I would want them to give my kids a break and remember that that kid, too, has a mom somewhere, a mom who has done her best to discourage such behavior. And would it be too much to ask that they not think that my kids are crazy or delinquent – that they’re just being teenagers, who can often be found with one screw temporarily loose?

Seventh: This kid is just being a teenager with a loving mom who is doing everything she can to help him tighten his loose screws.

Finally: A bit of fear. A touch of panic. For me and my children. When will it start? Has it already begun, me being blissfully unaware? Will I ever find out? Do I want to find out? Help.

On the way home from picking up my almost-twelve-year-old son, we passed the same boys, this time a few blocks further down the road. I kept one eye on the road and one on my son to see what kind of a reaction, if any, he would have upon seeing the gray boxers (honestly, that’s all you saw when you looked at the boy, and, yes, my instincts were right on target as to where his belt rested in front). My son glanced out the window and then whipped his head around as we passed, watching the kid for as long as he could.

Nonchalantly, I asked, “Is that weird that he’s wearing his jeans like that, or is it just me?”

“It’s definitely weird, Mom.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. I just might have some time. At least when it comes to boxers and buttocks and ultra low-riding jeans.