It is hard to take yourself too seriously when you live with teenagers…
Life with teenagers has a way of grounding you in particularly busy work times. You cannot take yourself too seriously if, for instance, on the way to an important work meeting, you get called by the repair centre where your daughter’s laptop is currently located, get asked for her password and, having ascertained said password, have to ring back and announce that it is Fartzimonia2buttox with a capital F.
Similarly, it is hard to get worked up if all your rants about the future of the country, equality, etc, are played out to a background of the latest BTS video of the boys chomping on noodles. I know way more about BTS than I even did about One Direction [and I knew their blood groups…] and have watched more videos than I care to remember of the BTS boys smiling [“Isn’t he cute, mum?”], dancing, eating noodles and generally being adorable and looking around 12 when they are actually in their 20s.
I have been to more Korean supermarkets and shops in the last year than in my entire lifetime. I know every branch of Oseyo in London and I have retrodden the BTS boys’ footsteps across the capital. My daughters’ rooms are plastered in pictures of them.
On the positive side, they have inspired artworks of all kinds, an interest in learning Korean, an enthusiasm for Korean food and, by extension [though not really related] an interest in Hong Kong politics [we visited Oseyo during a protest about Hong Kong].
This week the teens have attended a ‘birthday party’ for one member of the band, made videos of said member and crafted a series of cupcakes with his dog logo on them. “It’s just escapism, mum,” said their older sister, an ex-One Direction fan. A bit of escapism may be no bad thing in the current world. For at least one of them BTS appeal to a desire for a multicultural future, for a kinder world where people don’t hate each other. In her words, “they make me happy”. Never underestimate happiness.
Even so, daughter two, who has just started a sociology course, is moving ever more into the political realm, living up to her interest in student activism. She announced around Tuesday that she had become a radical feminist. Soon after only son announced he may become a ‘meninist’. I have tried to breach the divide.
Every time I get in the car, which is a lot, I am forced to listen to BTS’ greatest hits. I think it is the sisters’ way of stopping me from listening to the latest turn in the Brexit saga. Only son tunes out entirely and just keeps up an endless conversation about ethernet cables and HDMI ports which goes way over my head.
The positive news is that the teenagers are so desperate to go to the next BTS concert that they are trying to keep in my good books. The concert is not until some time next year so this seems like a very good deal to me. Long may the noodle-munching videos continue.