Doctor Love: Rite of Passage

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Dear Doctor Love,
I have three girls and two boys all pretty much grown and I love them all. Maybe you could answer something for me. My girls are married and they have been mature women since they were teenagers. One of my sons is married but both of them are still just big overgrown boys. Why is it that girls become women so quickly but boys take such a long time to become men?
/s/ Wondering


Dear Wondering,
The Doctor believes it is because women ovulate and have menstrual cycles. When this happens, females go from being girls to young women. They are accepted as such.
There is nothing comparable that happens to males that marks their passage from childhood to adult. The physical changes often occur gradually, with some young men still growing at the age of twenty-one.
Some cultures have an official rite of passage such as the Jewish ceremony of the bar mitzvah when the boy is twelve. At this ceremony he is declared a man, even though it is a concept that is probably hard for a twelve-year-old boy to swallow. In some cultures, the rite of passage involves going out and killing a wild animal like a boar or a deer. That kind of ceremony probably works quite well in helping the boy define his manhood.
Here in Latin America, young men used to go to work at an early age. Young men fished and brought in a catch or worked on a farm and help bring in the crops. When they could do their job they were considered men and it was a rite of passage similar to going out and killing a wild animal.
In modern times, a young man must often wait for the law to determine he is an adult because he is of legal age to vote. Killing a wild boar would be a much better option.

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