Growing up: The Art of Snooping

Jason Davis | Staff Photographer

Derrick’s mom had the most amazing ass. It was firm like a delicious, red apple and set between man-shattering hips that even a worn pair of faded Levi’s could never conceal. For my then 13-year-old eyes, she was a 34-year-old woman in a world of adult females and the sculpture by which I unfairly judged girls around me.

When I first noticed how denim impeccably cupped her ass into an inverted heart, I wondered why more adult females didn’t possess the same bodacious attribute.

This was an abstract and unknowable curiosity to me then but it was what ultimately led me to further investigation, no doubt helped in part by the lingerie hanging in Derrick’s bathroom.

I never would have considered snooping had I not been left alone. Derrick and I went to a private school and we would often walk to his house after school to play video games until my mom got off work. Some evenings, my mom arrived late and Derrick and his mom occasionally had errands to run or practices to attend.

They didn’t think twice about leaving me alone in their home, knowing my mom was only minutes away, so long as I locked the door on the way out. It was in these moments, alone in Derrick’s house — in Derrick’s mom’s bedroom, that I acted on my curiosity. Girls — women — and the physical curiosity and attraction they would soon arouse in me, had until that point, not existed.

“Derrick’s mom wears a thong?”

I don’t remember how I even knew the word, but there it was, lying atop a pair of jeans on Derrick’s mom’s bed. In my world of baseball cards and video games, it was the most radical discovery of my life. What was this tiny little thing and why was I so fascinated with it?
Did all women wear these things?

It was this curiosity, and other similar adventures that helped me to make sense of the questions I was too embarrassed to ask my parents.
When I was 13, the Internet was not available in my area and snooping thus became a treasure hunt where I discovered new pieces to a puzzle whose final picture was for the first time revealing itself to me. In the end, I learned that it was just underwear, women sweat just like men do and that while some bras are black — some are also lacy and not much different than a bathing suit top.

Hollywood often pokes fun of delinquent adolescent curiosities. From the opening vibrator scene in “Baseketball” with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, to young Booger cross-dressing in Rachel McAdams’ bra and panties in “The Hot Chick,” to stealthy webcams in “American Pie” and finally, to Will Ferrell’s disastrous panty-curiosity admission in “Old School,” we see that snooping is common! Although the method varies, the curiosity does not.

The allure is simple: snooping allows the curious a chance to see how another lives. Whether it provides assurance to the insecure or answers to the complexities of adolescence, its surprises are common to those who grew up poor, sheltered, inexperienced or away from the TV while those being snooped are usually perceived as the opposite: wealthy, free and having experience.

While my adolescent snooping focused on Derrick’s mom’s lingerie and locating my father’s “Hustler” stash (in the space between the bottom dresser drawer and the ground under the drawer and accessible only by pulling the drawer out), today I would be more inclined to discover whose bathroom was cleanest, who drank the nicest Scotch or who ashamedly shopped at Wal-Mart.

If you have a snooping story to tell, please do share. Have you been caught? What have you learned about those with whom you have snooped on? Did it make you feel more or less secure?