Monday, June 21, 2010

I Shouldn't Be Allowed to Talk to Children

Last week I went to a summit put on by Girls in Tech. It was all about mentoring and my mentor, the fabulous Tara Anderson, spoke. She talked about the qualities that make a good mentor, and though she left out the most important part of our mentoring relationship (booze), it was really interesting.

Part of her presentation involved an activity where each of us took a note card that had a picture of a character from a movie. Each of these characters was either a mentor or a mentee (?). So there was Harry Potter and Dumbledore, Yoda and whatshisname from Star Wars (I think the one with daddy issues), and others.

Including Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling.

Guess who I got?

So I walked around looking for who had Jodi Foster and what do ya know but my counterpart is one of the three 14 year-old girls that was there. And she had no idea who the fuck Hannibal Lecter was or what The Silence of the Lambs was about. So it fell to me to teach, or mentor, if you will, this poor soul.

This is what we were here for. To impart wisdom on bright young girls who need our guidance.

So I explained: "Silence of the Lambs is an award-winning film about this chick, Clarice Starling, who's in the FBI and she's trying to find this creepy guy who takes women and puts them in this hole and makes them put lotion on themselves so he can make a giant suit made out of their skin so he can dance around in front of mirrors and so Clarice goes to this other creepy guy named Hannibal Lecter who's in prison because he's kind of screwed up and really likes to eat people, which isn't really good, ya know? So anyway he has to help Clarice because really? What else is he gonna do with his time? And he's really smart, plus I think he kinda gets off on watching her struggle."

I paused to let the girl take it all in. She just looked at me like I was the weird one (even though she's the one who hasn't seen it), and then she decided to share what she thought a good mentor should be like.

She said that a mentor shouldn't just give their mentee (seriously, is that a real word?) the answers, but should support them and let them figure things out on their own.

Which is EXACTLY what Hannibal Lecter did for Clarice Starling, so I nodded my head and said, "You know what? You're just like Hannibal Lecter".

Looking back, maybe I shouldn't have compared her to a serial killer, but really? The resemblance in their mentoring philosophy was uncanny. It was like she was meant to be told about this shit by me, which is pretty powerful.

Basically, I'm the best mentor ever. Just think how good I'd be if there was alcohol involved.

Maybe next time...

If her mother ever lets me talk to her again.

PS: BUT REALLY? Isn't it better that she learns about this from someone like ME, in a safe environment, rather than some freak on the streets? Her mother should be thanking me.