Jordan is eighteen years old. She has pouty lips; round, greenish eyes; a pert, tiny nose; small butt; and C-cup breasts. She describes herself as “voluptuous” – “but I don’t mean heavy,” she says. “A lot of heavy girls are like, ‘I’m voluptuous.'”

She is, in many ways, amply blessed. Her teeth are straight and laminated. Her skin is flawless – thanks to Accutane- and she has the glimmering gloss of tan, thanks to Clinique for Men’s non- streak bronzing gel (which she swears by). She’s on a first-name basis with her colorist, John, who highlights her light-brown ringlets. She drives a silver Lexus SUV and when she needs gas, she drives into the local Exxon, pulls up to the pump and smiles. “We have an account,” she says blithely. “The guys all know me.”

This fall, she will be a freshman at a prestigious, brand-name university, fully paid for – provided her dad, a psychologist, doesn’t catch her smoking. Though she has always been a conscientious student, these days she’s not feeling it. “I’m kind of over school -1 mean, I’ve kind of done it, you know?” she says.

Her exceptions are music and drama because, she says, “they’re my passions.” She is also passionate about Seven jeans, clingy tank tops,hoodies, Pumas and, particularly, Diesel. She has at least a dozen Betsey Johnson outfits, most of which she bought last spring. She sings, plays piano, acts, writes plays, maintains a 4.0 average, and speaks near-fluent French. She also crinkles her nose, twirls her hair when she’s thinking, and says “gross” and, of course, “like” a lot.

Jordan also loves sex. What’s more, she believes she’s entitled to it – with whomever she wants, whenever she wants and, most important, only when she’s in the mood. “I don’t even chase after guys; I just kind of go, “Um…you.’ And then I get him,” Jordan says, smiling sweetly. “It’s a fabulous feeling to think like a guy about who I hook up with, and what I do
about it – don’t you think?”

Here are a few more things Jordan says about herself:

“I love being dominant – it’s so sexy.

“I think I’m so hot. I know that sounds cocky, but I don’t care. It’s true!”

Here’s what she says about most of the girls she knows:

“They’re sheep.

“They have eating disorders, drug addictions, extremely low self-esteem, no personality and extreme bitch disorder.

“They’re so hung up about sex, they can’t even masturbate. I feel sorry for them.”

Here’s what girls say about Jordan:

“She’s intimidating.”

“She’s … intimidating.”

“A lot of girls don’t like Jordan. She doesn’t have many friends.”

Here’s what guys say:

“She’s powerful.”

“She’s pure sexual energy.”

“What kind of a girl is Jordan? One of our friends dated her. They had a really bad breakup. She drove her SUV over his lawn.
That’s the kind of girl she is.”

Here’s what her parents, Lois and Spencer, say:

Lois: “If I could be anyone in the world, I’d be eighteen again and be Jordan. She just loves herself. Her sense of self is unbelievable.”

Spencer: “I worry. She’s eighteen, though. What can you do?”

Jordan lives in an affluent suburb near New York, in a town of stately old homes and blindingly modern newer ones, with wide front lawns set on leafy streets named for trees and poets. Her high school is ranked as one of the most competitive in the country and sends roughly fifteen percent of its 200-odd graduating seniors to the Ivy League every year.

A rarefied world, certainly, and a good place to be a girl. “I really envy these girls – they’re so lucky,” says one of the guidance counselors at her school. “There are just no holds barred for young women today. Sex, careers, motherhood, sports – everything seems to work in their favor.”

“Girls like these could be the harbingers of the future, if we allow it,” says Dr. Lynn Ponton, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of the 2000 book The Sex Lives of Teenagers.

Many girls are so empowered, they’ve almost begun to resemble boys in their sexual attitude. “The emotional tie is just not an issue,” the counselor notes, “they’re in it for themselves. It’s like a game for some girls: getting what they want.”

And they generally get it, she adds. “I feel a little sorry for the boys,” she says. “They’re just clueless, really – at least compared to these girls.”


“The way it is today, guys basically know we control things,” Jordan says. “Like, I don’t even think a word like slut means what it used to. The only people who’d call me a slut are girls who are jealous they’re not getting ass themselves. Guys wouldn’t dare.” She wraps her pinkie around a strand of curly hair. “At least not if they ever want it again.”

Jordan keeps a running list of the guys she’s had sex with, inscribed on a sheet of peach-colored paper in her raspberry-colored mini-Filofax. It adds up to a healthy but by no means outrageous amount. Slightly less than half are high school boys. The rest are men in their twenties. “I’ve always been mature for my age,” she says. “You can’t, like, limit yourself.”

Jordan lost her virginity sophomore year, to a senior. “We took showers together – it was fun,” she says. “I think that’s when I really got comfortable with my body: fifteen. “After that came a brief dalliance with bisexuality- nothing major, just kissing a few girls in tenth grade, she says. “I’ve never really been anything other than straight. It’s no big deal. A lot of girls you’d never suspect get drunk at parties and mess around with each other. It means nothing.”

That said, most girls, she says, are so uptight, “they don’t even admit they have orgasms. Isn’t that dumb? They actually feel so guilty that they can’t just relax and actually enjoy what’s supposed to be great.” The concept mystifies her.

“The way it is today, guys basically know we control things,” Jordan says. “Like, I don’t even think a word like slut means what it used to. The only people who’d call me a slut are girls who are jealous they’re not getting ass themselves. Guys wouldn’t dare.” She wraps her pinkie around a strand of curly hair. “At least not if they ever want it again.”

One afternoon, Jordan and her friend Gabi take me to the Broadway Diner. The place has a definite girly vibe: pink banquettes, lots of chrome. It’s also a town away from where she lives, which means the chances of getting caught smoking are significantly lower.

Jordan is a social smoker and is highly paranoid about it. “I don’t smoke very much – it’s, like, the big sin in my house,” she says. “My dad has said he’d seriously kill me if he ever caught me.” (“I’d absolutely have a shit fit if I ever found Jordan smoking,” says Spencer. “I’d rather her smoke a joint.”) Right now, she’s dying for one. She looks around the diner, to make sure there’s no one here she knows. Then she takes a drag from Gabi’s Virginia Slim. The smoke drifts up her nose in a Garboesque French inhale. “God, I love smoking sometimes,” Jordan says. “It’s so sexy.”

Jordan loves Gabi: “She’s the only girl who talks about what kind of orgasms she has.” Gabi blushes. “I think that rules,” says Jordan.

It’s been about a month since Jordan has had sex. “But I’ve had guys go down on me,” she says.

“Yeah, but that’s not sex,” says Gabi.

“It’s not not sex.”

“It depends on who you’re with, I guess,” says Gabi.

“Whatever,” says Jordan. “I don’t go down on guys; they go down on me. That’s my rule.” No reciprocation? “Nope. If they want me, they have to give it to me. I guess I’m kind of demanding that way.”

“No, just you’re like a guy in that way,” says Gabi.

Jordan looks at her and smiles. “Yeah, I guess I am,” she says.

The girls study the menu. “Ooh, let’s get the chocolate pecan pancakes!” Jordan says, looking at Gabi.

The girls high-five. “I love being totally anti-food issues,” says Jordan.

“Yeah, like, I’m comfortable with how I look,” Gabi adds. She glances down at her size-four body, clad in a clingy sundress. “I know, like, guys like my body,” she says. “I mean, even the big jocks who’d never admit to liking me … but they’re stupid. I’d never consider going out with someone who didn’t like me.”

“Of course not,” Jordan says, rolling her eyes.

“I think we’re pretty intimidating to high school guys,” says Gabi.
+ + +

“If Jordan yells at you, you go and hide in a corner and cry,” says a guy named Casey. Casey is the captain of the lacrosse team. We’re at a graduation party, one of dozens held in the last weeks of senior year. Jordan wears tan Diesel capris, black platform shoes and a cleavage-revealing polka-dot tank top. Her short, layered curls glisten in the afternoon sun. She is stretched on a chaise longue, sipping club soda. She looks like Marilyn Monroe.

The party is a sea of adolescent testosterone, but Jordan is over it. “The guys who are hot are just… cocky,” she says, picking at a plate of pasta salad. “Now that I’ve been with older men, I can’t take high school guys seriously. I pretty much hooked up with any guy worth hooking up with in middle school.”

Jordan is in what she calls a “tragic boy” phase right now. Anthony, a dark- eyed sixteen-year-old she met at a Manhattan music school she’d been attending on weekends, fits the bill. “My dad isn’t too hot on Anthony,” Jordan says. Translation: He’s Dominican, and attends a New York public high school, and is perennially strapped for cash, and is not Jewish (Jordan is half-Jewish). “But he’s such a great musician,” she says wistfully. “You should hear him play guitar.”

Last weekend, Jordan and Anthony had the Sex Talk. “We’re deciding whether to go to the next level. And he’s insecure. He actually told me he doesn’t want to get hurt. And, like, he’s jealous – isn’t that cute?” He’s kind of like a girl in that way, she adds. “I think he’s worried that I’m going to get sick of him.”

Jordan seems distracted today – anxious would actually be more like it. It’s Sunday. Anthony hasn’t called. She beeped him yesterday. Twice! He hasn’t called back. “I shouldn’t call him right? No,” she lectures herself. Calm down. He knows I beeped him… I mean, there’s no doubt he’ll call, right?

Jordan’s friend Alexis called her current crush seven times in one week. He never called back. “I told her not to call him,” says Jordan. “I mean, first, everyone has caller ID, so he knows she called. And two, it’s just… desperate.”

You get the feeling that Jordan would rather take a vow of celibacy than be labeled “desperate.” Getting hurt is Jordan’s biggest fear. This, she knows, has something to do with a period of strife in her parents’ marriage that she describes as the central trauma of her adolescence.

“I feel like I was happy until I was thirteen,” she says, “and then I just had to grow up and see the world for what it is – thirteen is too early to have to do that.” The wound is far from healed, despite her parents’ reconciliation. “I blame my father for this attitude I have about men. I just can’t trust guys, because if I do, I’ll just get disappointed,” she says quietly.

That said, Anthony is different. “He’s an exception – he’s not an asshole.” (You must assume all guys are assholes, Jordan insists.) “So it’s like, I constantly have to be like, ‘Jordan, calm down, he’s not out to get you, he’s not ignoring you.’

“I hate that I feel this way about Anthony,” she adds.


Jordan is getting sick of the men she meets in New York. “I ask a guy directions, and he thinks I want to fuck him,” she says. She yawns. “I’m over it. I stopped jerking guys off in the eighth grade. I just got older and was like, This is stupid.'”

“Me too,” says her friend Michelle. “I mean, if I really want to do it, I will, but mostly I’m just like, ‘Do it yourself!'”

“Totally,” says Jordan, “I mean, you’re never doing it right anyway.”

Jordan and her friends Jill and Michelle are skipping fourth and fifth periods to have lunch at a restaurant near school.

“God, I’d love to get it from a guy with a tongue ring,” says Jordan, changing the subject. There’s a sophomore at school, she adds, with a really awesome one.

“Would you reciprocate?” says Michelle, who comes from Houston and believes in these kinds of things.

“I’d consider it,” Jordan says. “But only if he’d gone down on me numerous times, and, like, really pleased me.”

Michelle: “Shit!”

Jill: “Why?”

Jordan: “Well, I don’t want to feel used. I mean, I don’t want them to think that’s all I’m good for. And, I don’t really like giving blow jobs -1 mean, do you? I don’t know why girls like it.”

“Chris likes it,” says Jill, talking about her boyfriend. “He went down on me way before I went down on him.”

“They all say they like it!” says Jordan, “But I don’t see how they could…”

Jill: “They’re just so eager to please.”

Jordan: “I think guys know that if they go down on a girl and make them come, it hooks them. And it’ll come back to them. Some of them just do it for themselves.” She shrugs. “Guys are so easy.”

The girls talk about marriage. This is a loaded subject – though all talk about getting married one day, they have witnessed few marriages that seem successful. Jill says that almost all of her friends have parents with “unhealthy relationships.” “I’m keeping my name when I get married,” says Jill.

Michelle says she’ll take the name of whomever she marries. Jordan looks at Michelle like she’s crazy. “Why?”

“Because I think it’s horrible not to!” says Michelle.

“Horrible? Michelle!” Jordan rolls her eyes. “This is so Texas.”

“Michelle, you have all these old values,” says Jill. “Like, ‘I have to have kids, I have to get married…'”

“Well, yeah,” says Michelle. “What’s wrong with that?”


Jordan and her friends spend a lot of time gossiping. (They may be mature, but they’re still girls, let’s not forget.) The usual topic: a girl named Julie, a fellow senior whom they consider to be a “slut.” (“When you hear the word slut,” says the school guidance counselor, “it’s always a girl using it against another girl. The boys are afraid to use it. The girls find it a powerful tool.”)

Julie is kind of the anti-Jordan. She’s blond, blue-eyed and has a thing forAbercrombie & Fitch ribbon belts. “She thinks she’s really popular because she hangs out with the jocks,” Jill says. She shakes her heads pityingly.

Julie hosts a lot of parties. Then she posts the photos on her own Web site. There are thong shots and cleavage shots, and lots of photos of high school kids stumbling drunk. On the home page, Julie’s wearing a bustier, her long blond hair flowing from under a cowboy hat.

“She loves that Web site,” says Jill. “It, like, proves she has friends.” Jill shudders. This is so uncool.

“She’s so … sad,” says Jordan.

Julie also has a dildo. “She, like, brags about it,” says Jill. “In school.”

“Ugh!” This, the girls agree, is totally, totally unacceptable.

Confused? Well, here are the rules: Sex? Great. Dildos? Even better. But don’t, like, announce your sexual proclivities to your English class. “That’s just icky,” says Michelle. Sluttiness, the girls say, has almost nothing to do with how much sex you have. It’s about how you have it. “Don’t, like, broadcast,” says Jordan. (Don’t wear bustiers, in other words.) Oh, and ignore those drunken high school guys who ask you for a blowjob. “That’s not what you do,” Jordan sniffs. “You never give it away like that.”

Nevertheless, Jordan thinks it’s mean to call Julie a slut. “It’s sexist, don’t you think?” She shrugs. “It’s easy to just throw that word out there,” she says. “I think there are better words.” She’s quiet a moment, perhaps trying to think of a few. Finally, she gives up. “I think it’s more like, just get a clue,” she says, sighing.


It’s the week before graduation and reality has begun to set in. Or something has. Jordan is getting a French manicure. She looks disturbed. She’s pouting – which for Jordan is a significant thing. She plays with her sleeve. “I called Anthony,” she confides. Sigh. “I needed to know when he was coming this weekend for my graduation party.”

What did he say? “He was like, ‘I was just thinking about you, and I was going to call you, but it was too late, so I was going to call you tomorrow.’ ” She rolls her eyes. “I guess I believe he was going to call me the next day. He said he hadn’t gotten my beep because his battery died on his beeper, or something.”

And she believed him? “Yeah. He’s not the kind of guy you have to play these games with. I’m just being neurotic.

“It’s so different when you have a boyfriend,” she says. “Not that Anthony is really my boyfriend.” She sighs again. “God, can you believe me? I really am going through a transformation.”

Maybe so. Then again, so are most eighteen’year-old girls, on that slender cusp of high school and real life – whatever that is. Jordan has no idea. She’s made a few decisions, though. Rules are dumb, she’s decided, except her oral-sex rule, of course. “That’s, like, my rule.” But, “I don’t think I’m going to take sex as lightly as I have.” Because of Anthony? “I don’t know. I’d like to say I came to this decision by myself,” she says. “It’s not, like, morally speaking” – she doesn’t care about morals, she adds – “it’s more just the way I feel right now. I don’t want to be sleeping with people who are just really sexy and…” She sighs. She stretchesher little pink, Puma-clad feet out in front of her and leans her head back against her chair. The manicurist goes to work. “Whatever,” Jordan says, suddenly at peace. “Forget what I just said.”


  1. As someone not to far past the age of the girls in this piece, I can say it’s the media and guys who’ve propagated this realignment of social control among the genders. Movies often portray women as the one in control of relationships. Look at any romantic comedy. And guys have become some accustomed to porn they simply can’t wait to bury their faces between our legs. Works for us, though. I knew couples and that’s all they did. They’d kiss a while then he’d go down on her, make her cum, and that was that! 😉