It had been a long, busy day for popular author Rosalind Wiseman, who wrote about the social dynamics of girls in the bestseller Queen Bees and Wannabes. But in the vortex of publicity surrounding her newest research on boys and young men, Wiseman graciously cleared a path in her schedule at the mention of CMC freshman Sebastian Luna. Luna, settling into his first semester of college in Claremont, met Wiseman as a junior in high school when she spoke at his Southern California school. Impressed by her understanding of young people (she is also a speaker on parenting and bullying), he chatted with her afterward, and she invited him to be part of her research gathering for her brand-new book, Masterminds and Wingmen (Harmony Books, 2013), sub-titled Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of the Boy World.
While her book Queen Bees and Wannbes became the basis for the movie Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan, Wiseman’s newest release, which debuted in September, has led to coverage by CNN, NPR, and USA Today, among others. For the Dec. 2 print issue of TIME, she wrote an eight-page spread ("What Boys Want") presenting the stories of several young men who became pivotal in her research––Luna among them. Using the topic of the hook-up culture and the many stats and findings that emerged over the past two years of info-gathering, she sends a clear message that the emotional lives of boys are largely ignored, to the tune of sobering consequences. “Despite our culture’s recent focus on girls and their self-esteem,” she writes, “it’s actually boys whose emotional and academic lives have been suffering.”
Over the course of a two-year e-mail exchange, one of the things Luna opened up to Wiseman about was a painful high school break-up. The book makes the solid case that boys are often left to explore their emotions on their own, and without the support or communication skills that come easily to girls. “Sebastian was an incredible resource for me,” Wiseman said. “I asked guys to really tell me what their experiences are––the good, the bad, and the messy, and Sebastian didn't hesitate. He's a great writer as well, and I depended on him to help me get the book right.
“I think what Sebastian did,” Wiseman said, “was pull back the curtain on guys. You look at a guy like him, and it's easy to think he wouldn't have a lot of problems. Or, if he did, he could handle them. What Sebastian did was acknowledge the truth that we all really know: Guys have complex problems, and they aren't immune from them negatively impacting their lives.”
In addition to his inclusion in TIME’s print story, Luna also shares some of these thoughts in a video component of Wiseman’s story.
* Read the story, "What Boys Want,” in TIME (subscription may be required)
* Watch the video with Wiseman and Luna (“What Your Boys Aren’t Telling You”)
* Wiseman’s free guide for boys: The Guide: Managing Douchebags, Recruiting Wingmen, and Attracting Who You Want
Meanwhile, the CMC freshman was kind enough to answer a few questions about his resulting friendship with Wiseman, how he’s changed since meeting the author, how friends and family are responding to his magazine appearance, and yes––he was happy to tell us why he chose Claremont McKenna.
Was Roasalind the one who reached out to you about being included in her story for TIME?
Luna: Yes, she reached out to me regarding being a part of the video a few weeks before it happened. She later asked if it was also okay if I was included in the article, which I of course agreed to.
Do you feel you've changed at all, since your first communications with her? Did "talking" about the breakup help ease the pain, or give you some measure of clarity?
Luna: I have definitely changed a lot since the first time we talked. I met her for the first time during the first semester of my junior year in high school. It was about then that I really started the process, which every teenager goes through, of becoming comfortable with myself. Meeting Rosalind couldn't have been timed more perfectly. She helped me, I helped her. I heard stories of other guys going through a similar transition as myself, and in turn I shared my own. When I had my problems, I would share them with her, and instead of just giving me her opinion, she would ask all the other guys she was working with what they would do in the situation.
How are people around you reacting to you in TIME?
Luna: My friends and extended family thought it was cool, and have all been pretty positive about it. My close family obviously though it was awesome that their son was going to be in TIME, and they were pretty positive. But when it finally came to reading the article, they had mixed reactions. The article isn't the most flattering, and they were taken aback by that I guess. I didn't go into this with intentions of making myself look good. I knew that I was sharing potentially embarrassing and rather private information. I was saying things that people don't normally say, because I want to make a change. The whole point of the article was to break down this notion of what society thinks guys want, and replace it with what guys actually want.
With your family, has what you've shared with Rosalind led to more awareness for your parents?
Luna: My family is rather tight-knit, so over time, my parents naturally became more aware just because as I got older, I shared what I thought. But I wouldn't say I would necessarily attribute that to Rosalind.
Why did you want to go to college here?
Luna: I chose CMC because of the people. CMC attracts and admits people who are all made up of that same “stuff.” I can walk around campus and know that every single person I see is brilliant in some form or another. Drive, intelligence, and character are the "stuff" of CMC students. And when you have 1,300 of these types of people all in one place, how can you not be happy? Everything about CMC gives me that sense of happiness. I chose CMC because I wanted to be part of such an amazing student body.