DOVER, Mass. Max Quigley is, by his own admission, a bit obsessed with real estate. “Watch this,” he says as he points his iPhone towards a neighbor’s house and watches an “app” reveal its property tax assessment and market value based on recent sales. “Wow,” he says as he looks at the screen. “Adding that half-bath downstairs really paid off.”
$2.1 million starter home.
His wife Sheryl sheepishly admits that she’s just as bad, but for different reasons. “I just love to decorate,” she says. “I’d like to move just so I could furnish a big new house.”
Their son Tyler, by contrast, is consumed by the sort of things that occupy many 13-year-old boys’ minds; music, video games and, all of a sudden, girls. “It’s like he totally changed, overnight,” his father says. “He left model cars unfinished, and dropped out of Boy Scouts two merit badges shy of being an Eagle.”
Model car kit: Suddenly, not so fascinating anymore.
Too young to satisfy the feelings of lust that come with the onset of puberty as a man would, Tyler–as adolescent males are wont to do–took matters into his own hands. “He seems to spend a lot of time in the bathroom these days,” his mother noted with concern to her husband, and he explained the birds and the bees of teenaged boys to her. “I had no idea,” she exclaimed with horror. “When I was that age I got my kicks staying up late making fudge.”
Max Quigley told his wife the changes their son was going through were normal, and not to be concerned. Until, that is, he noticed that the real estate section was missing from the local newspaper every Thursday.
“Every week it would be gone,” he says. “Then I saw Tyler taking it into the bathroom with him one night.”
Tyler has since been diagnosed with “homanism,” a portmanteau word combining “home” and “onanism” coined to describe compulsive self-abuse by a boy that conflates his adolescent sex drive with the value of his parent’s home. In Tyler’s case, his diverted sex drive causes him to seek relief while scanning pictures of female brokers who receive the self-conferred prizes the real estate industry awards itself to create the impression of a perennially-hot market, rather than Victoria’s Secret lingerie catalogs or glossy soft-porn magazines such as Playboy.
“Look at this,” Tyler says as he shows this reporter a full-page spread featuring the Broker of the Week, Broker of the Month, and Broker of the Fortnight at Price & Edwards Realty, a local firm. “These babes are hot, and they really know how to show your home to its best advantage!”
“How about a Land’s End catalog? They have very slimming swimwear for, er, ‘plump’ ladies.”
His parents are only now coming to the realization that their mutual fascination with the value of their home may have led their son astray, and they have tried to dissuade him from crossing the line from normal teenage feelings into perversion. “I show him the Penthouse and Hustler magazines when we go to the barber shop,” his father says, but Tyler says his health teacher says each person’s sexuality is unique, and refused to change to more conventional outlets of expression.
“Sweetie, some of those ladies are mommy’s friends,” Sheryl is heard to plead in the next room as Max shows me his son’s leaf collection from his 8th grade science fair. “I don’t want you thinking impure thoughts about them!”
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Blurbs From the Burbs.”