The Atlantic

Growing Up Without Jane the Virgin

On the show, men cry, embrace empathy, and are open of heart. Why one writer wishes he’d been able to watch it as a kid
Source: The CW

At the age of 5, I heard the first lie I ever recognized. It was the 1990s and I was in elementary school, an endeavor that included being woken up before sunrise by my mother. “You have to get up,” she would say. My mom was in nursing school and had long days, meaning I had long days too, ones that began before early-morning cartoons excited my older brother and sister and me into being. Days were bookended with TV shows, the age-appropriate ones reminding me that I was the youngest, which made me try to stretch my understanding to the older kids’ level. But none of us knew what was age-appropriate to begin with, so we also watched whatever was popular, like Saved by the Bell and Married With Children. Those shows told lies, but I didn’t know that then.

The first lie I recognized came when my classmate Amanda said I was the one who used crayons in

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