God knows I’m not a prude. As a teenager, I hid Playboys under my mattress, ogled the lingerie ads in the Sears Catalog and even knew about the secret place at my high school where you could look into the girls’ locker room shower.

On most Saturday nights, I was in the back seat of my ’57 Ford at the Autodrome drive-in in Radford, Virginia, wrestling with some young lady, trying to score the teenage sexual equivalent of a home run (funny how we learned early on to equate sports and sex).

In the immortal words of Meatloaf in his anthem to raging teenage hormones, the goal was to “see paradise by the dashboard light.”

Memories of those angst-filled days came back over the 4th of July weekend while sitting under a refreshment stand tent at a carnival in East St. Louis, Illinois, watching too many young girls parade by in the accepted attire of the times.

After an hour of so of this, I had to wonder: How in the hell does a teenage boy today keep his hormones under control? Lord, I had enough trouble when a glimpse of young female leg above the knee would satisfy the lustful cravings of a young man’s desire.

But now, with bare-midriff tops, low slung jeans, low-cut haltertops, thongs and see through blouses, there ain’t a hell of a lot left to the imagination.

We’re not talking about just 17, 18 or 19 year old hardbodies here, but 12 and 13 year olds wearing shorts low enough for the tops of thongs to show and blouses with enough open buttons to show what they may one day have to show.

Add to that enough navel, nose and eyebrow rings to start a jewelry store and you start to wonder just when it became acceptable for young women to dress like hookers.

Like most men, I enjoy looking at sexy young things, although at my age, “young” begins at about age 45. But I wonder if young girls shouldn’t at least go through puberty before letting all that they may or may not have hang out for public view.

Should a 15-year-old girl be parading around in public wearing jeans cut so low that they require shaving of pubic hair or shorts that ride high enough in back to show off butt cheeks? Are parents allowing this or are these nymphets changing into their CFM attire after they leave home?

If current teenage attire can shock even a dirty old man like me, has it gone to far?

I don’t have an answer. I do find it unsettling. If I had a teenage daughter right now, I’d probably lock her away until a safer age, say about 30 or maybe even 40.

Doug Thompson published his first story and photo at age 11 -- a newspaper article about racism and the Klan in Prince Edward County, VA, in 1958. From that point on, he decided to become a newspaperman and did just that -- reporting news and taking photos full-time at his hometown paper, becoming the youngest full-time reporter at The Roanoke Times in Virginia in 1965 and spent most of the past 55+ years covering news around the country and the globe. After a short sabbatical as a political operative in Washington in the 1980s, he returned to the news profession in 1992. Today, he is a contract reporter/photojournalist for BHMedia and owns Capitol Hill Blue and other news websites.