Thursday, February 17, 2011

dear baby girl: understanding boys.

dear Baby Girl,

someday, you're going to think boys are less than yucky and more than spectacular. i'm sort of hoping this is a gradual process, but i'm not delusional enough to think it won't begin early.

(if you're anything like your mommy, you'll have crushes as early as the 2nd grade. oh ethan burlingame, why do i still remember your name? and the fact that you chased me around the playground incessantly?)

so eventually, i'm going to want to tell you all that i know about boys. and you're probably not going to want to hear it because you'll think i'm old (probably right, comparatively speaking) and that i don't know what i'm talking about (definitely wrong, as i have met and interacted with my fair share of crazy boys), so maybe i'll just start to record some thoughts here.

first of all, you want to think about boys as things that are NOT UNDERSTANDABLE.  at least for many years, that is, though i know this is fruitless advice because girls tend to make it almost a second job to analyze what boys are thinking and why they do what they do and try to figure them out ad nauseum infinitum.  i mean, you can do that--i suggest baking some cookies and settling in for a while, because these conversations are almost always long, extended, and vexing--but i'm just telling you that it's not likely to get you very far. 

because boys don't make any sense.

well, actually, they make perfect sense, but a sense in a way that makes no sense to girls.


they're transparent. what you see is what you get. you may find it mind-boggling to believe that a boy could really NOT be thinking ahead, be planning what he says and does, be contemplating the ramifications of what he does.  you would be, in many cases, wrong. i would say that, chances are, you would be entirely and completely wrong--if we are talking about a boy from the ages of, say, 12 to 18.  they just aren't that complex.

pretty much, they like shiny things.  and they like food. and if those two things go together, they are in heaven.

now you may think this indicates that i have a bad opinion of boys. in fact, i really don't.  i quite like them. i think their brand of living is a breath of fresh air.  maybe someday you'll have brothers, and we'll come to understand them better together, you and i, but in the meantime, let me just say that i think boys are awesome.

they're just not like us.

we like to make things complicated because we see the world as complicated. we see all of these different parts of the world, and all of these different components that all work together and how they work together and what they do and how they all affect each other and that can be exhausting.  boys don't really see that, in my experience.  they might see complexity, but they don't believe they have to engage with it immediately. they are excellent compartmentalizers--they will deal with what needs to be dealt with at the time that it needs to be dealt with, and not a minute before. 

this can come in HANDY, Baby Girl.  it's excellent in a crisis, it's excellent in a stressful situation, and it's outstanding when you need to see the world in a bit less cluttered way.

boys are refreshing in that way.

but that means that when you think that because he ate lunch with you, he's showing you that he really likes you and wants to date you and (you can take it from here...), that really might not be true. it certainly shows that he likes you enough to spend time with you (in my experience, boys don't really do what they don't want to do unless their moms are involved, and i doubt she was there prodding him on).  that, in and of itself, is a huge indication of how awesome you are.

but, Baby Girl, it doesn't mean he's in love with you.  sadly, i wish that it was that easy for girls to understand boys and boys to understand girls, but there's this whole process we all have to go through wherein we feel like we're lost in a country of people who speak nothing but a foreign language and we don't have an interpreter.  that's boy-girl life right there, until you end up somehow stumbling into someone who sort of speaks your language, or with whom you seem to have some sort of interpretive gift.

that's a good one. that's important.  because if, naturally, you can already bridge the gap a little, that one has potential to be more than just another crazy boy.  that one has the potential to be a good friend, or someone more important to you.

daddy and i, we understand each other.  i don't know how it happened entirely, because it is both learned and natural, but we don't need an interpreter.  we just...know.  that's the kind of understanding you want to have, eventually.

but before you get there, you have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what they're all saying. it's not the funnest job in the world, but it brings its own share of hilarity. 

just remember: they're not like us.  we're not like them.  they're hard to understand sometimes, but it's easier if you remember that they don't look at the world the way you do.  and sometimes, they're dumb.  but most of the time, they're pretty awesome.

(see? i told you i'd have lots to say--and this is just one tiny part of it.  complicated.  girls are complicated--even mommies.)

come what may, you just remember that you are wonderful, for all of the quirks and flaws and beauty and talents that make you you.  if a boy makes you feel otherwise, he is not speaking your language.  move on and keep your eye out for the one that does.


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