Girls are stunningly treacherous. They can cut other girls, adults, and especially boys to the bone with just a glance. I admit to having a touch of this myself and my own girls have been known to flatten more than a few egos. Raising my girls I saw the same brutality in their friends, calling boys by nicknames that were cunningly cruel. Teasing and plotting just seems to come natural to girls. I always viewed this trait as good preparation for the big mean world. Girls and women have to be strong and controlling to avoid being passed over or over looked or just condescended to.
Then I had a grandson.
Presley just turned 9, prime age for those girls to turn that seemingly inborn scorn on him. Not unsurprisingly I feel as if I have to prepare him and protect him as best I can. I want to tell him about his mama and his aunts doing the same to boys and I may even tell him about some of my own meanness. I remember nicknaming a boy Vomit, another Booger Foot. Vomit’s mom even called me and asked that I stop with the name calling and I remember wondering what was so awful about a nickname?
I will tell him to get a thick skin fast where girls are concerned. The torture will stop in a few years and then the real trouble starts. By middle school every word he speaks in conversation with a girl will be discussed and analyzed among her circle of friends and then widely reported. Get used to it. This will be an activity the girls will maintain until they marry.
I will tell him to remember his already excellent manners. Nothing will take the wind out of a bitchy girl’s sails like holding a door for her or giving up your seat for her. This also messes up the analysis efforts. Imagine the circle of girls wondering what in the world is up with that manners thing?
I will tell him to learn to dance. I know, it is old fashioned and out dated but trust me on this one buddy. And I do not mean fast, not touching dancing. I mean hold her in your arms and slow dance. By middle school you will need this one. It is fine to just sway from side to side the first time because you will understandably be nervous. But after that you should be at ease and begin to move around some. No further training or advances in technique is required. This one will remain a handy and versatile tool for most of your personal relationships.
I will tell him that a slow dance is the perfect way to end an evening. It will leave you both happy. I promise that it will and she is very likely to say yes to another date even if you step on her toes.
I will tell him that there are some songs that are sure things. You ask a girl to slow dance to some of these and she is yours forever or sometimes what seems like forever. “My Girl” by the Temptations or “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton are a couple of sure things. Yes, they are old, crusty, moldy, corny, predictable clichés and I promise you that I am not wrong about them. You ask a girl to dance to either of these wherever you are, even in the grocery aisle at Publix. For this she will love you and forgive you many things.
I will tell him that girls are girls forever. We don’t outgrow it, we just learn to control it a little better. I will tell him that the bitchiness covers a wealth of insecurity, the cruelty eases pain of uncertainty, and that being asked to dance sometimes magically soothes those demons and lets us believe.