Making the Case for Boys

“Mommy, have you ever had a good experience with a boy?” my fourteen year old asked, laughing.

We were telling stories, the ones about my life with the other gender, the males. I have some stories, not many, but some. Interestingly, all of them have elements of disaster, slap-stick and incredulity. They are not the usual tales, I do not think. Most people don’t have boys showing up at their doors flanked by psychiatric nurses, just wanting to say hi, I do not think. 

“That is a movie,” Daphne went on. “I can see it.”

My twelve year old agreed, falling out of her desk chair.

“Did I tell you the one about taking the dog on the train and being kicked off in New Jersey because you are not allowed to take dogs on trains? Flash, did I tell you the one about Flash?”

“Uh, no.”

Well, he was a dog, yes, but really a symbol of my misguided and pathetic devotion to a boy who didn’t, well, reciprocate the feeling, and yes, we waited on the platform somewhere between Philadelphia and Manhattan as train after train blew by, sending our hair/fur into our eyes. Our squinting, visionless eyes. Our what-have-we-done now eyes, because, hey, it was not just me. Flash could have said no.

I have two girls who will soon be interested in boys. Given my history, I could easily suggest to them that they skip the whole experience. In fact, I have, I admit, suggested just that, throwing out the idea that they could sidestep the whole thing by selecting, now, two sons of people I know, dear friends of mine, with solid psyches and brilliant brains. It would make so much sense. They could forget we know them, if they wanted. When they were six, they bought in. Now, it is another story.

“Mommy, you are crazy.”

Okay, then. 

I am left to guide them through the process, when it happens, and I am preparing, mentally. It runs counter to my  current philosophy that boys are like death, you know, with the five steps, but okay, I will commit to the task, as it is a maternal duty. I want my girls to grow up and find the most wonderful mates, yes I do, even if I didn’t. But how, I ask myself, does someone with my clear and disastrous resume impart the right guidance? How does someone who failed the course now teach the class? 

I will have to rely on theory, not personal example. And movies. Movies are good. And motorcycles. When we see one, I point to it and tell them, “If you ever get on one of those things with someone who would drive one of those things, a person like that, with the buckles all over his torso and no graduate degree, you will encounter mayhem in your lives.” 

The whole thing worries me. Don’t make the choices I made, make the choices I would make now, the ones you don’t actually see. Make those. Unless you want to write about it later on. More later. So much more…