Learning the Ways of Boys
So ignorant was I in the ways of boys that I naively thought, when Taz was little, that all gender differences were culturally imposed rather than inborn. I even got him a doll when he was about three, thinking, idealistically, that probably boys would love to play with dolls if only they had the chance. I showed him how to cuddle the dolly, hold it, rock it, and pretend to feed it.
“It’s like your baby,” I explained.
He immediately informed me that it wasn’t a baby, it was a passenger on a train. He lined the dining room chairs up and roughly sat the dolly down on a chair, then pretended to be the conductor, taking imaginary tickets and announcing imaginary stops.
Next, he went and got his little toy doctor kit and told me the dolly was sick. He proceeded to give it injections, take its temperature, wrap its leg up in a cloth bandage and give it an operation. I’m fairly certain he was planning an amputation, but I managed to save dolly before any limbs were severed.
All in all, he had a great time with that dolly, but he did things to it that I never would have dreamed of doing to a doll when I was little.
The Ways of Boys
Despite this early and somewhat shocking introduction to the concept that Boys And Girls Really Are Different, gradually I came to love the Ways of Boys. And the more time I spent around Taz and his brother and their friends, the more I related to them, and the less I found myself able to relate to girls. Eventually, girls grew even more mysterious to me than boys had ever been.
For example, I loved the way boys carried out their friendships. There was no gossip, no meanness, no exclusionary behavior, no teasing or tattling. If they didn’t like something, they’d just punch the other guy. And then, five minutes later, they’d be friends again. It was all so clear-cut.
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