Monday, February 14, 2011

Boys Vs. Girls

How is it that little boys can be so different from little girls?

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I survive examples of this every day. Sometimes I feel like I got buried alive and barely managed crawling from the grave.  Yet by some testament of God's love I'm still here blogging about it.  My little girls never pulled out the vents or parachuted from the top bunk.  They never shoved G. I. Joes in the oven, threw chocolate cheerios at me as I drove or tested my best plates as frisbees.  Yet my boy, who looks like an innocent, Michelangelo cherub, does all of those things.  He keeps me on my toes, in a small size of pants and completely stocked in strong coffee!

The differences between the sexes are amazing and they remind of a story that happened when I was fifteen.  Sometimes boys do crazy things.

I sewed a swimsuit for the first time.  I puffed with so much pride you wouldn't believe it.  The suit was something similar to this number, just without the straps:

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I'd smocked something for the first time.  The top glistened beautifully: I swore the damn thing could have sang--if it had a voice; flown--if it had wings.

So, I did that and felt awesome.  I called my best friend and we decided to swim at the rec center, just so I could test out my new suit.  I couldn't wait to wear the thing.  I wondered if anyone would ask where I'd bought it.  If they did, then I'd say, "I made this.  It's even smocked.  Cost me less than five bucks and that's better than a double coupon special!"  My fifteen-year-old arms got goose bumps as I thought about it.  I smiled wider than a rainbow, so excited to go swimming that hot summer's day.


I donned my new suit and everything went well at first, until I walked from the dressing room.  Some of the most popular kids from junior high were outside.  They played chicken at the far end of the pool, and to my horror that's where my friend wanted to go.  I would have been fine staying in the kiddie section.  Who cares that the water was two feet deep.  I could have sank down and no one would have noticed me.  The kids there sang "Red Rover" and I knew that song by heart--every word.  I just didn't want to go by the cute boys and those snobby girls who wouldn't befriend me anyway.

But my friend insisted on pulling me along.  "Don't you dare go in the kiddie pool!  That water looks yellow!  Next year, we'll be in high school.  If we ever want to be friends with the popular kids we need to make it happen now."

I really didn't care about clicking with the popular kids.  I'd helped some of them with homework throughout all of ninth grade, and knew enough to be happy in the kiddie pool.  It wasn't that they were horrible people, we just had different ideas of fun and completely different standards.  While they went out drinking and toileting papering, I went to the mountains and played my violin.

As we walked closer to that end of the pool, I nearly died.  One kid there, who I thought seemed chiseled from a perfect stone, watched me as I walked.  I didn't want to go closer.  I folded my arms and whispered to my friend, "Why do we have to go over there?  They can see us!"  I wished I had Frodo's Elven cloak, then I'd turn invisible, take my stupid home-made suit and run.  None of those girls would be happy I'd spent less than five bucks on my suit!

"I'm sure they can see us,"  she snorted.  "We're gonna love high school.  This is our chance."

"At what?  Making fools of ourselves?"

She continued along and I reluctantly followed like the second henchman they always have in Disney movies.  Then before I could convince her to turn around she ran and did a cannonball not too far from the cute guy I'd had a crush on for TWO YEARS!


My friend surfaced and shook her wet hair from her face.  She grinned and her bright teeth shone next to the rippling water.  "Jump in, Elisa."



The cute guy winked at me and then as if getting a great idea started chanting, "Cannonball, cannonball," like he led an army of good looking vikings to battle.  I couldn't believe he'd even looked at me.  I know I blushed and folded my arms even tighter around my body.  Now, don't get me wrong, I was normally a spunky kid, I just felt shy standing there--in my swimsuit--in front of all the popular kids and the viking captain!  But it felt nice for them to chant at me, like they needed me as more than a tutor.  So I balled my fists and got ready to run toward the pool.


Now before I go on, let me tell you that smocking can be a peculiar thing.  It's not as easy as it seems and I should have tested my skills a bit more before going to the rec center. 

When you smock you have to cut out a section of fabric twice as long as you want it to end up.  That's because the elastic bobbin thread (sewn on the inside) will make the fabric scrunch together.  Here's an example from the bodice:

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After you start sewing the elastic on the inside, you should tie it in several knots so the stretchy sections won't randomly spring free from the thread and fabric.  


I didn't tie enough stupid knots! I guess that's why my top fell off as I listened to their stupid chanting and jumped toward the pool.  After surfacing, it took me a second to realize what everyone was laughing at.  When I saw my top floating near the "Viking Captain," I crossed my arms again, went under the water and huffed out some bubbled air.  I didn't want them to see me.  I wanted to run away, but I was half naked!  I bobbed from the water, only letting my eyes show at first.  I glared at my friend, even though she hadn't made the stupid suit the elastic had sprung from.  She paled, horrified, knowing I wouldn't go near my top that swam next to the cute guy I always talked about.  She hopped toward it.  It looked really wide floating there, reminding me of Cinderella after all the magic had worn off--that fabric had gone back to its true double-wide form.

Now this is how boys are different from girls.  My friend would have thrown the top to me, closed her eyes in embarrassment, told me she was sorry.  She wouldn't have done what the "Viking Captain" did.  He snatched the top faster than anyone else and instead of throwing it, he swam right up to me!  "Nice suit.  Where'd you get it?  I've never seen one like this before," he said.

Really, was he going to play that game?  We all knew the suit sucked!  I didn't want to have afternoon tea and chat like old gossips.  I still didn't have a top on!!!  He held it out, waiting for me to grab it.


"I always had a thing for smart girls," he whispered.


I glared at him and snatched my suit.  I wanted to smack him, sew him a suit that sucked and could cause embarrassing moments.  


"So, you wanna go out sometime?" he asked, being the lord of bad timing.


"I wouldn't go out with you, even if you bought me the best swimming suit in the world.  I bobbed away, trying to be dramatic, and look classy.  I know I failed, but at least I'd had the last word.  I pulled my drippy top tightly around myself and waved as I got out of the pool.  


I never did try to fit into the popular crowd after that, even though my friend did.  She started dating the "Viking Captain" while I excelled at the violin and got good grades.  I hope their relationship turned out better than it probably did--because he was nuts.  A classic example of how boys can be very very different from girls!