Friday, May 31, 2013

Boys Let Go of Childishness...Eventually

After teaching for 20 years it comes as no surprise to watch boys show-off in social situations in a middle school. Each day boys are engaging in impulsive and even childish behavior when confronted by girls who “like” them. In some ways, boys just can not help themselves and their erratic behavior since, “the typical teen girl has a stronger connection between the areas of the brain that control impulse ... and judgment” (Vargas and Goldberg). Lacking this judgment, boys show off in the most obnoxious of ways when the girls they like are nearby.

We can agree, girls and boys are indeed different, but when it comes to connecting with someone they like, girls are wired to be more thoughtful at an earlier age...and boys are, well, not. This difference in development explains part of the reason why most girls support each other when it comes to their current heartthrob, and boys, well, don’t.

Boys yell at other boys.
When rumors circulate that a certain girl “likes” a certain boy, plug your ears. The boys, baboons in cargo shorts, are about to yell. Usually, they shriek obnoxious jokes or joyful sounds that are sort of a cross between a grunt and a malfunctioning tuba.

Boys shove and push each other. 
When “the girl” they like is near the boy, stand back girls! Boys will swing fists and collision shoulders. From a distance, some may fear a fight is breaking out, but the boys will be laughing and snorting and butting each other into lockers like young rams. The girl, barely acknowledged, is disappointed that the boy did not talk to her and usually walks away.

Boys Meltdown. 
When confronted by a girl delivering a message that their friend is interested in him, or (worse) the boy is confronted by the girl herself, boys will do one of two things--grow really quiet (which means panic) or they make a stupid comment (which also means panic) sandwiched by various stuttered fragments of thought.

Girls Retreat for Reinforcements.
By comparison, when approached by a boy they like, a girl will retreat in the opposite direction. Maybe it isn’t a full out sprint, but they will burrow behind a trusted friend. The friend can read this signal and will usually rally for her gentle friend. She will take control and address the boy, thereby confusing him with talking. Disoriented by words, the boy, turns to the trusted confines of the men’s room or the water fountain. This is a great example of the “girl code” of which I have only heard about and never had access to myself.

Girls Put Stock in Scouting Reports. 
Girls like to send a representative out into the wild to scout out any sense that the boy could possibly somehow be interested. However,this tends to be difficult for the girls to ascertain since most boys are (again) distracted by talking--the sounds of words being formed by the lips--and girls know this. It is a part of their scouting report. And this is why the greatest-kept secret between boys and girls must be revealed here today. Boys, if you could only talk to a girl so much angst could be avoided. If you have trouble talking to THE girl then talk to her friend. The reality is that the friend’s opinion of you is very important part of the equation.This friend is scouting you out and the report she totes back to the troops will reflect kindly on you: “HE TALKS!”

In the end, it takes the great patience and perseverance of girls to help the boys let go of some of the childish ways carried with them from 6th grade and into 8th grade. Until someone tells a middle school boy what to do or somehow coaxes him to transform the energy of grunts and collisions into articulate and thoughtful conversation--then the social time in a middle school will remain a jungle of loud, obnoxious, and boisterous boys clinging to the sweetness of childhood. Just remember, girls, it isn’t their fault.

Works Cited
VARGAS, ELIZABETH, and ALAN B. GOLDBERG. "The Truth Behind Women's Brains." ABC News. ABC News Network, 28 Sept. 2006. Web. 31 May 2013.

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