« Three Men Looking Up at Trees. | Main | Mark Garry, Being Here (2008) »

October 16, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Heidi

I agree with Loreli - the end of a relationship will teach you a lot about yourself. A lot of the things I learned I haven't liked, though. I never thought I was a jealous person until one man decided he wanted someone else more than me, and it totally unwound me.

Another person showed me what a coward I can be in the face of real feelings. On the upside, one of these boy-men has shown me my capacity to give and accept love, beyond anything I've ever known before. And we're married, so that's cool.

I agree with Jen - always check out the relationship with the mama. It tells you a lot - not necessarily bad things - but things to pay attention to. I've learned that a lot of my husband's conditioned responses come from this relationship - what he thinks he's supposed to do. It helps me understand him better.

My mother always advised that we should spend time with a boy's family before we married him. I didn't really understand what she meant until I was older though. I've been married twice and both times, suddenly found myself in a group where I didn't know the 'rules.'

In my first marriage, my husband's mother's opinion was most important - he did whatever she wanted, he consulted her on things before he talked to me. And she expected it. In my second marriage, I've learned that, for one branch of the family, everything is always a secret. I learned that the hard way, AFTER I blew the surprise retirement party.

Neither time did I spend many hours getting to know the families. I don't think that would have changed my decisions, but it would have helped me negotiate the terrain with fewer stumbles.

And my growing up years have made a difference to what I know about boys. My interaction with every adult man in my young life revolved around the statement, "He seemed better/worse this time." I learned to walk on eggshells, keep my dreams to myself, try not to upset anyone, and be agreeable. But the problem with supressing your natural self is that eventually,you erupt. Abandon. So I could have used Kristina's advice - that sometimes, guys are just plain old nice. And they want what you want. Love.

Jen

Oh what a topic! If I had a teenage daughter here's what I was tell her about boys.

Be sure to take second and third looks at the shy ones, the quiet ones, the nerdy ones, the musical and artistic ones. For the most part, these are the boys that will truly give you their hearts, who will respect you, who will be kind to you.

Also, always meet the mama. You can honestly tell a lot about a boy by seeing how he treats his mama.

Kim

When it comes to boys, always make choices that you can live with. It's okay to do crazy things or things that your mom or your friends don't condone, so long as you're okay with them. You're worth it. Boys come and go, but you'll always be there in your life. Make sure that YOU are happy.

Kristina

I'm not too far out of being a teenage girl, and in my early 20s I have learned a lot about boys that I wish I had known when I was a teenager just trying to navigate through high school, hoping, wishing and praying they'd like me...

So, if I could share my wisdom (er, regrets?) with any teenage girl in the same boat today, this is what I'd say:

Boys, although they act cool and tough and want you to think that they'd rather hook up with you than date you -- they don't. They are just as scared and trying to fight their way through high school and each adolescent hardship as you are.

Boys are people too. With feelings just like you. They may not care what's in style and they may not listen when you talk about The Hills, but the right one will pretend to. They want to be loved for who they are and they want to love you for who you really are, too.

Word of advice: if and when you have a boyfriend - if there is something you want to talk about, give him time. Men and women think differently. We have different biological chemistry. Us girls can process a million things in our heads and boys just can't. You could be thinking "you didn't buy me flowers at all this year" which segues into "you never just think about me and do nice things out of the blue" to "why aren't you romantic?" This happens in a matter of five minutes in a girls head but to a boy it's a lifetime of wrongdoings and makes him feel attacked and he shuts down. Instead, say "honey I really love it when you buy me flowers, you haven't in a while could we maybe talk about how WE can be a little more romantic in our relationship?" Then give him some time to figure out his answer. He doesn't want to say the wrong thing. If he cares, and he will, he'll figure out what he wants to say and how he wants to fix it.

Moving on... Some boys aren't worth your time and your gut will tell you that. Don't go against it. Just because he's the captain of the football team, he drives a nice car and/or has the cutest smile doesn't mean his rude, degrading and/or childish behavior should be tolerated. At no age should you sacrifice having a boy open a door for you, hold your hand or tell you he thinks you're beautiful. If his father didn't teach him to do this, you don't want him.

Now, this isn't to say you shouldn't, every once in awhile, give him the benefit of the doubt or give him a chance - because he will grow out of his immaturity (at least the intolerable stuff.) Most of the time his acting silly and putting you down is his way of flirting. (Remember when boys used to throw rocks at you on the playground in kindergarten and then giggle and run away? This is what he's doing now, but instead of rocks he gives you a hard time about being short or makes fun of you for liking Justin Timberlake -- and, yes I'm speaking from personal experience.)

But, if nothing I say helps or you can only take one thing away from my teenage experience with boys, let it be this: do not change yourself in any way to make a boy like you. If he doesn't see your natural beauty and respect, love and admire you for it then he's not the one for you. And you don't have to find the one in high school, or college or at any given time in your life. It will work out - it just has to. So don't settle, don't act in anyway because you think HE would want you to. Be yourself, like what you like and stand up for yourself. If it's meant to be he'll only love you more for it.

Boys aren't all bad -- they're fun and our differences make life interesting. Embrace the differences and love the similarities. Life isn't always stressful and sometimes the little things just don't matter. It's fun every once in awhile to just watch football, drink beer and play video games. Try it, you'll see why he likes it so much :)

Loreli

They'll make you hate them and love them all at the same time. That's what I know about boys. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as with each and every encounter you have with a boy (or a man as they insist on calling themselves as you get older - even though most of them are just boys - just remember boys simply because you call yourself a man doesn't make it true) you'll walk away stronger and better than before. They are teachers of the heart and they will make you learn more about yourself than any book or class ever could. Whether they are your brother, father, son, grandfather, boyfriend, friend with benefits, crush or lover they will indefinitely change something about you.

But the sneaky thing about it is you won't even realize it until they are gone. Your first boyfriend hopefully won't break your heart, but if he does it because you deserve something grander - you won't feel this way (in fact you'll probably sit in your bedroom thinking of ways to inflict bodily harm upon him - but trust me the 'you hurt me - so I'm going to hurt you mentality' may be satisfying at the time but not worth the energy, and trust me boys like to know they have power over you - so don't give into that), eventually you will feel better after pints of Ben & Jerry's and girl talk and then one day you'll be OK and it'll kick you on your ass out of left field - in a good way.

But also remember boys are sneaky, they come in all shapes in sizes and sometimes the ones that seem good are snakes in disguise. And the ones that seem bad might just be the perfect one. Look past what you categorize as your "type" because sometimes the Christmas presents under the tree wrapped in the Sunday comics contain a jackpot. But no matter what, just remember that any boy you let into your life, you have the power to make the right decisions. The fun thing about life is that we never stop growing - unless we choose, and life is far to short to settle. Don't ever compromise yourself for someone else.

That's my nutshell of boys... I could continue but I'm not sure if I would stop :)

lauren ferguson

What do I know about boys?

Absolutely nothing. I am winging it everyday. I wish that I could say that I get the male species.

They do things that "only boys" do.

They like to break things, they like to cut things, they like to turn anything that they can into a pow pow or a sword.

They love their penis. They touch it. They rub it. They love to run around naked. They generally like to pee on things with it.

They find all kinds of things that girls would never even think about looking for... frogs, spiders, lizards dead or alive it does not matter.

Mine are only 4 so I am sure that their issues will turn into subscriptions by the time they are teenagers.

I am just holding out and waiting for them to get girlfriends so that I can pass all these wonderful stories along and embarrass the hell out of them!

HTH,
Lauren

Heidi

OK, I'll start. What I know about boys...just a quick couple...

1. I don't think I had any idea just how lonely a relationship can be at times. Even good ones can leave you wanting in particular moments - for someone who understands you, supports you when you're having a tough time. Helps out. That's what they mean when they tell you to hang on to your girl friends.

2. Boys are all salesmen, whether you realize that or not depends on how good they are at what they do.

The comments to this entry are closed.