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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Boys and Girls and How to be Best Friends

Tonight I will be helping out at the Primary 5, 6 and 7 disco. This involves doling out juice and crisps and generally skulking about waiting for an opportunity to be embarrassing.

I have helped at discos before and it's always highly entertaining, not least because of the opportunity to analyse the behaviours of the different sexes. Girls spend a lot of time talking to each other behind their hands and the boys mostly slide about on their knees.

Men and women, boys and girls. Nature versus nurture. Skipping stones or shell collecting. How many words, how many prayers, how many sleepless nights of tortured thought have been devoted to unpicking the intricacies of the attachment between men and women and how to sustain it?

A few years ago I was lucky enough to witness a brief exchange between some children of my acquaintance which told me everything I needed to know. (Names have been changed to protect the innocents.)

The scene: A holiday cottage. Three families are staying there over Christmas. The children have known each other since they were very small, but see each other rarely. Two girls of about five are seated in companionable silence at the kitchen table, drawing, cutting out etc. Then;

Alice: We are really good friends aren't we Jane?

Jane: Yes Alice. You are my best friend. Are you my best friend?

Alice: Yes Jane. We are very best friends. Best friends in the world.

Jane: Yes. We are such good friends people think we are sisters don't they?

Alice: Yes! We like all the same things and we play together all the time don't we?

Jane. Yes. We do. And that is why we are best friends.

Alice: Yes:

The following day Alice and a little boy, also about five, are sitting at the kitchen table in companionable silence drawing, cutting out etc. Then:

Alice: We are really good friends, arent' we John?

John: Eh?

Alice: We are best friends.

John: leaning away from Alice and looking spooked, "Whaaaaaaat!?!"

Alice: We are best friends. We are like brother and sister.

John: Oh, MAN.

John pushes his chair away and gets down from the table and goes to the sitting room.

Alice: Oh.

A grown-up suggests Alice take some sweets through to John and that they watch "The Incredibles" together.

Five minutes later, John and Alice sit together watching "The Incredibles". They laugh together and occasionally comment on the action. When it is finished John jumps up:

John: Alice, do you want to come upstairs and see my GoGos? I've got MILLIONS.

Alice: Sure.

They head upstairs. John can be heard excitedly telling Alice about his GoGo collection and the special bag he has for them. Alice is laughing.

And there you have it. Putting it into practice is, of course, another matter.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely.
    It's all just rearing its head in this house. Middle Boy, 8, has just fallen for his friend who's 7. He walks her home after they've played on the trampoline. I fear his heart will get broken.


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