GIRLS AND BOYS
Every school-day morning, my wife and I take our 5-year-old daughter, Sophie, to her elementary school. We go to the cafeteria, where we wait, along with many other children and their parents, for the teachers to come and take the students to their classes. It's a loud, happy, social scene, the cafeteria, and a rare chance for parents to watch their children interact with classmates.
There's a boy in Sophie's kindergarten class who clearly has a crush on Sophie. Every day when we get to the cafeteria, he comes right over and says "Hi, Sophie!" She generally ignores him; she pays attention only to her girlfriends. But the boy does not give up. The other day, he brought something to show her: It was the instructions to his father's digital watch -- one of those little booklets, written in like eight different languages, that tell you how to set the time, date, month, etc. -- the booklet you always lose 15 minutes after you buy the watch, which means if the date ever gets off, you have to throw the watch away.
When we got to the cafeteria, the boy came running up, holding out the booklet. He said, "Sophie! Look at this! It's for my father's watch!" Sophie glanced at the booklet for perhaps one millionth of a second, then went back to chatting with her girlfriends. The boy was disappointed; clearly, he had thought Sophie would be wowed by the the watch instructions.
Seeing his face, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, as Sophie's dad, I'm glad my daughter is not easily impressed by boys. On the other hand, as a former little boy who tended to have crushes on unobtainable girls, I sympathized. My guess is that the boy is in for a lot of this sort of disappointment before he figures out how to impress girls. I personally tried humor, which allegedly is attractive to the opposite gender, but you could not prove that by my experience in grade school: I could make loud farting noises with my hands, but for whatever reason the girls managed to resist me anyway.
So farting noises and watch instructions are not what girls want. My guess is that the boy in my daughter's class will spend years trying to figure out what they do want. I wish him luck.
But not with my daughter.