We’re starting to enter “girls are from another planet territory” at our house. Picking up the children after field day yesterday, I was informed by both of them that they are social outcasts.
I don’t remember this sort of thing happening till junior high, but, OK…
Because I can only handle one drama at a time, and because my son elbows his way into attention while we’re in the car, I spoke to Zaphod first. And I was pleased to find out that his problem was something I could deal with.
Apparently, he’s a lot like I was in school; never approaching or talking to anyone, then wondering why nobody ever speaks to him. Having lived through this, I went into the whole “If you want a friend, you have to BE a friend” lecture. We talked about inviting some of his classmates over for sleepovers during the summer. But first, we have to get his room into habitable condition.
It was all very manly: We identified the problem. We engineered a solution. We’re beginning to execute it.
Then, it was my daughter’s turn.
I’m not an idiot – I sent Zaphod out of the room to do something else. After a few minutes, Trillian opened up to me. She spoke to me a while; sometimes in tears, sometimes not. I gathered a few names, and got the idea that the problem involved who was speaking to whom, and who sympathized with whom when they cried, and who shared their lunch with whom, and who they didn’t.
In the end, I’ll be honest with you, I had no idea what she was talking about.
But it was obvious that it was important to HER, and that was all that mattered. I’ve been married for a long time, and one thing I know is that when a female is talking to you like this, the absolute best thing a man can do is LISTEN. No plans, no execution. Just be the wall for the female to bounce the handball of her problems off.
I did this, and told Trillian to wait until Lintilla got home to talk about it some more, because Lintilla used to be a girl. Trillian found this funny, and I finally got a laugh out of her.
I did gather that Trillian has a problem that I can’t relate to, because I went to such a large school that there were sub-cliques I could “hide” in and take solace in. There was still somewhere where I could belong. Unfortunately, there are only 12 girls in the whole 4th grade at her school. There’s pretty much just room for one clique.
But there are two things I know. She DOES have friends (two in particular socialise with Trillian quite often), and this kind of thing sure starts earlier these days than I remember it.
Anyway, to a man, it’s hard to tell if playing “problem handball” with a female does any good. There’s no outcome, no solution.
But later that night, as Lintilla helped Trillian get into bed, Trillian said, “Tell Daddy I love him.” This isn’t the kind of thing she says all the time.
So, I guess I weathered my first female school drama test.