BY DARREN HANDSCHUH
As I watch my children get older, I harken back to the days of my youth and think, “Am I ever glad that is over.”
I remember that transitional stage of life when I went from being a kid to a young man and all the confusion that came with it.
The biggest area of confusion revolved around members of the female persuasion.
I can remember the actual moment girls became girls in a much more significant manner.
It was near the end summer holidays going into Grade 8 and I saw a girl from school who had always been a Tomboy.
She was one of the best athletes in the school and her nickname was Sam, which was an abbreviation of her last name.
I had known her since Grade 2 and never thought of her as anything more than one of the first picks when choosing a team.
But seeing her at the mall a few days before school started again, she went from being Sam to being Shelly.
Anyone standing close by may have heard a barely audible ‘ping’ as my brain switched from ‘Girls are icky’ to ‘Helloooo ladies.’
From that point on girls took on a whole new meaning.
The problem was communicating those new-found feelings. It is no secret that young men are not the greatest communicators in the world.
Actually, many fully grown men have a hard time communicating which might explain the never ending series of wars.
While girls could most often express their feelings verbally and with insight, guys would likely just mumble something before punching the girl in the shoulder.
Nothing says “I like you” like smacking them on the arm.
The way a young man communicated with a young girl was also dependent on the environment.
If it was winter and a young lad was smitten with a young lass, there was a good chance the lass was going to end up face first in the snow or clobbered by a snow ball as the young lad attempts to express his feelings.
Not possessing the words to say how he feels, the young man decides hurling a ball of compressed ice particles at the fair maiden will get the message across without the need for verbal interaction.
When he gets older, he figures out intelligent banter is a much more effective way of getting a girl’s attention.
Mind you, pushing someone in a snow bank does get their attention, but usually not in a positive way.
Girls have a much different – and more civilized – approach to the opposite gender. The girl will try to engage the young man in conversation, or maybe try to help him with his school work or something as a way of spending time with him on a meaningful and intellectual level.
For the guy, in the winter anyway, young love is expressed with projectiles of the snow variety.
In the non-winter months other methods of communication must be devised. In elementary school, chasing a girl with a snake that was found in the tall grass was one way of saying, “You’re kind of cool.”
At that age, the young Romeo may not know why he feels this way, but for some reason he feels the need to scare a particular girl.
If a snake could not be found then a bug, worm or other objects could be used. They just had to be scary or gross, because as every young man knows, a young girl will like you if you frighten them or make them feel nauseous.
As they head into the teen years, snakes and other such critters are replaced by more mature forms of communication.
For example, young men will try to impress the girls with their video-playing skills. He is sure she will be amazed at his ability to get Scooter to level nine without stopping even once.
He will spend hours and hours impressing his love interest, who, no doubt, will sit in absolute awe of what a big, strong man he is because he can defeat the ice dragon before it melts his suit of armor.
Guys will also try to impress the opposite sex with acts fuelled by testosterone.
In the animal world, gorillas beat their chest and jump around to show how big and strong they are, while in the human world, um, well, actually it’s not that different.
They may not actually thump their chests, but teenage boys will find a plethora of other ways to strut their stuff.
Thank God for sports, or teenage boys would be walking around with sore chests and girls would be wondering what the hell they are doing.