Boys Are A Bad Lot

Growing up I can't recall ever being given a single piece of dating or life advice concerning the opposite sex except one sentence delivered by my father when I was much too young to be doing anything with boys except smashing them in the face playing Prison Dodge. We had boy neighbors, the younger one was always having temper tantrums and that was about it. I had two sisters, a father who had no interests in traditionally male activities outside of lawn mowing, raking and taking out the garbage, chores I still believe must be performed by men and a domineering mother who did things like stain the deck, build stuff and work. I found boys and later men, irresistible, interesting, mysterious and frankly, a little sad. Yes, sad. I mostly felt sorry for them with their incredibly sensitive 'parts', their lack of couth and their constant need for affirmation. I affirmed them because it was clearly what they needed and expected to the point my sisters referred to me at one point as "the man magnet". I had great success with men because I was nice to them and mostly ignored their snits. Of course I also had awful, traumatic experiences with some men-a rape, a violent ex-husband, a secretly married boyfriend, etc. These individuals did not become representative of all men and so I remained hopeful. And yet, I saw what my father meant when he said, "Boys are a bad lot."

Then I gave birth to a boy, a fabulous son who put me through 72 hours of back labor and refused to breastfeed but clung to me like a limpet and used to hold my face between his two little paws and chant over and over again, "I love my mommy." It was very flattering and a little weird. He slept outside my room for a year on the floor after my husband and I split. I thought he was scared of something but the therapist said he was protecting me. I put down a sleeping bag and one day he stopped. When he was three he said, "Mom, you want to wrestle?" I didn't but I said yes and he proceeded to push me down and sit on me. This was unpleasant but I tried to be a good sport until it dawned on me that the wrestling had no end. It wasn't like slapjack which I always let him win, unlike his grandmother. It continued into infinity.

He became obsessed with Pokeman which meant we attended a half dozen Pokeman movies, a torture I can barely describe as I've tried to forget the experience of hours spent sitting in the dark trying to comprehend the plot of a story featuring bulbous, stupid and annoying cartoon characters poorly dubbed from Japanese into English. And then it was skateboarding. I became the "cool" skateboarding mom and we spent much money at the skateboard store with young men who convinced my son he would be a skateboarding star a la Tony Hawk. Hours of my life passed standing on our porch witnessing his "kick flip" which never worked because I was watching but if I didn't watch he was hurt.

And then it was guitar, acting, more guitar and bikes. He is very smart and very good at everything. Also, he's a boy so I don't really understand him any more than I understand my wonderful husband in the sense that the things that make them happy, ribs, watching sports, violent movies and lying to me, make me crazy. They both lie to me constantly and I can't tell because they are boys. They also try to make me feel guilty about their issues, dirty clothes, my not cooking enough meals, their happiness and they succeed to the extent that I feel awful and then they turn around and tell me they were kidding and they are fine and they love me and I'm a wonderful wife/mother but I'm too broken to really feel any better.

This blog was inspired by recent events including our two male cats, my son's stuff getting sprayed because, I swear to god one of those cats worships me and he and my son despise each other. I am currently washing everything he owns and trying to keep him from violence while feeling incredibly guilty because he is returning to college next week. Meanwhile, my husband looked at me with pity in his eyes last night as I attempted to wash my son's backpack and said, "You know what it is. You are surrounded by boys."

My father was right.


  1. Wonderful Molly! Yes, a bad (but oh so good!) lot! XOXO


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