The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Venus and Mars start to spar early

Sit down. I have a huge revelation for you all. O.K. Here it is. Boys are different from girls.Yeah, I already knew that, too, but the Venus/Mars gap in perception still astounds me sometimes. For a few blissful but fool-hardy years, I was lulled into a gray area where my children enjoyed the same activities, the same TV shows, the same movies and actually played rather nicely together.

It was sweet while it lasted, but in truth, it was all a façade, swiftly shattered when they hit the preteen stage. Now I am kept busy constantly refereeing the difference between the two. My son’s arguments are sounding more and more “like a guy.” My latest lesson stemmed from both children being home sick all week.

During the last couple of days, I later found out (from my daughter, who happily ratted out her brother) that my daughter languished while my son paced. Yet when I got home, I found my daughter doing laundry, as she was out of dainties. My son was supine on the couch, insisting he still couldn’t lift a finger. What a performance.

More important, during that week, both of my daughter’s best friends called her daily to check up, chat, catch her up on things. Meanwhile, not one of my son’s friends called to ask after him. The really important thing is that this absence of communication didn’t bother my son at all. Is this foreshadowing, or what?

When he got healthy again, he simply walked downstairs and started playing with his buddies again. No recriminations, no suspicion that they didn’t like him anymore, absolutely no sense of rejection. It was as if the week of silence had never happened.

I queried my boychild about this. Why hadn’t his friends called him? Why weren’t they anxious now to get together? His response was, “No biggee, Mom. We just keep it simple. You girls just put too much effort into everything.”

Whew. If that ain’t the truth. I was forced to counter, though, that if someone didn’t put “too much” effort into things, the majority of “things” wouldn’t get done. He just laughed at me.

I know that my son has reached manhood, even though he is only 12. He has passed over into that estrogen-deprived realm of “What are you so upset about?” that can never be reversed.

I want to apologize now to his future girlfriends and wife. I really, really tried. I even made him put down the toilet seat.

For all the impact I have had on his sensibilities, I realize now he might as well have been raised by wolves. In fact, if some would like to take over the job, I think something can be negotiated. Give me a howl.


Jean Gillette is a wiser woman for having raised one of each. Contact her at [email protected]