The Book Stop Blog is featuring excerpts from chapter 1 of The Whole Guy Thing: What Every Girl Needs to Know about Crushes, Friendship, Relating, and Dating by Nancy Rue and available from Zondervan.
“It Was Easier When They Were Annoying Little Pests.”
Take a minute to remember back when you were in, say, fourth grade. Maybe fifth.
The bell rang and the boys bolted out of the building already yelling — about what, nobody knew — and immediately got into an activity that involved throwing something or climbing on something or jumping from something or concocting something. Punching each other for no apparent reason was often part of that. If they stopped moving and started talking, it was either to plan the next throwing-climbing-jumping-concocting-punching thing, or to agree on how to get the most squealing out of the girls with their throwing-climbing-jumping-etc.
They were complete pains, but they were predictable. If a disagreement arose among them, they solved it with either a shove or a shout, and five minutes later (if it even took that long) they were back to throwing-climbing-jumping as if nothing ever happened.
And then there were you girls.
You strolled out of the building, sometimes arm in arm, already chattering, and you sorted yourselves out into groups. One group always formed a knot by the fence. Another gathered around the playground equipment that nobody played on any- more because that wasn’t cool. (The swings and see-saw were now more like furniture.) Still another group hung out by the water fountain, because all the boys ended up needing a drink at some point after all that throwing-climbing-jumping-concocting and punching. And even though they could be little pains, there was something mildly fascinating about them to those few girls who could tolerate them for more than seven seconds.
Whether you made it your business to be around them or not, you most likely thought certain things about boys:
“They HAVE to show off, as if people would forget they’re there if they don’t. Like that’s gonna happen . . .”
“They’re so gross! What’s with that disgusting noise they make with their hands in their armpits? And burping the Pledge of Allegiance? Really? Body sounds and fluids are that hilarious?”
“It’s like making us scream is their career.”
“I want to stay away from them, which is pretty easy because, except for the making-me-scream part, they act like I have some weird disease they don’t want to catch.”
You probably complained—most likely to your father, since he was a boy once—that males were annoying, to which said father most likely told you they purposely bugged you because they liked you. You could not figure out the logic in that, but you didn’t spend much time worrying about it, because you had more important things to concern yourself with. Like your BFF and the girl drama that was constantly taking place.
Yeah. You thought that was drama.
Sometime around sixth grade, give or take a year, stuff like
this probably started showing up in your mind:
“I want guys as friends, but I’m too embarrassed to talk to most of them. If a guy’s good looking, that makes it even harder. I had a lot more guts with guys when I was little!”
“I find myself wondering who will ask me to dances and stuff, if anybody. Is that good or bad?”
“I’m not allowed to date yet, but when I see all these happy couples together, I feel like people think no one wants to date me. Then I feel like a loser.”
“I really want a boyfriend. I just want a guy to hug me and protect me. I daydream about it a lot. For hours.”
“If I meet a guy and he’s my age or a little older, I immediately start thinking about our wedding!”
“I want a guy to notice me. That’s all.”
I’m not making this up. Like all the girl quotes in italics you’ll find in this book, they come directly from girls on my teen blog “In Real Life” or girls who have emailed me privately. I have dozens like them in my file, with more coming in all the time. As soon as the tween girls graduate at thirteen from their blog (“Tween You and Me”), the whole subject comes up again: “Should I be thinking about boys this much? Shouldn’t I be concentrating more on God? If there’s no point in dating until I’m ready to get married, like my dad says, what am I supposed to do with all these feelings I’m having now?”
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