The Female of the Species is More Deadly Than the Male
Last night while Girl-child was bathing, she opened the shower curtain and asked, “Mama? Why do male lions have manes?”
“Well, male animals and birds and creatures always have brighter colours and grow longer hair and bigger feathers to attract the females. So they can get together and have babies.”
Later, when I was tucking Girl-child in bed, we chatted about the birthday party she’d been to earlier in the day. It was a party of her kindergarten class, plus a few other friends of the birthday girl, all told, 30 children. THIRTY. In a cramped room at the community center. With ONE clown, one craft, and one Chicken Limbo game. Plus enough food to feed her entire elementary school. It was chaos, sometimes controlled, sometimes propelling the adults present to wonder if they made stun-guns for the 6-year old set.
“Jack doesn’t like me”, Girl-child stated flatly as I pulled her Strawberry Shortcake comforter up to her chin.
“Oh? Why do you think that?”, I asked, dreading the answer.
“Well, he’s always yelling in my face and running by me and touching me and he sings ‘Girl-child! Girl-child!’, and he’s too loud and touches me and then runs away.”
“OOOHHHHHHH”, I said, on my quick mom-thinking feet. “Remember earlier when you asked me why male lions have manes? Well, male animals have prettier feathers and manes and louder voices to attract the females, right? To show off? It’s not so different with people. Male humans don’t have feathers or manes, but they do have voices they like to use REALLY LOUD, and hands they like to touch with, and they like to yell in your face to get your attention. To show off. They’re just like animals! The boys think, ‘Grr, look at me! I have to show the girls how STRONG I am, how FAST I am, how FUNNY I am…grrrrr!’ But the girls are REALLY thinking, ‘Doh, he’s so siiiiiiiilly!’
Girl-child laughed. “What does “show off” mean?”
“Well, it means to think you’re better than everyone else, to make people pay attention to you, to do silly or wacky things so someone watches you.”
“Do that part again”, Girl-child said.
“The part with the GRRR!”, Girl-child giggled.
“Boys think GRRRR, I have to flex my MUScles, and run REALLY fast and YELL IN THEIR FACES, yeah!, and the girls think, “Pffft…he’s just a silly silly boy!”
Content with that, Girl-child snuggled down in her bed, smiling, clutching her asexual orange giraffe, looking like a Mary Cassatt painting.
I didn’t tell Girl-child that not all boys are that way. That the quiet boys also deserve to be noticed, and have their own charm. That everything changes when you get older, and sometimes it doesn’t. That women have their own foibles, and their own way of showing off. That her own mom has posted photos of her breasteses on the internets, and that's showing off. That everyone’s different, and my sweeping generalization shouldn’t be taken as gospel, oh no, not by a long shot. But I figured, what the hell, there’s plenty of bathtimes in our future, and plenty of opportunities for clarification and ‘girl-talk’.
Things like, she should wait until she’s 25 to post pictures of her cleavage on the internets, and never disclose her true location.