The art of letting them down gently

A is not interested in boys, yet. Of course, I say “yet” because it goes against the laws of nature to suggest that she will remain disinterested until she is 22, although I think K would like it very much if this were the case. (I am also making a great assumption here that boys will be her choice of romantic interest in the future – who knows? – but let’s go with it for now). Apart from a moment when she was about 4 when she picked up a copy of a magazine that I had lying around and told me to “look at the picture of this man, Mummy, he’s soooo handsome” (it was Ryan Reynolds. The girl has taste) she has not been remotely interested in boys in her class – smelly, stupid, or basically they are like siblings as she has grown up with them. She has boys as friends; she had one very special one who she used to talk about like he was her soul mate but he sadly moved away at the end of year 5. She gets on OK with boys – she has a brother and this helps her not to feel awkward around them, I think. Although, I have a brother and I still feel awkward around most men so not sure that actually has any bearing n this whatsoever….Anyway, you get my point – boys can be OK but mostly they are annoying and idiotic and irritating (is she wrong?)

I wondered when she started at secondary school whether this would change and she would start to make romantic attachments.

I can remember vividly the moment I noticed boys as Boys and not just boys. It was a friend of my brothers at secondary school and he had his ear pierced and was basically, in my eyes, drop dead gorgeous. Of course, I was just P’s little sister with the short hair cut and the awful A-line skirt and there was no way on earth he would ever see me as anything else. But this was actually the point. I really only ever had crushes on completely unobtainable boys – I think it was a way of keeping myself safe from rejection. If you are never, ever likely to get noticed then there is nothing to lose. You can suffer in your unrequited love from afar with no fear of discovery and the inevitable humiliation. It was only when I left school, got a job, started going to the pub and found the bolstering power of a couple of vodka’s that I started to be more realistic and put myself out there (that sounds wrong, I don’t mean it like that!) a bit more. I was always the one to end the few, very short relationships that I had. I think I enjoyed the flirting more than the actual “going out” bit!

Anyway, enough of me. Back to A. So, I have been waiting for her to mention names in more than just a “god he’s so annoying” way, but nothing. Which is great. Please don’t think I WANT her to be into boys yet; I don’t actually want her obsessing or being distracted by it all, but it is going to happen and I’m just bracing myself here. But today, she came in from school and after the usual “how was your day” (me) and requests for food (them), enquiries into homework (me) and assurances that it is all in control (them) A confided that she had felt a bit awkward in French. Apparently, a boy that sits behind her in class has been shamelessly flirting with her since they were put in a set together but has always kept it at that. Until today…..when he upped his game and asked her to go out with him. And her response made me feel chuffed. She told him that she was sorry but she liked being friends with him and didn’t want to ruin things by agreeing to be his girlfriend. He made a typical boy response of “oh, well, I was only joking anyway, so that’s fine” and they both laughed it off. Top marks to her for being so quick thinking and kind and not laughing in his face or pretending to be sick while shouting “NO!! What the hell are you thinking of?!!!” I am sure she will have other offers over the coming years (I am biased but she is lovely – inside and out) and I hope she will let them all down just as gently.

Until she is at least 22.



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