Dealing With Boys (Letter to Ellie)

Boys Suck!!

Something that will bug me forever, Eliana, is that you will one day like boys. Even worse: boys will like you. A lot. You’re funny, pretty, smart, creative, confident (just today when mom asked you if you’re silly, you said, “No, I’m beautiful!”)…the list goes on. And while I will already hate the boy who marries you (kinda), I feel that it is my responsibility to give you the inside track on the majority of guys (there are some exceptions, but in many areas, we’re all the same) and what you need to watch out for.

Now I don’t worry about you ever having to stand up for yourself (the other day at day care, I saw you push a boy over when he tried to give you a hug. The fact that it was during bible story time, is besides the point.). But as you get older, a boy will take your attention and possibly break your heart. And it’ll suck. So before that happens, here are some things about boys you need to know.

1 – Boys Suck

Just right off the bat, they do. All of them.

2 – Boys are smelly

They all sweat a lot, some smell a lot worse than others but the all smell. Really bad.

3 – Boys live in a land of passive aggressiveness

You think you know what they are thinking or how they are feeling. You ask them for their opinion and they hem and haw at you. They get mad but mumble under their breath. They ignore you because they don’t know how to express themselves but desperately want your attention. Is he mad at you? At life? Just quiet? Is he a vampire? Rarely will you know how they feel and when you do, you’re sorry you found out. They know what, or who they want…it just takes them a while to know how to ask for it. (See Edward from Twilight…or so I’m told…).

4 – A lot of boys have dad issues

Boys will try to be just like or completely unlike their dad. A lot of what they are trying to find on the path to manhood has to do with figuring out how their dad feels about them (because THEIR dad never knew how their OWN dad felt about them…you see, men only do as they’ve experienced…). (When you’re old enough, see Good Will Hunting).

5 – A lot of boys are scared

They will never say it because men are to be heroes, leaders, soldiers and athletes (when’s the last time you saw a guys accountant or psychologist action figure?), but underneath it all, they fear. They fear failing, commitment, getting over their issues, never making it, being broke, doing life wrong, living in regret, growing up, zombies…you name it. When you meet “him” ask him what he’s scared of. If he says nothing, he’s a liar. If he says, “I don’t fear because_________”, he’s a liar. Now if he says, I fear this, but I bring that to God everyday, you’ve met someone who hopefully has a good sense of self-awareness. They’ll know that they can’t get over their stuff on their own. I should say, however, that because I am a cynic and because you are my daughter, I MIGHT not fully believe him so he and I might have our own coffee date to hash that out:). (When old enough see the movie Antoine Fisher)

6 – Boys suck at giving and reading signals

He won’t know if you like him and he’ll think you want him. Use words, not eye and ESPECIALLY NOT YOUR FACE!!!!! (Example: Every man who has ever lived. Period.).

7 – Boys want to be better

Even the really rough ones, when they are away from their crew, don’t want to be bad. Many of them want a better life for themselves and for ones they may bring into the world. Some are rotten apples who have been dealt a bad hand (whether they were spoiled or left alone). And if you confront them (and wade through the passive aggressiveness) and ask them about it, they’ll tell you. However, once they are back with their crew, it’ll be like it never happened (see The Simpsons episode where Nelson dates Lisa for an example).

8 – Boys often don’t know how to be the “starter“.

You won’t be sure if something should be happening or IS happening and he won’t say anything (see nos. 3, 5 &6). And so you’ll become the man to ask him what’s going on. That should never, ever be. If you have to go to him for that, you’ll have to do that for the rest of your life. And it’ll annoy the heck out of you. Think on that one.

9 – Boys will break your heart (knowingly and unknowingly)

At least some will do it knowingly. I will hunt them for sport. The guys who do it unknowingly…they are the worst. They led you on, didn’t know how to get out of it and they broke it off in an ugly manner. Urgh…boys really suck (Example: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World).

10 – Boys are territorial

They may not want to be with you but at the same time, they won’t want anyone else to be with you either. It’s really weird…and when you’re taken, they won’t know what to with themselves…watch out for guys who are naturally selfish. If they are selfish with stuff, they’ll also be so with you.

Bonus: Beware of the guy best friend. You may end up marrying him OR running after him like in “My Best Friend’s Wedding…”

Bonus 2: Boys suck. It’s true, kid. They do.

Bonus 3: Even the Christian ones can be sucky. That’s a whole other letter, kiddo.

There are so many more things I could say. And I’m no psychologist here. I just know a lot of guys, kiddo. And I was a boy too (and still am sometimes.). My prayer is that as you do life the right way, you’ll meet the right kid of guy who will take care of you and love you sacrificially and unconditionally. And something I have to remind myself of is that you will (i don’t know if it’s consciously or unconsciously) look for a guy who is either a lot like or the complete opposite of me. And so if I do life right (love my life, love your mom, you and your soon-to-be brother or sister), your standards will be set and you’ll be okay. And if I don’t, I’ll meet him and say (to myself, of course…maybe to your mom…), “You’re MY fault.”

And it will be.

I love you kiddo. And when a boy breaks your heart, we’ll sit on the couch, eat ice cream and plot our revenge.

I already have their graves dug out 🙂

P.S. This is not ALL guys, I know. Dudes, I got love for you. I just gotta give my kid the 411 on the bad ones! If you have a daughter, you know EXACTLY what I mean. None of you want a dummy son-in-law right?

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Anger-tweets, Annoyance, No Smiles & More…(Off-Days)

You know you’ve had one…

Something isn’t…right. Your timing is off, your rhythm is one beat behind, you’re slow on the uptake. Off.

If you’re normally thoughtful, you’re brash and too quick. If you’re funny, well…you’re just not. If you’re normally warm, you’re distant. Off.

My off-days consist of short answers, distant eyes (the kind that look over the shoulder while talking), not a lot of laughing and not a lot of patience. Becca gets it the worst because she gets it first (first person to see me in the AM, when I’m at my worst) so kudos to her for setting me straight when it’s really unbearable. I become very on-my-own with a book, a coffee and my phone and that’s about it. Just the other night, I said something to someone I know (or not enough, I suppose) and Becca, who was there with me, turned to me quietly and said, “That was mean”. And I knew she was right. Off.

So I’ve made a list of things I won’t do when I have an off-day because of lack of full judgement:

  • Twitter my frustrations: If someone has annoyed me, especially on this type of day, I’ve had the tendency to tweet a veiled remark toward the twitter-verse, aimed at them. Well that’s super immature and unprofessional. So I stay off twitter and blogs. Casual observations about random things, I’ll let slide (like being in traffic, people in a Starbucks, etc.). But if it’s personal, I leave it. And if I see something veiled towards me, I fight every human instinct and I leave it. But let me say this to all of us: If you’re annoyed/frustrated/mad with anyone, don’t blast them on twitter. It looks worse on you than on them. Do right. Call them. Make it right. Then offer sacrifices. Most things we get mad about are simple misunderstandings but putting it on twitter/Facebook/blogs makes it bigger and permanent. I think it was in The Social Network where it was said: The internet is written in ink. Along with that, even with emoticons, sarcasm doesn’t translate and 90% of convos are nonverbal. So, let’s think before we tweet:)
  • Make excuses: Some people use the line, “I was having an off-day so it’s okay” like it’s a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. I know myself enough now to know when I’m off so if I am confronted on something I did/said/chose, I simply say sorry and give the person the right of way.
  • Take it out on my family: Becca and Ellie deserve the best. If it’s been a really hard day, I’ll excuse myself and ask to take a 15 min nap. Then I try to give it my 100% until bedtime. It doesn’t always work but I try.
  • Leave it: If it’s an off day and I know it, I try to work through it. I try to smile, to be kind, to let the Spirit work in me and let Him work out what needs dat working. Is it an act? Nope. At least not to me. I’m not trying to be something I’m NOT, I’m rather aiming to be someone I SHOULD be.
  • Not be accountable: I have a small, close network of friends with whom I can say, “I’m off, keep your eyes open for me.” And they do, with loving, brutal honesty. We all need this. This may sound rude but I simply won’t let just anyone say anything INTO me. That type of relationship is earned and tested through fire. If you don’t have that network, build one over time with prayer, relationship and open eyes.
  • Not Smile: If I’m not smiling, I naturally look like I’m really angry or annoyed (I didn’t believe it until my students would point it out. Shout outs to Shiyomi and Jenna among others for that, um…revelation, lol). So I try to smile a lot. Sometimes I just don’t. I think the cashiers at Chapters think I hate them. I don’t. I just hate being asked for a bag all the time:)
  • Choose Wrongly: I don’t have to stay in a funk. I can choose to be better.

So that’s me and how I deal with MY off days. It’s still and I’m still a work in progress so there’s some days where I live these things out to a T. And then there are other days where I simply don’t. But thankfully, until I get called home, today is another day to allow God to work on me, to make me more like His Son. So an Off-Day is a chance to be turned ON on the next one.

Pardon the pun.

How do you deal with your off days? Let’s chat!