Primary school gossip was scandalous to say the least. Paper notes passed up and down grades, between friends – cautious of peering eyes. These were days before the DMs – I am talking about days before mobile phones and snapchat.
Once upon those times, adolescent gossip would litter the playground attracting adolescent curiosity. Boy telling boys about a boys crush on a girl, and for some reason or rather, fits of trumpeting laughter followed suit.
News spread surprisingly fast in those days and by the end of that day, the girl is beyond embarrassment.
She did not solicit the attention of the entire primary school, nor did she request to be the object of the boys infatuation. Her embarrassment was uneasy.
Her teachers watched as she cowered into that place in herself she would become all too familiar with growing up.
Beauty betrays the beautiful, because the ugly want it more.
Her tears are brittle shards of glass her mother has to pick up before the end of the day. A patchwork princess to be put back together again. Consoling the young girl in the soothe of a mothers voice, “it is nice to be liked by a boy…”.
What is she really telling her daughter? What else could she tell daughter?
The boy is heralded as the hero for sailing across that sea few adolescent boys learn to swim across to conquer that last bastion. Boy has conquered girl.
Boy has done exactly what TV dad, brother, uncle, and mom said he should do, “let her know you like her”. He did exactly that. He made sure everyone in school told her he liked her. No one would let her forget that.
Next day, young boy goes to school with flowers and a teddy bear. It was not Valentines day. It was not her birthday.
Young girl is not at school. She now knows what it is to be an object in boy’s eyes’.
Such is that awkward dance of young love that we would defend as only cute and harmless young love. True that they are some of life lessons that we need to learn when we are young.
Lessons I admit I have been guilty of learning, and now cringe at and wouldn’t willingly admit too. Apologies to all the women who I have scarred for life, I was young and didn’t know better.
Yet, it is a lesson that has irritably surfaced after reading an article by Clementine Ford on the ulterior side to Grand Romantic Gestures.
It irked me for a while.
Of course, there are always two sides to the story, but I guess I had never listened to the antithetical voice to my male privilege, let alone my black male privileges. Hearing it put the way Clementine did was then a proverbial slap to the face.
Here was another feminist trying to ‘kill chivalry’ and displace the male ego yet it somehow made sense.
Okay Clementine, you have my attention.
In a bid to see if there were any sympathisers to my own irritations, I sent the article out to several of my more astute female friends to get their opinion.
Surely there was some semblance of truth that could be taken from the grand romantic gesture learnt from romantic comedies?
Girl meets boy, boy makes move through some outlandish romantic gesture but girl is not interested in boy. Audience sympathises with boy and think girl is silly. Girl is made to be confused. Girl is made to realise girl actually liked boy. Audience is satisfied that girl finally came to her senses. The end.
Silly girl should just stick to the script.
An underlying neo-caveman romantic plot – as long as boy gets girl, it is good.
Patchwork princess will come to her senses soon and like-like primary school boy for his persistence.
Clementine’s opinion was surly an anomaly on the landscape of romance….right?
by Hans Lee