Have I ever told you about being the only girl growing up in my childhood neighborhood? I haven’t? That’s weird. The only other girls were down the street and around the corner, which was sometimes too far to go before dinner; when I was supposed to be practicing piano. But I hated staying inside, I worried that I might miss something. And that something would be the best thing that ever happened and it would never happen again, and all those present would remember it forever. So, I ditched piano for the front yard and the fickle fiends that is the boy’s club.
I never read the Babysitter’s Club or Sweet Valley High, I was too busy cutting through yards and tromping through ditches. I was convinced that boys were easier to get along with than girls. I played road hockey, driveway basketball and got mad I couldn’t pee standing up. That’s not to say I got dirty or rough, oh no, I’ve always been careful with my things. I was a prissy member of the dude’s club. And those boys taught me to compete. They didn’t like to lose, no matter what we were playing. The boys taught me to jeer and joke to get my way. I learned the useful tactics of thinking outside the box; especially when it came to hide and seek. I was just one of the boys, until suddenly I wasn’t a dude anymore.
Have I ever mentioned that I was an early bloomer? I haven’t? That’s weird. I had boobs at 12- and I mean BOOBS. The boys in my neighborhood didn’t have sisters their age. They were old enough to Babysit, and of course we’re always reading those books. I was the closest female thing, which made me the butt of a lot of nipple jokes. Overnight, I went from one of the gang to- a SHE. The worst was the day the youngest boy was dared (without my knowledge and without any thought to how much trouble he’d be in) to touch my new appendages. Which he did with a smacking open hand. Sending per-teen me into alligator tears and over-protective Papa B into angry bear mode. I don’t think that kid spoke to me ever again after that day… Though I can’t really blame him; he was dragged by the ear to his front step, where his parents were informed of the impropriety. That was my last day as part of the boy’s club.
From that day on, I made the trek down the street and around the corner to dress up the dolls we pretended we weren’t playing with anymore. It was suddenly time for me to be one of the girls. At first the girls made me nervous, but I found them just as competitive and strategic as the boys. They were just prettier doing it. Being one of the girls taught me how to listen, and really hear. They taught me that pink and frilly are a lot more fun too. You know, it’s weird. I look back at that open hand boob smack, and remember this kid who was 5 years younger than me as the first person to touch them. Over the shirt of course, but almost second base is scary especially for a 12 year old tomboy.