Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Invention of Flirting

I remember when I first truly realized what flirting was. It was grade 7. Two new girls had just transferred over to our little elementary school in our little, tight-knit class. A lot of the kids in that class had been together since kindergarten, others joined a few years later, like myself.
You might suspect that these girls would have some trouble fitting in to such a close community, but they didn't. Not having grown up in our sheltered school and having rebellious, older siblings, they were wise in the ways of the world and that wisdom brought them popularity. They became the leaders of our little pack. And our pack soon became boyfriend/girlfriend crazy and many games of truth or dare ensued.
I remember going swimming at our local pool with these two girls. It was in the late evening and most of the families were gone and just a few tweens remained. We started hanging out with a few boys our own age and a harmless water fight began. I got right into it, fighting back as hard as I could - I wasn't going to let any boys beat us. But I looked at the girls I was with and noticed they weren't even trying. They were squealing and giggling and... LETTING THE BOYS WIN. I was angry. What was wrong with them? But then I looked at the boys, and realized that they liked winning. And then it became clear to me, as if someone sat me down and drew a diagram on a chalkboard. This was flirting. Let the boys think your weak and they'll like you.
I paused for a moment, declared (in my head) that they were all stupid, then whipped a bucket of water at the closest boy.

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