As we mentioned earlier today, a nine-year-old boy, Alec Greven, has written a sweet-natured junior version of The Game, which he's titled How To Talk To Girls. Which, quite obviously, calls for a companion volume for little girls, How To Talk To Boys.
I was recently sitting with a friend's 8-year-old for an evening, when she brought me to her room to show me a note a little boy in her class had sent her. "I know you have a boyfriend," he'd written in a large, childish scrawl, "but I need to have you in my life." He went on to say that her happiness was the most important thing to him; he'd included a flower, which she had thrown away. Maybe Alec Greven's on to something!
When some of us were in third grade, we were so tiny and borderline feral that romance was not really an issue: such interactions were limited to intense secret crushes, occasional haughty snubbings, and spelling competitions with flirtatious undertones. When one little boy did like me, I was so humiliated that I asked to be moved to a different desk group. One of my out-of-school friends lied about having an older 4th grade boyfriend, which made me very uncomfy. A few couples in my class 'dated,' which didn't mean that they went anywhere or actually acknowledged each other. And I have a very distinct memory of one little girl attempting to impress a boy she liked by bringing all her horseback riding trophies to school and casually arraying them atop her desk; she was regarded with pity by the rest of the class.
So, based on this, a perusal of old diaries and recent interaction with abovementioned babysittee, here is what our inner 9-year-old girl would advise with regards to dating boys:
-Always be nice. Even if you don't like someone back, never humiliate him and try to keep things private.
-Keep all notes.
-If you like a boy, don't bring all your horseback riding trophies to school and put them on your desk, because everyone will know what you are doing and you won't be able to open your desk.
Your turn, belles! If we want to compile something definitive here, we're going to need a lot of child-channeling and, more to the point, as much advice as you can get from real 9-year-olds. Sisters? Cousins? Pupils? Bring it on! We'll compile all the advice we get as a public service.
Earlier: The Book Of Love