It feels strange and kind of embarrassing today, but I'll admit it: I was a boy-crazy little girl.
I remember having crushes as far back as preschool, but my great love came in first grade, in the form of a tow-headed boy named Scotty. I don't recall speaking to Scotty much, but I repeatedly proclaimed that I loved him. I actually spent sleepless nights pining over him, and mused that I would always be "a lovesick person" (what?). The consummation of our relationship came when my mom finally bought me a dress with sewn-in bicycle shorts (yes), and he, transfixed by the vision I'd become, announced his intention to fight another boy for "the friendship of you." This never happened, but my early romantic life had reached what I must have recognized as an apex, because I didn't give a shit about boys for the next several years. And while I did have crushes again after that, I never became a truly boy-crazy girl again.
I offer this personal history in response to Vivianne Manning-Schaffel's piece on Babble, in which she worries that little girls these days are entirely too obsessed with boys. She writes,
Could this brand of behavior be fallout from cultural influences, like those preternaturally sexualized Bratz doll-hos? Or could it be due to the ingestion of hormone-laced milk products? Who knows! But many of my friends with daughters say the same thing — the boy-crazies seem to be coming on earlier and earlier, and they don't know how to handle it.
We didn't have Bratz dolls in 1989 — in fact, my parents were actually concerned that Archie Comics were feeding my "lovesickness." But said sickness basically cleared up on its own — to the point that by high school, my mom was actively encouraging me to get myself a boyfriend (a habit I loathed). And I'd imagine that most little girls' (or boys') boy-crazy behavior doesn't signal an over-dependence on men later in life. This behavior might be cause for concern if it's too sexual — in the case of the second-grader Manning-Schaffel describes "who was apprehended by school authorities for thrusting her washboard nipples into the face of an unwitting male," I did wonder about a possible history of abuse. But unless someone can show me proof of an upswing in the number of hearts scrawled on Trapper Keepers in the past few years, I'm going to continue thinking of most boy-craziness as a phase kids go through — and usually emerge unscathed.
Very Young Love [Babble]
Image via Margarita Borodina/Shutterstock.com