from the girlchild

I am taking dictation from the Girlchild:
I’m tired.

It’s weird being seventeen. There’s so much to happen that you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s right on the edge of home and not home. And decisions and not making decisions. Teenagers are funnier than adults. We laugh more. We’re allowed to laugh more. There’s more stuff for us to do. We can still go trick or treating if we really want to. We don’t have as much to regret. We don’t have as much as we feel we missed out on. Unless you’re one of those teenagers who worries a lot that you will miss out. Like me. Teenagers are really attractive. We are at the peak of our attractiveness in our lives. Everyone knows that. Is this the first paragraph in your young adult novel, mom? You didn’t write that. Uh. (laughter). What did you write? (laughter). Silly. You did this before when I did not say silly I said you’re silly. I am not a grandmother I do not just exclaim silly.

You did this before in NY, when we were in NY. Because my feet hurt and I was running around the room saying my feet hurt and you were writing it all down because I’m rather hilarious.

I think COLLEGE is the peak of attractiveness. I think high for girls and college for guys, because college guys are much more attractive than high school guys. Can you actually respond to what I’m saying instead of just typing?

Guys hit their peak later. Why is that? Why isn’t it at the same time? Mother?

–don’t know.

Is nature sexist?


Why are you laughing? Obviously it is. Don’t you think?

–It doesn’t have a consciousness.

You’re obsessed with this consciousness thing. You use it as an excuse for everything. The insect thing. Now you’re using it for an excuse for whatever we’re talking about now that I can’t remember. Right! Nature. Nature is sexist. Wouldn’t you agree?


Mom you can’t use your consciousness thing. That is not a valid argument. If nature did have a consciousness wouldn’t it be sexist?


Mom! Answer the question.

–I’m thinking.

My friends would not be so difficult about this. We’d have an interesting discussion. That’s why teenagers are better than old people.

–You’re calling me old?

That’s right.

–Yes nature is sexist because nature is concerned with propagation and progagation has to do with the differentiation of the sexes so nature–

But that’s not my point. Guys get everythign better. Taller. More athletic. More sexual. Aren’t they more intelligent?


In general?

–This is what’s wrong with–

But they are more athletic and the other stuff. Why would intelligence be necessary. Where does that come in? Why would it necessary for females to have intelligence? It seems like nature just wants women to lay around having children and cooking. Nature is sexist, see? I guess you have to be intelligent to raise children. But then wouldn’t it be scientific intelligence, it would be nurturing. Type faster! I’m such a superior typer to you. How did that happen? One parent types 80 words a minute, the other parent won’t even time his typing and they produce a child who types 128 words a minute. How does that happen? That like if one parent is 5’1 and another parent’ is 5’2 and they have a 6’7″ kid. I’m so amazing, I’m 6’7″. Is that a genetic mutation? Do I have a genetic mutation for typing? But then how does that happen?

–It’s a question for the ages.

11 Replies to “from the girlchild”

  1. Dear Girlchild,

    Yes 17 is a wondrous year. Why do I say that? Because I was a 17 year old girl eons ago. Why does your mother know entirely too much about what you might be thinking? Because she also was a 17 year old girl fewer eons ago. We females actually do have some thought patterns in common. For that matter, we females and males have some thought patterns in common.

    Is nature sexist? Well, you must define exactly what sexist means and does not mean. Because we have the ovaries we seem to do some things differently than the sperm bearers. But not all things. Do I really care a male is more athletic? No. I don’t care who wins a ball game. It’s kind of nice to have someone reach the top shelves for me, and that’s usually a grown man. But I could use a chair or a ladder.

    More intelligent? Not by a long shot. With your mother and father’s genes, you’re bound to be more intelligent than almost all other people, either sex.

    Males are more sexual? Maybe faster on the trigger, particularly 17 year olds. Gotta define “more sexual.”

    I’m pretty sure females generally can type faster than males (thinking about why being female is better) because females tend to have smaller hands and fingers and more digital dexterity. And, Girlchild? I could type you under the table!

    So what to do? Don’t listen to your peers as if they were experts. They’re no more expert than you are. Read a lot of books. It sounds like you’re ready for a lot of reading on sociology.

    And if you really get truly desperate, listen to your folks. Occasionally we old fogies have an idea or two.

    Good luck. 17 is such a wondrous year.

  2. If we all reached our peak of attractiveness in high school, I would have been in trouble. For me, it was mid-20’s, and a much better time of life it was as a result. I can also say with certainty that I’ve passed that point and it’s all downhill from here! :) But I don’t mind…I get to check out sexy older guys.

  3. I’m thinking that nature is a constantly evolving, growing thing. To accomplish this it branches off in many directions(man/woman,mammal/reptile etc…) to cover as much ground as quickly as possible. Everything in nature is about survival, about balance. The differences between the sexes may be a hint that aggressivness isn’t always necessary to survive, but a combination of aggression and compassion is. (blah,blah, 2 cents :)

    P.s I’ve always believed that women were smarter then men, not a LOT more..but a wee bit ;)

  4. Wow deep thoughts, love it personally, don’t agree either about peak attractiveness, I’m much more beautiful today (if I do say so myself) than I was at any other age in my life but confidence will do that for you at any age.

    Now is nature sexist, hmm had to think about that and actually googled it, but hey I’m weird that way and still don’t have any real conclusions only because I haven’t made up my own mind up on the subject just yet.

    I like that men are different, alot of what asdfg said I totally agree with. And yes I type a measly 100 words per minute. ;D

    I like being older, experience is the best teacher (if your smart that is).

    Now I can go on and on about this subject because you did the one thing that makes me tick, you made me ponder about life and our ages, sexes, typing speed. Thanks

  5. Girlchild, your lovely, intelligent and someone who is looking for answers to thoughtful questions. The cool thing about looks is that as you get older your preferences can change, like Robyn said I too look better than I have for years, but styles change. I’m more attractive to older people now, I don’t care that college guys don’t think I’m hot because I have nothing in common with them. I don’t want any more children and while I’m still married to the man I met when I was only 23 we have aged together becoming more interesting to one another, so why would I care what younger men thought of me. Nature wants women to be intelligent so she can be interesting to smart men, and create smart babies, so the population will continue it’s synergy really, it keeps a balance.
    When I was 17 I was very unhappy, my parents didn’t listen to me, unlike yours. The funny thing is now they think I’m smart and can’t wait for me to call.
    You think your smart now, you aint seen nothing yet, you’ll be scary smart and beautiful when your my age.

  6. Girlchild,
    I’m currently experiencing the ugly side of 17/18 year olds. The selfishness, the maliciousness, the manipulation. Thanks for reminding me that there are nice, intelligent, thoughtful girls like you still out there. All the best.

  7. Dear Girlchild: You know your mother very well, it seems. And she knows how best to be herself, as well. She calls the crap when she sees it, and that’s not always a good thing, but it can be rare in a family.

    She may drive you nuts as you age, but know that you’ve done the same, so it’s probably even. And that was before you entered the world to breathe!

    I believe a person’s relationship with their mother is like nature – as others have noted – it’s a living thing, it changes shape, but has base notes that remain so the same it’s scary.

    For example, my mother is in her early 60s. She has discovered MSN Messenger and after we’ve had a discussion, I look back over our discussion (typed as fast as a former typing pool lady and her untrained child will type i.e.: as fast as we need to, to be understood) and I’m transported to my teenage years, my “discussions” with her back then. (The circular arguments, the evasions, the sarcasm, the trite advice, the naked low self-esteem, the abject love -and that’s just on Mom’s side!) She has changed a bit. BUT. I enjoy knowing how she’s going to respond, relying on that response, and trying to grow AROUND it, THROUGH it, and sometimes, very rarely, making her say “You’re right, I never saw it that way before.”

    Cherish those moments – they are precious. And in truth, the transcript probably reads: “Maybe you’re right, I never saw it that way before.”

    I don’t believe nature knows how to say “never.” Don’t stop trying to make your parents see your point of view – I think it’s always worthwhile, contrary to the evidence.

  8. What a great kid. But you know what? My thighs were super fabulous at 17, I had killer abs, and had not a line anywhere on my face. At 30, even though I have some stretch marks and “fabulous” isn’t a word I’d use to describe anything below my nose, I’m a lot cooler than I was at 17. You’ll become more yourself every year, and you’ll like yourself more every year. You will. And listening to your lively, confident stream-of-consciousness dictation, by the time you’re 30, you will totally rock, kid.

  9. Girlchild,

    You know guys may be more athletic etc.. but ask them to multi-task and you will see that they cant even come close to keeping up with us women.

    Enjoy your teenage years, you’ll look back at them fondly some day.

  10. Have you all read the recently published “The Female Brain” by LouAnn Brizendine? I never, ever get zealous about what I think other people should read, but I want everyone to read this book. I bought it for my 17-year-old daughter because it’s everything (or, a lot of things, anyway) that would have helped me so much to know, at that age. Girlchild, I believe much of its content goes straight to your “Nature/sexism” questions.

    Basically what the book did for me was explain, in nonmysterious, science-based terms, all the convoluted mysteries I’ve spent so much of my life as a girl and as a woman feeling variously stymied by, angry at, confused about, and have also put way too much time trying to figure out answers to, when the answer turns out to be simple, or at least simpler: We’re different. Not different bad or different good (though much IS good), but, since much of the world and its standard choices for behavior, action, and reward is based on a male norm, we often don’t learn to value our strengths and proclivities, the things we’re geared toward, and also often learn to actively de-value them.

    That was my take, anyway — broadly. I am sold on the book’s containing “good science,” though I have heard the author’s come under criticism for putting science in accessible language… Anyone else read this book?

  11. stephanie — hello! haven’t seen you in a while.

    That sounds like an excellent Girlchild book, and no, I hadn’t heard of it yet.Thanks for the heads up.

    Anybody who can make science accessible to non scientists deserves a medal, in my opinion.

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