A couple of months ago, my husband was flummoxed when our son asked,”Dad, where do you go to get a girlfriend?” out of the blue at bath time. He was not prepared to answer this. Hard questions were my department, as they were usually raised in the car or at bedtime, both areas that are squarely within my domain. (“How exactly does the special hug that you do to get a baby work? Will you teach me, Mom, so I can do it with my friends?” was a particularly memorable conversation. Not to mention, wrong on so many levels.) Anyway, here is my poor husband, not knowing what the heck was going on, but he managed to blurt out, “Well, you don’t go somewhere to find them like shopping at a store.”
“How do you get a girlfriend then?”
“Usually, you find someone you like and see if they like you and if she likes you, then you ask her if she wants to do something together.”
I am hiding in the other room, listening and stifling my hysterical laughter. I love my husband, but he is not an expert on girlfriends. He did not have very many, and I have watched women hit on him without him noticing in the slightest that they are interested in him. (While this is quite endearing and reassuring to a wife, it is singularly unhelpful in providing guidance to someone trying to find a girlfriend.)
“Do you have to kiss a girlfriend?”
“You don’t have to, no, but sometimes you might.”
“Henry says that you have to kiss a girlfriend, or it doesn’t count.”
“Who’s Henry?” (Wrong question, I think, still trying not to giggle.)
Eventually, the right question dawns on my gobsmacked husband. “Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Well, I think I do. But I surely don’t want to kiss her!” (Yes, our six year old talks that way. He loves to interject “certainly” and “surely” wherever possible.)
It transpired that he was carrying on a torrid affair with a girl in his class. Of course, since they are six, this involved playing games at recess and occasionally throwing grass at each other. Girls being the way they are, it was unclear to me whether he was appointed to this position or had been allowed any say in the matter. She lives directly behind us, and is one of two people in his first grade class who is smaller than he is. I don’t know if this was a factor in his attraction to her or not, but it seems like it would be less intimidating if your first girlfriend (who you definitely do not want to kiss) did not loom over you.
A week or so later, I ventured to broach the subject. “So, I hear you have a girlfriend?” I inquired tentatively.
His reply? “Oh, I did, but I got thrown out of that relationship,” he said with a big smile. Obviously, the heartbreak was not overwhelming. I’ll admit to a great deal of relief that he and the girl had returned to being “just friends”.
Don’t grow up too fast, sweetie.