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Wednesday, May 25, 2005 

Flying by the seat of my pants

One of the few joys of being an uncle is that you are always the cooler than the parents. But that coolness comes with strings attached, as I recently came to understand. My nephew Keenan is 12 years old and just at that age where he is starting to notice that girls are well… more than mere playmates. Aaahh… I remember the good old days… when I was an angst-ridden hormonal freak… too young to be a man and too old to be a mere boy. Thank God those days are over! Now from my experience I know that boys will leave it until the last minute to get help and that it takes a lot more to get them to talk than girls. So when me nephew came to speak to me about a little problem he has with a girl… I knew that it was serious… to him at least. I know as little about women today as when I myself was 12 years old. But I have lrealised that half the things I worried about when I was a teen rarely ever came to be and looking back, I wish that I had been less anxious and had learnt to laugh at life and my problems more. That’s hindsight for you… hehehe. His problem; There is a girl that he really likes, but is too shy to speak to her. He is scared he will make a fool of himself and that she won’t like him. He reckons his buddies are far more adapt (aren’t they always?) at speaking to girls and he is scared that if word got out that he is too scared to talk to girls, they might think that he is not cool and a loser. What should he do? Oy..!! I am prolly the last person he should be asking for advice. I still get a little nervous when I am around women and discover and learn new things about them every day. My first reaction was to make light of the situation and get him to talk to his parents instead. Sounded like a good plan, but I also realised that this could be one of those situations where a little humour would do more damage than good. And besides, I am his uncle dammit and I wanted the boy to feel that he can come to me whenever he needed advice or someone to talk to. I am such a hero! So here’s what I told him: Firstly, his mates are not as good at talking to girls as they pretend to be. Boys of their age, rarely are. They are just as nervous as he is and too worry that they may say stupid things. Secondly, girls don’t necessarily expect or want a boy who is super-smooth and always says the right things. If they do, then perhaps they are a little weird themselves. Thirdly, not to worry too much about the talking part and rather concentrate on being a good listener. Being listened to is something everyone, including the girl he really likes, finds flattering. And if he doesn’t worry about it, confidence and talking will come naturally. Fourthly, you are never going to get all the girls you want. Some girls will like you back while others won’t. The trick, I told him, is not to take it too personally, not to lose hope and not to spend too much time thinking about what could have been. I wonder if what I said to him makes any sense and if the advice is any good at all. For what it’s worth, it came from the heart and I really want to see the kid fit in and enjoy life. Did I navigate the slipstream?!


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