Flirt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     There are many things that are frustrating and pointless in the conspiracy that is high school dating. People don’t talk, don’t say what they mean, or carry over middle-school dating techniques like teasing the person you have a crush on. To me, the most disturbing is what I call the “Ooo, I’m a girl, please help me” flirt.

I learned growing up that I am just as good as, smart as, strong as, and fast as any boy. When I was six, I started karate with my friend Gordon. We were equal in skill and strength and could each clobber the other. Karate gave me the sense that I could take on any guy who came my way, and for a long time I actually could. When I wrestled on trampolines, shot Nerf guns and played action video games like Super Smash Brothers with boys, I never expected to be treated differently. If I were going to play, it would be as an equal. I even sided with the boys against the a-goal-by-a-girl-is-worth-two-points rule.

That background did nothing to prepare me for the slick tricks of flirting I witnessed freshman year.

I managed to ignore most of it until spring, when we migrated outside for lacrosse and soccer. We’d be in the middle of a game when one of the girls would extricate herself from the bench amidst a cloud of giggles and ask the nearest and cutest boy if she could play. She would be assigned a team, given a stick and would spend a little while standing on the field or running around yelling, “I’m open!” Some poor idiot on her team would take pity and throw her a courtesy pass, which she would drop pathetically. Then it would happen. Her voice would rise half an octave as she giggled and whined at the nearest and cutest boy to “go easy,” to teach her how to play, to “be nice” because she was a girl.

It is bad enough seeing someone willingly enforce a stereotype I have spent a lifetime trying to erase. It is worse to see it work. Boys within a several yard radius would converge on her, walking casually to try to hide their starry-eyed joy and lust. Some temporarily mindless boy would show her how to hold the stick and how to throw, only to have it wrenched from his grasp by yet another beguiled fool who wanted to demonstrate the correct way to throw. This would continue for a minute or two to the background music of a high giggle as the two souls vied to show their own prowess and abilities. Boys whom I respected and competed with melted, their star-crossed eyes shining out of the puddle of putty they had become, not noticing when I walked away in disgust.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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