Boys Are From Mars
Todd Gives His Friend Andrea Some Unsolicited Advice
by Todd Smith
I was recently playing a game called BeanBoozled with my son Murphy and thought of you. The game is from the makers of Jelly Belly; it comes with a tray of 10 assorted jellybeans and a spinner that tells you which Jelly Belly to eat. Sounds great, right? The catch is that there are 10 look-alike flavors mixed in the same box, and they’re absolutely nasty. For example, when the spinner tells you to pick a black jellybean, you have no idea if it’s going to be licorice or “skunk spray.” It’s Russian roulette with sugar!
Murphy and I were playing the game at our kitchen table with an empty trashcan between us for spitting out the nasty beans if we had to do. I ate what I thought was a peach-flavored bean. No such luck. Turns out it was “barf.” I gagged, spit it out and rinsed my mouth out. On Murphy’s turn he got a pencil shavings-flavored jellybean. Then my wife Sarah came into the kitchen.
“Is everything OK?” I asked her. At that exact moment, Murphy forcefully spit the pencil-shavings jellybean into the trash can right at her feet. Sarah stood there and sighed, “What is wrong with you two?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “We’re playing BeanBoozled.”
“Exactly,” she replied. “I’ve been sitting in the living room listening to you two play a game that literally makes you sick. If the game involves a trashcan, why would you guys continue to play it?”
Then Sarah told us that mothers and their daughters would never play a game like BeanBoozled, adding that girls have sweet imaginary play time that involves cuddly stuffed animals who drink make-believe tea. Murphy waltzed over and casually handed me a jellybean as Sarah continued her speech. I popped it in my mouth without hesitation. The taste of baby wipes filled my mouth and I instantly puckered. Murphy brayed with laughter.
“I’m living with animals,” Sarah said.
It was at this point, Andrea, that I thought of you. That’s because just a few months ago you gave birth to your son Ollie. Afterwards, you asked me if I had any advice about raising a boy. Well, that little anecdote you just read pretty much sums it up: It’s gross, nonsensical and at times both staggeringly idiotic and purely genius.
My wife was right, though: raising girls is more of an elegant, cerebral endeavor. With boys, you’re just trying to survive the day. You persevere. Consider it a success if your toddler son gets through the day without maiming himself or urinating on the furniture.
Speaking of peeing, the difference between male and female genitalia goes way beyond form and function. The vagina is viewed as a source of life and beauty, and continues to be a muse for musicians, novelists and painters. The penis, however, is the opposite of beautiful.
And in terms of its cultural influence, let’s just say that since the dawn of dudes, the dong has led men into a world of poor decision-making, swells of love and lust, impulsiveness, reactionary mood swings and the desire to crash into things. I bring this up because there will come a time when your son will turn your life into an episode of Jackass. Just a heads up.
The second difference between boys and girls is that females have an innate sense of levelheadedness, intuition and rules of decorum. Not so for boys. As the parent of a young dude, I’m constantly thrown curveballs of idiocy. Case in point: This past Halloween I sat with Murphy as he inspected all of his candy. He held up a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and said, “Dad, I’ve always hated eating these. But then last week I realized they had a wrapper around each cup.” My seven-year-old son, a boy who is well behaved and reads beyond his grade level, had been eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for three years with the wax paper wrapper attached. Now, I love my son, but goddamn. Wax paper? Really?
I should also note that boys love poop. And farts. I came home from work yesterday and found a note taped to the fridge that said, “Dad, my poop this morning looked like Master Oogway. Love, Murphy.”
In closing, I’d like you to know that if Ollie ever takes a shit that he thinks resembles a cartoon turtle or he deliberately eats jellybeans that taste like boogers and you start to feel like a failure as a parent, please know that you’re not alone. In fact, welcome to the club.