Boys need girls


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It’s amazing how the positive effects of a good Easter holiday can wear off. Four days back in school and I feel like I’ve never been away.

Today was duty day which meant I was in charge at lunch. When the sudden heavy rains appeared, I quickly opened the school hall to allow pupils somewhere to sit with their friends.

Apart from always being on high alert, I like watching pupils during social time as it is a great way of seeing who they really are – their personality and where they are in the pecking order of their group.

Today, after evicting a large group of rowdy boys out of the Hall, I watched them in their new spot in the corridor still engaging in the same horseplay. The large groups always bemuse me. Everyone has their place and there are always the ‘hangers on’ desperate to be a part of the group but never quite making it. You have the loud and extroverted boy, the quiet and brooding boy (who no-one messes with) and the boy who takes all the flack and jokes although each one of them will be in the sightlines at some point. I never understand why the groups get so big – 15 or so – but it happens every year with Year 10 around now. By Year 11, boys usually drift away again into smaller friendship groups.

As I cast my eyes around the corridor, I spotted another young man and his girlfriend. I barely recognised him for a moment. Gone was the down cast, sullen expression. His hair was clean and brushed, his uniform was smart. He was smiling. Yes, smiling. This, 100%, is attributed to the girlfriend, because again, you see it every year. Girls have the power to draw boys into a new world; gangs and groups forgotten. Suddenly, horseplay disappears. Instead, the couples stand in their corners, whispering and giggling, fingers entwined. What a powerful thing love can be. It gives boys the power to grow up and break away from the group where they fulfil an obligation of an expected role. It allows them to be themselves.

As I was thinking this, I then questioned how this works for homosexual boys. It’s difficult to say but many of the openly gay boys hang around with girls. Perhaps it’s easier to be yourself there too.

Just an observation and not scientifically proved, but I thought I’d share it anyway. What do you think?

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