Locker room conversations, part bajillion. Topic: boys.

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The battle with the heart isn’t easily won…
Still riding the Ingrid Michaelson lurve. Caved & downloaded Everybody off of iTunes last night, & other than this morning’s wind-induced workout on the erg, pretty much haven’t stopped listening to it since. If you don’t have it already, you really kinda need it. I’m just sayin’.

Conversations with teenagers, part bajillion. Topic: boys.
I didn’t really… do being a teenager. I got my first job when I was 12, & it’s been 30-40+ hrs/ week of work for almost 20 years now, so when you get down to it I suppose I’m finally reaching the chronological age that I’ve been functioning at for the last 2 decades. On a bright note, hey – I finally caught up to me! Yay me!

As a consequence of this, I tend to talk to teenagers like adults, because when I was their age, I was already an adult, so I treat to them the way I wanted to be spoken to back then — namely, that they have a brain & are not just hyperactive balls of hormones.

In my experience, this actually works fairly well in terms of maintaining order, especially with teenage boys. At one point when I was coaching, I put it to the guys thusly: “Look, you’re teenagers, and you’re going to do stupid sh*t. Let’s not pretend it won’t happen, it’s just the way things are. I just ask that you don’t do stupid sh*t when I’m in charge of you, because then I have to do the paperwork to explain what happened, and I hate paperwork, so if I have to do paperwork, I’ll make you pay for it in physical pain. Instead, let’s make a deal that if you guys can act in such a way that I am not forced to be An Authority Figure, we should all get along just fine.”
And the cadre of teenage boys kinda laughed, nodded, and I never had a major discipline issue with them, which worked out well for everyone.

One of the odd side effects of this being that because I am no longer officially a coach for any one team, or technically have any actual title in the rowing community, yet I’m still around as Nebulous Older Than Us Person Who is Sometimes in the Locker Room When Other Adults are Not Around*, I occasionally find myself in… interesting conversations.
*for the record, that title only applies to the girls – I am never in the boys’ locker room. Just want to throw that statement down for clarity., Inc

This past Sunday, I ended up having one such conversation with one of my favorite flyweights, whom I shall call… Flyweight. (I know right? Totally creative nomenclature.)

Flyweight had just broken up with her boyfriend, another kid that I know — they’re both good kids, she just had the realization that they were better friends than boyfriend/girlfriend, which I think actually shows some good judgment on her part.

We were talking about that, & the fact that it was an amicable breakup, & in the course of the conversation, Flyweight & I got into the fact that she just gets annoyed at the guys she hangs out with as friends when she watches their relationships.

Flyweight is… different. She’s young, but she’s already very driven, very focused, completely knows her path & what she wants & what it takes to get there — both athletically & academically. Little fracker’s going to graduate high school next year & already have enough credits for her AA, which totally makes me jealous ’cause I’d have loved to do my undergrad in her projected two years instead of my three.

So we’re talking about this over the process of showering & doing what girls do in the locker room, & I finally said to her, “Look, here’s the deal – you’re different. You know this. And not in a bad way, just in a different way. You have different priorities than the kids around you, and I don’t mean that in a better-than-them way, just in the way where what you want is different, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But because of this, it’s going to be harder for you to date, and you will probably have fewer boyfriends than other girls you know simply because that’s not where your ambitions lie.”

Flyweight: “Well yeah – I’m going to do grad school and get my PhD, & then I want to work on as much research as I can while I’m still in training. And I don’t get why guys don’t get that.”

Claris: “Because that’s not what they’re used to in girls. They’re used to… you know… that girl. The tiny perfect-looking girl who will show up for whatever the guys wants, & do whatever he wants, & is just… That Girl. You know that girl, right?”

Flyweight: “Oh my god yes, she hangs out at our table & I can’t believe the guys fall for her crap, because it’s totally obvious that she’s -”

Claris: :hand up: “Yes, yes. We can stop there. But yes. That Girl. Because they’re athletes, Rower Guys tend to be pretty, and because of that, you’re going to see a lot of That Girls around, and a lot of guys are going to choose her because it seems easier.
However, I can tell you right now that I know a lot of guys who chose TinyCutePerfectGirl, and ya know what? After a while, they realize that what looked good at first & was the easy option at the time… now that the initial stuff has passed, they don’t actually like her as a person. Some of them will get out, some won’t – either way, that’s a lesson that they have to learn for themselves, and you have to be okay with walking away when this happens, because you have to take care of you.”

Flyweight: “But they’re being stupid!”

Claris: “Yes. This will happen a lot. There’s nothing you can do about that, so there’s no use getting upset over it.”

As she opened her mouth to try to argue the point, I interrupted her & said, “Look, you will most likely end up with one of two guys:

1. the one that’s never even bothered to look at TinyPerfectShinyGirl because he figured out right off the bat that’s not what he wants.

2. the guy that’s already had that relationship, realized that ‘oh holy jesus I don’t want that!’, learned his lesson & is willing to man up & make the effort of treating you honorably by asking you out instead of just saying yes to the next TinyPerfectShinyGirl who runs up & offers her services of :Insert Girlfriend Figurine into Appropriate Spot in Facebook Pictures Here:.

“The point is, either of these options may take a while to appear, so in the meantime, you will most likely not have as many boyfriends or date as much as other girls, and that’s totally okay. Also, if guy #2 does learn his lesson & figures out that he needs to approach you properly, it’s all right to give him a second chance to see if he can get it right, because to do that will take a good amount of courage on his part, and at some point, you’ll probably make a mistake or two of your own as well.”

Flyweight: “But how long does it take?”

Claris: “Oh, as long as it takes. I’m 31, & I’m still working on it.”

Flyweight: “But I wanted to already be married by the time I’m 30! That’s so long awa — wait, you’re over 30? I totally thought you were like, 26 or 27!”

Claris: “No honey, I am indeed, old & decrepit. Really, when you think about things, it’s a miracle that I can actually manage to get my creaking bones into a boat all on my own, but I somehow I do find a way to manage. And just a tip – HelloKittyRowerFriend is two years older than me.”

Flyweight: “No way! Dude. Okay, so wait – you’ve walked away from a guy like that?”

Claris: “Yes. More than one, actually.”

Flyweight: “Recently?”

Claris: “Just last week.”

Flyweight: “Can I know his name?”

Claris: “Absolutely not.”

“But – ”
“I’m gonna find out!”
“No, trust me, you really, really aren’t.”
“But – ”

…and we kind of descended into frivolity from there, I’m not gonna lie. While my life’s functionality has caught up with my chronological age, sometimes the behavioral maturity occasionally gets stuck a bit behind. I’d like to say I’m working on that, but… yeah. It is what it is.
For the record, she never did find out his name.

But hey, just to bring it all full circle, let’s use Ingrid for today’s Sing-a-long Song:

Music: Ingrid Michaelson – Everybody (Bonus Track Version)Everybody (Bonus Track Version) - Ingrid Michaelson

The North Face

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  • raithen

    Oh God, yes. I mean, not so much with the athletes, me (we will NOT discuss Aikido boys here*, because that will lead to *head. desking* and it’s hte end of the day and HEY! I can go home now!). But yes. And I am Extry Super Decrepit, and still working on it, so, ya know ;) .

    • claris

      Be careful with the Super Decrepit thing, my friend – I hear old bones are brittle! ;)

      • raithen

        ***Thbbbbbbbbbbbttt* I take my calcium (sometimes!) and I am ACTIVE, baybee, so I will be fine ;) .

  • Tony

    31 huh? old & decrepit?
    I can’t actually remember being 31. I know I must have been, but the actual specifics are gone. I remember being 21, I actually remember my 21st birthday but only because I spent it in ER having discovered that racing cars are stronger than bones and the amusing conversation with the admittance nurse, but anyway, I started reminiscing – as one is often to do on ones birthday – and realised that once I stopped competing I stopped remembering the years. Wonder if that happens with watery sports?

    Anyway, I remember a similar sort of conversation with my mentor (oops, typed meteor – now that’d be a fucked up conversation) except his helpful advice went along the lines of “meh, women… if you’re lucky one of these damn cars will kill you before you make that mistake”. Ahhh bless Ian… On reflection I’d have preferred your sort of pep talk but I can’t really argue with Ians assessment.

    • claris

      Tony: When I was… 28 & coaching, I had a high school senior say to me, “They have races for old people? Well I guess so, I mean you’re out of college, so you’re like, 23, right?”

      I was both complimented, amused & vaguely horrified.

      - that would TOTALLY be a f*cked up conversation. I’d want to YouTube it, & then we’d have to go get drunk to scour the yick from our skulls.

      Yep. 31. Old, decrepit, spinster-esque. If this were Victorian times, I’d be referred to as “on the shelf”. As my comment below to Meg would indicate, nobody likes me, guess I’ll go eat some worms.
      (…do they sing that song across the Pond? If not, I’ll find an mp3 online for ya.)

  • Kate

    Dear god. We really were separated at birth (by, y’know, a couple of years and whatnot). Because I totally had that not-actually-teenagerhood, and I feel like I’ve had this conversation with kids before. Mostly the “oh, HONEY, here’s the deal” sort of thing.

    • claris

      well in Flyweight’s case, she’s totally cute as a button, and bright & cheery & friendly, so I fear she’ll run into the problem I have, which is that RowerBoys assume she’s like ThoseGirls, & then get pissed off & become @ssholes when they find out that hey — the brain works, so I recognize there are lots of guys who look pretty in the world & would like to know who you are as a person before anything happens.
      Many of them are only used to having to work for things out on the water, in my experience, & react badly upon such discoveries. :shrug:

  • Megdalen

    Wait, you walked away from a guy? Which guy? The one who may have been cool and understood you? HE IS A GOON. Fie on him. What happened?!?!

    • claris

      I love you dear, I really do — between comments in the blog & your random LJ entries, I can hear you saying stuff in my head & then offering me a blondie brownie. Because that’s how you roll – with the ability to contextually use the word “goon” & make me love you for it. ;)

      PossibilityBoy… I don’t know what was up, but it’s like he sat down & said to the universe, “What’s the ONE THING I could do that, based on Claris’ personal history over the last two years, would instantly make her ditch my ass in a heartbeat?” … and then he did it. The irony being that as far as I’m aware, he doesn’t even know enough about me to know it was A Move of Dumbass-ery. Actually I don’t know what’s more oddly-timed — that he did it, or that he did it literally right after you & I talked on LJ about how he said the thing to me that day about the kid and I decided, “Okay, maybe I’m being absurd to be wary just because you fit the exact same demographic of the guy who tried to run my life into the ground because I wouldn’t sleep with him, so I’ll judge you on you and give you a shot.”

      …and then he fucked up. So I used the 405North as an educational tool and while we’re probably not entirely back at Square One, it’s pretty safe to say we’re back to the square where I don’t trust him. :sigh:

      What the hell, guys? Why do so many of you have to be so freakin’ dumb?

      Also, I totally less-than-three the usage of “fie”.

      • raithen

        seriously, yes, with the why so many?! ;) .

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