There are times I don’t understand the opposite sex and I’m sure there are times when the opposite sex doesn’t understand me. I’ve always found it fascinating that two people can look at the same thing and have two entirely different interpretations. Moments in my life happen when I become aware of that disconnect, that rift in perspective between me and another party, and these realizations usually hit me when I’m interacting with guys.
I’ve had such moments since I was a child, like when I was a second-grader.
“Anna, what does this mean?” A boy held up his yearbook with its pages open to a particular signature–mine. He stood in front of me along with our other friends (all boys) in class. We had become buddies through our mutual interest in Pokémon cards. The other boys also displayed their yearbooks to me, pages fixed at the incriminating autograph.
“That’s my name… with a heart,” I answered shyly. I didn’t know why my friends were getting so bothered about my signature. I thought maybe I had accidentally written something weird or stupid.
“Yeah, but in his yearbook,” said my friend, reaching over to another boy’s yearbook,”you just drew a smiley face.”
“Yes… I did,” I said, confused with the direction of the conversation.
“For some of us, you drew hearts. And for some of us, you drew smiley faces,” said my friend as the other boys all stared at me. “Which one of us do you actually like?”
The question came out of the blue, but I began to have inklings that the boys took the hearts to mean some of romantic interest. I had just switched back-and-forth from drawing smiley faces and hearts next to my signature because it seemed boring to have a repetitive autograph and smiley faces and hearts were the zest every second-grade girl would want to sprinkle over her name.
“The hearts don’t mean anything,” I said as a slight tinge of crimson spread across my cheeks. “I just thought they were pretty. You guys are my friends.”
My friends all looked at each other, perhaps a little disappointed that they hadn’t unearthed some great secret from me but placated by my answer nonetheless. I relaxed in my seat, vowing to myself that I would never draw hearts when writing to boys–a lesson learned in elementary school.