Is raising girls better than raising boys? Are boys easier emotionally and financially? Why is there such a inherant difference between what society expects from girls versus boys? Read this weeks column with Wendy where she discusses how having 2 girls is different from having 2 boys.The cost of being a boy in society is dramatically different than the cost of being a girl.
We think it starts as adults with dry cleaning bills, $1.50 for his shirt, and $5.00 for my blouse. From there we go to haircuts $15 for his, $55 for mine. Hello? However I realized that the different costs and expectations that society puts on being a boy versus a girl begins so much earlier and weren’t just financial but emotional as well.
My son made his First Holy Communion on Sunday. Being that he is my youngest of four, I was familiar with the routine. Buy black pants, which I happened to scoop up at a consignment shop for $2 (brand new with tags), get a short sleeve white shirt (had it from my other son) and order a white tie on E Bay. Grand total was $8. The morning of the communion he woke up got himself showered and dressed and without a fuss we showed up on time. It had been so many years I had forgotten what it was like to get my girls ready by comparison.
As my tires squealed from the speed of the car slowing down to make the corner, I yelled out.
“Get the hell out of the car and put down that strawberry smoothie. RUN! You’re late and don’t forget to spit on your hand to get that hair sticking up in the back to go down. “
The girls on the other were cut off from food immediately after the dress went on, and carefully dropped at the front door of the church. My daughters wore my wedding veil, which had been restored and cleaned for the occasion. Their hair had been gingerly styled with just a touch of makeup. With new white tights, pretty sandals, and a new shawl, they looked like a picture out of “Prepubescent Vogue.”
Ten years later, the same routine was duplicated at prom. Shopping months and month’s prior, we found the perfect dress that wouldn’t be duplicated. We looked at pictures on how to style their hair. We ordered shoes online; six pairs to see which shoes would look the best. The only thing different was that prom was slightly more, $700 each after dress, hair, makeup, and nails. What did the guys do? Rented a tux, took a shower and showed up on time.
Emotionally the cards reversed. My boys contribute as little as possible to form deep emotional bonds, answering questions with one-word answers.
“How was school?”
“What did you do?”
My girls on the other hand will give me answers that take me through cooking dinner, cleaning the dishes, and folding several batches of laundry.
My girls if left alone without supervision, may forget to clean up a dish or two. My boys on the other hand will invite ACDC to hold a concert, buy a keg and take the bus to New Haven to invite all their homeless friends.
Yes, the day of my son’s communion I had it easy, however in life I realized that easy was a relative term. The reality was that easy for boys in one instance, mirrored easy for girls in another. Looking back, I wouldn’t choose one over the other. I loved them both and each for different reasons.
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