Guiding Love

Showing sentiment towards the opposite sex is a challenge for eleven years old boys. At such an age one is expected to prefer one’s masculine clan and shun girls without remorse. Relations between the sexes at this age is a perpetual game of hide and don’t seek. The girls chase after the boys without shame, and the boys pretend to ignore them completely.

At this age the girls have the initiative. They phone Tintin every day. They start after school and continue into the evening and well into the night. The record is held by a 2:30 AM phone call from a girl whom he swears he can’t stand, claims she is crazy, accuses her of demonic deeds and vows he will have nothing to do with her. In this case he is probably right. Most boys need another year or two before they allow themselves to respond to any such calls.

Knowing Tintin, I suspected he might be having trouble with being an exception to the rule. His sensitivities were getting the best of him. Clearly he cares what the other boys think of him; but is he flattered by the attention he got from (some of) the girls? Regardless, the cultural climate dictates that he remains single until more of his clan matures. Even if he wants to cut loose and stray from the pack, he is not yet equipped to deal with dilemmas on such a scale. This is not a problem of deciding between one TV show over the other. These are not matters of choosing chocolate over peanut butter or deciding what to wear this is about ambiguous emotions with social status hanging in the balance.

If I had my way I would have told Tintin that he should do what he wants. Ima put me in my place, making it clear that I did not understand the potential of being able to guide the love of youngsters. As far as Ima was concerned this was a golden opportunity to pick his wife to be while she still had a say in it.

To help Tintin choose the girl of her liking she started discussing some of the girls she had come to know from the longing voice messages they had left on the answering machine. For Imma this was a simple triaging process. First she helped him eliminate of those that neither he nor she liked. Next to be discarded were those whose mothers she did not like. Then went those that sounded domineering a clear sign that they would hate their mother in law. Finally she was left with a handful of choices, which she would have to screen more thoroughly. As things stand now, Ima is interviewing daughter-in-law prospects.

By the time Imma is done, Tintin will be in love thanks to natural causes…