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The Male of the Species

In an attempt to prevent myself from going
all Medea on my kids, I invited a few friends over yesterday to
play Twister with us. For some crazy reason (ten degrees outside,
20 mph winds) only one person was stir-crazy enough – sorry,
I mean, oh, you know what I mean – to trek on over. Becca and
Paige walked nearly a mile to our house – and since Paige is
less than two years old, that’s quite an accomplishment
– and we had a fantastic morning together.

After playing an energetic round of Twister we sat down to enjoyed
our grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. As we ate, I pointed out
the cluster of birds just outside our kitchen door; they’d
eaten all the birdseed off our homemade pinecone birdfeeders and
with the weather so cold we’d taken to scattering seed across
our side patio. The birds seem to enjoy the easy pickings (pun
intended) and we have enjoyed seeing them come right to the door.

We spotted a couple male cardinals, which led to a discussion about
the difference between the male cardinal and the female cardinal,
which led to a discussion about the difference in coloring between
many male animals and their female counterparts.

Which led to the following conversation:

5-year-old Becca: “So only boys have
the fancy coloring?”

Me: “Yes, that’s right.”

Becca: “Why don’t the girls get to be fancy?”

Becca’s mommy: “Well, they are neutral colored so they
can blend in with their surroundings and protect their

Becca: “So why do the boys need to be fancy?”

Me: “Well, the boy will come over to the girl and be all,
‘Hey, look at me, aren’t I fancy and pretty?
Aren’t I cool? Don’t you want to marry me?’ And
the girl might look at him and say, ‘Hmm, that one over there
is fancier’ and marry him instead.”

Becca (bewildered): “So the boy dances around and tries to
look fancy for the girl?”

Me: “Basically, yes.”

Becca (extremely skeptically): “Well, that’s not how my
daddy does it at all.”

Maddie: “So maybe your mommy will say ‘Hmm, that one
over there is fancier’ some time.”

Me (seeing the look of worry on Becca’s face at the thought
of someone ‘fancier’ swooping in on her Daddy’s
chick): “Well, Becca, your daddy does have some fancy shoes,
doesn’t he? Remember the orange and red ones he got for

Becca (relieved): “That’s true. I bet his fancy shoes
count. They certainly are colorful.”

Now let’s be clear here that Becca’s dad is a very nice
man who I’m sure did some fancy strutting to woo his wife
back in the day. And I also need to state for the record that his
sneakers are, indeed, quite colorful and he is, in fact, quite
proud of them. So I’m guessing Becca doesn’t have to
worry about the family dynamic changing in any significant way any
time soon.

There you go, boys. The way to a girl’s heart is shoes after


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