Sunday, June 27, 2010

Raised by Wolves, or, What A Girl Learns from Brothers

It is late. The kids are very tired, and up way too late. Big Sister and Baby Sister are in full voice, weeping about the injustices of the world and OneLastBinkWatah!!

Mom lays down the law. Insists the lights are going out and the noise will stop. It is quiet for a brief second.  The Brother - the Lone Male in the room - mutters Well. That didn't achieve much, did it?

The silence is deafening - at least it is until Mom's snorts break up the whole off-to-dreamland vibe.

So I started thinking about the lessons you learn from brothers - in my case, two brothers.  It might be a stretch to argue that you learn everything you need to know about the human condition from male siblings, but there is a fair bit of core knowledge to be gained.

To wit:

Drama is generally off-putting to a guy.  Especially drama for the sake of more drama.

There will be smelliness.  There will be a lot of sweat.  Most likely some naked smelly sweat in your life.  And not in a good way.

When boys get mad at each other, they hit each other.  They'll probably yell, loudly. And then they're over it.

It's not all about you.  Sometimes, in fact often, their perplexing behaviors have nothing to do with you.

Occasionally, they just don't want to talk.  At all.  Not about feelings, not about what's for dinner. (doesn't matter how much you've got to say.)

Dirt is a good thing.  Dirt is a tool, a plaything, an occupation all of its own, and its removal will be just as messy as its acquisition.

Climbing trees has merit.  As does climbing rocks, but these are less readily available.

There will always be some sport in which a guy takes interest.  Probably several, but always at least one. [Corollary to this: there will typically be at least one machine or mechanical item in which a guy takes interest.  This might be an iPhone, this might be a chainsaw, this might be a sewing machine.  It is the mechanics, make no mistake.]

I had my little brother visiting today, and he made me cry laughing, remembering the time he & my older brother decided I needed to snap out of my latest Mood.  Imagine trying to be your Most Pissed Off 16 Year Old Self, and having your brothers croon this to you:

Kiiiiiirsten, your conscience is calling yooooooou!
Don't be so sad and blue! 
Time for a cheery you.

Yeah.  Didn't really work for me either.

Now, I've already posted about some of the things I might've missed out on, not having a sister.  And really, what can you do about birth order and sibling gender?  You just gotta suck it up.

But readers:  have I missed anything big? Anything glaring?  Now's the time for those guys who keep *saying* they read the blog to step up & tell me everything I missed - or even better, what you males learned from your sisters! Time for the girls who loved (or tolerated) their brothers to let me know how they changed your life.

If you don't tell me I might get my brother to make up a song about you.


Lori-Anne said...

My poor brother, the youngest, grew up in a family of four girls - me, my sister and my mum. It wasn't until I reached adulthood that I realized there was nothing "wrong" with him - guys just do it all different. By that time, however, he was no doubt forever scarred by the overbearingness of an all-girl, seniority environment. I'd love to know his take on it... but I'm frankly scared to ask.

Cheryl said...

My brother? Dramatic. My eldest son? Dramatic. Drama is definitely not the domain of girls. Plus? Sage hits Sawyer. Yells, too. She likes dirt, climbing trees, sports, and farting. And? Sawyer likes to play restaurant w/ her and her tea set/play food/kitchen stuff.

Wait -should I be concerned? Although, the boy is a whiz at computer stuff, so there's that.

Wendy said...

My brother, bless him, was all of those things and there were times when I could have cheerfully strangled him, but my little brother taught me about kindness. Despite the fact that I was a bossy, overbearing older sister, when I wasn't feeling good he'd bring me little snacks, play games with me, and let me choose what to watch on TV. (I'm afraid I wasn't so good when the roles were reversed). It's no wonder he's now a nurse.

Keda said...

I have one of each, brother and sister. My brother is 3 years younger than me and my sister 11 years younger. As the eldest child I often wonder at my parent's deliberate stupidity at having more after me.

BUT having said that, I will also say that there are these little moments when my brother does something really extraordinary that makes me wonder at anybody actually knowing me that well, or caring that much.

Men pick up little things, things we think they don't notice, like when we are cold, when we need a super duper mocha latte or when there is a T-shirt that we would absolutely love even though it's not the 100% correct size. Small things that we don't need to hint for, and these things are the best things. Yes, it is even better than when they catch the hint we have been plaguing them with for months.

CaraBee said...

I only had sisters, so I can only speak from that perspective. There is camaraderie, competition, shared secrets, shared clothes, fights, BAD fights, showing/learning how to use makeup, whispering about boys in the back seat, standing in each others' weddings, sharing motherhood war stories, calling in the middle of the night because no one else will understand.

Some of these, no doubt, are not just the provenance of sisters, but they are certainly highlights.

Aging Mommy said...

I never had a brother and now have a daughter to missed out on learning what makes boys tick. A colleague once said to me that you can tell that I did not grow up around brothers from the way I react to certain "boy" situations (this was back when I was Finance Manager at a cable factory in Ireland with five strapping Irish no nonsense lads working for me!)

As for what you missed though, from my experiences I would say all boys and certainly men have "projects" those new must do activities that then get abandoned and sometime later along comes the next one.

In friendship boys and men first look I believe for common shared interests from which to develop a friendship and a lot of male friendships are founded on little more than that. Whereas women I think look for common beliefs, personality etc and determine on that basis if someone is friend material.

nina said...

I grew up with two older brothers and feel some jealousy of women who are close to their sisters, mainly because they have someone to talk to! Apparently my brothers talk to their wives. My brothers didn't work out very well as siblings but my son, on the other hand, is a salt of the earth brother to our daugther. I love observing his getting muddy, stinky sock, low-drama boyness from a mother's makes all the difference.

Jer said...

This comment is to prove that (1) some of us guys really do read your blog and (2) sometimes, as you say, we just don't want to talk.

kirsten said...

Jer: best. comment. EVER. you slay me.

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