childhood smells like missed social cues.

When I was little, I was determined to become the next Sally and marry Jack Skellington.

            While other eight-year-old girls pretended they were Disney princesses, I was busy perfecting my sewing on various stuffed animals. They were a sad bunch—ruined, stuffingless and in need of repair. I employed all of my third-grade knowledge on them, which meant that they were some severely anatomically incorrect plushies. Hey, who knew that bears didn’t have more than two arms? Not me, obviously.

            I didn’t really relate well to girls my own age. I got along with them just fine, but I never enjoyed dollhouses (except my thoroughly warped Alice-in-Wonderland one, complete with the fish-headed butler and some disgruntled oysters) or Barbies. Therefore, I was….different. I think it all kind of showed up for the first time at Lindsay Greene’s tenth birthday party.

            There were about six girls, including me, and three boys. It was excruciatingly boring for the first hour or two, with nothing interesting going on at all. The boys shared my sentiments. It was about halfway through the cake and ice cream that Robert Townsend finally got fed up with Lindsay’s mindless prattle and smeared icing all down the front of her new dress. All of the girls gasped in horror and a thick silence fell upon the table.

            I couldn’t help it. I giggled.

            The girls turned and stared at me, goggle-eyed, with the kind of unmasked shock that only a child can attain. Clearly, I had committed the cardinal sin against all things feminine, but I just couldn’t stop my laughter. I heard more boyish snickers break out to my left and turned to see Robert laughing and looking at me admiringly. He lifted a hand and we high-fived, still chortling.

            It was then that I was exiled to the boy’s table.

            In my whole nine years I had never been to a better party. Sometimes I still think it was the best one. In any case, it changed my social standing. I no longer even attempted to engage in play with the other girls, except for the ones who were like me: one of the guys. Or rather, still obviously female (hey, I love a cute skirt), but able to easily communicate with the opposite gender. Which, according to many women, is near-impossible.

            Now if only I had the looks, too.

The End

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