‘I can’t help it. I’m a boy.’
This is a big statement to make – in a family full of girls. It’s easy to forget sometimes – but the fact is that Jack does exist in a house full of the female gender. And when we’re on Questie, it’s a boat full of girls too. Oh boy. Even the dog’s a girl. Though I’m sure Fin doesn’t think she’s a dog but a tweenage girl who enjoys pooping outside.
So, Jack is definitely at a gender-based disadvantage here. And it’s a disadvantage according to him. This is because, living in a house of girls, he has to learn the differences between the genders the hard way.
He says, ‘When I see Lulu weeping about going back to Quest, that’s game over for me. I instantly think she doesn’t want to go. Maybe it’s a boy/girl thing, but I think it’s the way my brain works. I don’t think about Lu’s crying in terms of her feeling torn about going to Quest, or crying but still wanting to go. I just work with the “either you do or you don’t” philosophy. Crying suggests to me she doesn’t want to go. There’s no middle ground in my mind.’
Do boys think differently to girls? Is it proven in a scientific, hypothesis-driven, evidence-based, double-blind, controlled, randomised study? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself using the lingo. I just love the sound of that gold-standard, scientific methodology. It just sounds so ridiculous.
I mean, how up your own arse do you have to be to throw these terms around? And once you do start throwing them out of your mouth, are you officially leaving the normal world? I’ve been to conventions and scientific talks where these terms get floated around as gospel – usually by scary-looking middle-aged to older-looking men in suits. Even though it’s seeking to better all proven proper science, designed to form a baseline of data that can be reproduced and is therefore valid, it still makes me want to hide under tables.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Jack and his family of girls. When Lulu spent two night crying, Jack got upset that she was crying, then defensive about his position. ‘I need to know what’s going on,’ he said. ‘After all, I have to sink five grand into Quest next week. Or not. So, right now I have this feeling I can’t really do any more.’
Hmm. ‘Yeah but J, I don’t think these are about your feelings. These are Lulu’s feelings and if we don’t respect them, then we’re screwed. If we try and force her to come to Quest, she’s going to make all our lives miserable. There’s a reason you don’t see many teenage kids on cruising boats.’
‘So, what do we do?’
I shrugged, lost for ideas. What do we do?
Just then a voice drifted out of the bedroom. ‘Just because I’m crying doesn’t mean I don’t want to go to Quest. I do want to go – since I know it’s our last trip together and I want Delph to be able to scuba dive like the rest of us. I just feel I have to cry about it sometimes. I think I should be allowed to. Is that too much to ask?’