This week, my math class has been reviewing proportions, ratios and percentages. Since this is fresh in my mind, I’d like to take the time to explain some truths of life using math.
What truths of life? Actually, it’s just one truth, albeit a really important one.
Be nice to girls.
That’s it. Be nice to girls. It isn’t that hard, but it is a lesson that will probably need to be taught to you repeatedly as you grow older. Hopefully not too much, since your mother will not stand for anything less than absolute and complete devotion to the long-lost art of chivalry. Of course, she’s right. Yes. Absolutely. No doubt. 100% correct. You should be nice to girls. Always and at all times.
I’m a realist, though, Blue, and this is one of those absolutes that is incredibly tempting to defy. Your mother’s words of caution and heated reprimands won’t always be so persuasive in the heat of those temptations, so I’m going to throw some math your way.
Let’s say you have 20 girls, and you decide you’re going to say something mean. There are all kinds of diabolical, fork-tongued turns of phrase you can hurl at them to achieve the intended result. In order to do the most damage possible, you would more than likely personalize your insults. But we don’t know any of these 20 hypothetical girls, so let’s just go with the generic, “You’re fat.”
Tell a girl, “You’re fat,” and here is what is likely to happen. Spoiler alert: Nothing good will come of this.
Out of the 20, 3 have low self esteem and will, oddly enough, try to be around you more. They will annoy you and only make you want to say more mean things in the hopes that at least one mean thing you say will drive them away. This will be an extremely difficult task, and in the end, you will not like the way you feel.
4 of those 20 girls will bear your insults quietly. Don’t think that means your slander carries no weight, because it does. These girls will curse you in their diaries. They will draw your visage with prominent and charming words like DIE circling around your stick-figured head. This level of hate is not something to be trifled with, Blue.
So far, that’s 9 out of the 20. 10 of the remaining 11 will fall into the most prominent category. This group changes as you get older. Before puberty, this is the group that will attempt to end your life, provided they are bigger than you. Most will not attempt to do this if you are bigger than them, but don’t think there are no repercussions. Girls are exponentially more advanced in the fine art of interpersonal relationships than our species, Blue, and they are keenly aware of an idea long before most boys.
That idea is reputation. They learn about this notion at a very young age, and they use it as currency. A good reputation is of high value and nets you a circle of friends. A bad one means you get really strong legs from having to swing yourself every day at recess. They know the system relies on gossip and information, and they also know that keeping the reputation of boys exclusive to their inner circle of girl friends only hikes up the value. So don’t be dumb, Blue. Your popularity among their kind is critically dependent on garnering a good reputation, and one comment, ONE COMMENT, can do more damage than a missed payment on your credit score.
That’s 19 of 20, which leaves one girl. One out of the 20. There is a 5% chance you will ruin into this girl should you say something mean, and trust me when I say you do not want to risk that 5%.
A long time ago, before I knew of this risk, I decided to say something mean to a girl. Let’s call her Elle. One day I decide it would be the height of hilarity to say something mean to her. It wasn’t exactly a well reasoned decision. It was in the heat of the moment, and there was laughter and merriment, which I wanted to continue. I remember we were at church, loitering around in the evening just before youth group. This was in the early teenage years, the time when boys and girls start to separate into distinct spheres of social class. It was a weekly routine to engage in playful experimentations with flirting, a place to test out what works and what doesn’t . So there we were, my group over here. Her group, over there. We’re like packs of dogs barking at each other but never leaving the safety of the circle. Elle is over there dropping well-timed, clever insults to each of the boys in turn. She gets to me, yells out something, something, something. Then I decide to bravely leave the group, and call out to Elle, “Yeah, at least I’m not fat!”
The temperature in the room drops 10 degrees in an instant. I have crossed a line and ended up in adolescent Antarctica. Not a good place to be, especially when hurricane Elle whips around and begins to bear down on you. I do the only thing that seems reasonable at the time. I run. I don’t get halfway across the gym before I think to myself, “Huh. Why am I running? Just take your medicine and move on, Mike.”
I turn around. Elle is right there, rage steaming out her nostrils. I think it’s going to be a punch. You know, one of those sharp-knuckled, hate guided missiles right into the crevasse between biceps and bone. It makes your arm go numb for a minute but it’s an acceptable punishment for a generic and completely untrue comment.
This is not what happens. Instead, Elle kicks with her all her strength, lifting me off the ground and knocking my testicles back up into my pelvis.
There are a lot of pains to experience in this world, Blue. I can honestly say that you, being male, will never have to experience some of the worst of them. Getting hit in the balls doesn’t register that high on the list for its severity, but in terms of uniqueness, it’s up there. It’s the nausea, I think. After the initial wave of pain passes, the nausea sets in hard. You want to puke, but at the same time, you can’t breathe, so you want to do that, too. And the worst part of the whole ordeals is that it is generally accepted that you deserved it and no sympathy comes your way. None whatsoever as you lay there, halfway between vomiting and suffocating. But that’s where you are when a few thousand of your gametes are annihilated because you didn’t weigh your percentages correctly.
So don’t do that, Blue. Just be nice. 100% of both females and your balls will thank you for it.