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It may be difficult to recall, but try to think of that one girl or boy of the opposite gender who seemed to clash with you. This most likely would have taken place around later elementary school, when the genders are trying to mix in a society that blocks that mixture with a set of double messages. It is strange that boys who “hang around with” or “play too much” with little girls in elementary school are seen as “queers,” as being strange, and that later, too much playing with the boys is labeled the same way, unless of course there is aggressiveness involved. Girls who play too much with boys are tomboys, somehow not appropriately feminine. Too much contact with boys later, and they may be seen as “loose.” Not enough, and they may be seen as “gay.” Listen to children playing at a very young age, and you will hear what they consider to be the ultimate insult: “You’re gay!”

Do you remember that one opposite-sex child with whom every boy/girl, male/female issue in the world seemed to be acted out? One wife reported, “he just would not leave me alone. He’d take my hat, knock my books from my hand, wash my face with snow, just was on me all the time.” One husband reported, “She was a little snitch. She would tell on me anytime, making up things as if I didn’t do enough bad things already.” This aggressive male/female interaction, most likely following some “you always hurt the one you love” pattern, also became a part of how you love later.


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