I was five years old and well into Kindergarden when I figured out how to get boys to do anything I wanted.
I think it happened by accident one day while playing soccer at an after school program. It was my first year playing after school soccer, and I was in the youngest age group. We spent a lot of time learning how to kick and not use our hands and basically challenge every motor skill we had very recently developed.
This particular practice, I partnered up with a boy named Jake who was in my class. Since I was only five, I hadn’t had the chance to meet people and create friends that hadn’t been through play-dates set up by my parents, so I was increasingly interested in meeting new people. Each week I had partnered with a different person, but I found some reason why they weren’t able to hang out with me in real life. The first girl I partnered with didn’t talk. I knew that she could talk because she said “here” in this little mousy voice every time they took attendance, but every time I said a word to her she just stared at me.
“Hey! Girl! I asked how your day was! Are you death?!”
At this point in my life I also did not realize that death did not mean “no longer living” as well as “unable to hear”. Minor mistake.
The next girl I partnered with spent the whole time telling me about all of the cool dolls her dad brought back to her after “business trips”. I distinctly remember her putting “business trips” in quotes, which either means she knew her dad was sleeping with a woman in the next state, or her mother really underestimated how much five year olds observe and repeat. I could tell right away though that this chick was trouble. When she wasn’t talking about all of her cool shit, she was talking shit. When she said something about my friend having weird eyes, I told her it was better than having her face… and things got a little tense. When we finally were playing, she tripped me on the field like three times, so obviously she was a bitch and I didn’t want to be friends with her or her Malibu Barbie.
So this day I decided to partner with a boy. Jake was a nice guy ,and I let him cheat off my phonics worksheets for nothing in return, just because I was nice. I also thought his friend Andrew was cute and figured that I should be friends with Andrew’s friends for when we got married.
I went over to him and asked if he wanted to be my partner, and he agreed. We began passing the ball back and forth, but after a few minutes it became competitive. There are three things in this world I hate: passive aggressive people, Lifetime movies, and losing. I usually didn’t have problems with my competitive side coming out around other girls (my bossy side on the other hand is a completely different story), but with a boy, I took his slightly harder kick than mine to be a challenge. We had gotten to be kicking the ball very hard, until finally I kicked the ball as hard as I could, racking him in his balls. He immediately dropped to the ground clenching his crotch and said, “You win”, before bursting into tears.
I immediately felt this sensation of accomplishment in winning our scrimmage, and the cogs in my little head began turning. I deduced that when boys are hit on their pelvis they fall down and I win. I couldn’t figure out what on earth could have caused this type of reaction, but if boys were made with a button that made them fall down and cry, that was evolution’s mistake and I couldn’t be held responsible for using my superior genes and taking advantage of my newfound knowledge.
The next day at recess I decided to test my theory on a different boy, just incase Jake wasn’t the only one with the button. I found a boy from the first grade named Kris. I didn’t want to take the chance of hitting someone in my class and having them tell Ms. Simon, so a first grader seemed like the safest bet. I walked up to Kris, who said hello, and I immediately swung my right let back and kicked him square between the legs. In hindsight, this may not have been the best first impression when I was trying to make friends.
After having a second boy crumble to what I was now calling “The Button Theory”, I decided it was fact (I did later learn that scientifically, two positive tests does not equal conclusive evidence, but I was still right). I used the tactic to get anything I wanted whether it be pudding cups or the good basket ball; I was invincible.
I never thought my rein would come to an end, until one day I was sitting next to Andrew at the lunch table and he took a hand full of my chips without even asking. I obviously would have given him some if he had asked, but this was a clear violation of my personal space and I could not get involved with a person like that. Those chips though were not his, and I wanted them back. I punched him underneath the table and walked away to sit somewhere else. What I didn’t realize was that Andrew was a tattle-tale.
Ms. Simon came up to me at recess after lunch and sat me down to have a long conversation about hurting other people. I explained the button theory and that I was conducting science, something she supposedly encouraged in class. She reinforced that I wasn’t allowed to hit boys there because it caused them a lot of pain and that wasn’t how nice girls behaved. I told her I understood and that I would apologize to the boys.
In the end I walked away with the knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to have control over boys whenever I wanted, but more importantly with the knowledge that I won the kicking game against Jake and he knew it, too.