A man I used to go to elementary school with found me on a social site. We had a nice chat remembering the simpler times and all the fun we had without iPhone and internet.
"We had a lot of fun at the beach every summer, remember?" he asked.
My mood turned a bit sour. "Yes, and I remember when we were in fifth grade and you embarrassed me in front of a bunch of kids by unsnapping my bikini top in the water. It was awful."
"I'm so sorry I did that. But you know how things were back then... Boys were expected to behave like that, otherwise we were teased to death for being sissy boys."
"Yeah, I know. Those were different times."
"You know, I was so grateful for the black eye you gave me. You threw a helluva punch."
"From that day on, I didn't have to behave like a macho guy with you because your girly reputation had elevated to the highest level. Boys in the class got the 'don't ever mess with that girl' message."
"I always wondered why boys in the school didn't tease me or ask me out anymore." I laughed.
"Now you know! I'm glad things had changed for the better. Boys don't need to feel obligated to do stupid things like that to girls just to please their buddies."
"I'm glad too, but I think the changes are happening a little too fast and to the extreme. Now boys are punished and labeled for the smallest things.
"That's true. Well, every positive change starts with extreme new rules but as time goes on the rules are softened."
"Hopefully, boys will not be forced to lose all their positive masculinity traits in the process."
Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
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