When I was ten years old, my mother had twins – a boy named Bob and a girl, Mary. Within a year, my brother Tom and I had assumed the responsibility of socializing them, teaching them essential tasks such as learning to walk, to button one’s shirt, and critically, the highly abstract and complex task of learning to tie their shoe laces.
To fully understand the implications of the story I am about to tell, it is necessary to understand that the subtle indoctrination of Roman Catholicism in our family included the indisputable truth that men are more intelligent than women. Bob, therefore, had to learn to tie his shoes before his sister Mary, or suffer the humiliation of sexual failure at the mature age of two.
So Tom set about teaching Bob to tie his shoe laces, and I took over the job of tutoring Mary.
Mary learned to tie her shoe laces first.
But when I told this momentous fact to Tom, and he asked Mary to prove it, she pretended that she couldn’t do it.
In fact, she refused to admit that she knew how to tie her laces until Bob had learned and demonstrated his achievement first.
My temptation is to say that this illustrates that girls really are smarter than boys, or that I was a better teacher than my brother, but of course it doesn’t.
But do you think that sometimes girls are just kinder than our counterparts? I can’t ask Mary what she thinks because she died of cancer 20 years ago.
But that’s my hypothesis. I think even at the age of two, there was no way she was going to play a game of one-up-man-ship with her dear twin brother.
I Can Tie My Own Shoes (I Can Books) by