Friday, February 08, 2008


0802 chocolate hearts
Originally uploaded by rooruu.
Two sixteen year old boys asked for some advice today. Their pens were frozen over Valentine's Day order slips. Deciding to order a rose for their best beloved hadn't been a tricky decision, but what to write to accompany it?

Not so easy.

So they asked me what I would write on such a message.

Apart from the fact that I'm rather older and female, so not necessarily very likely to write the same sort of was an endearing enquiry, and something of an honour to be asked.

But what to say?

Hard to know, in some ways, what their best beloveds might like. Who knows the taste of a teenage girl? And, more importantly, what's realistic (and bearable) for a teenage boy to write.

They were lovely boys. It was an honest enquiry.

I advised steering clear of poetry. Hard to do well, easy to get wrong, and therefore tricky.

So I said, think about why you like her. Is it her laugh or how she cares about people, or how smart she is, or how she makes you feel happy when you're with her? What are the things you appreciate about her? Maybe you could mention a time you went out together and it was a good time, and why it was good.

Write something that's honest, and sounds like you. Sounds like something you'd say. Not flowery stuff that can sound fake, and probably makes you feel a bit daft in writing it anyway. Do you notice how you enjoy the classes you share more than the ones you don't? Why is that?

Honest stuff cuts through more than foofle. Means more.

Is this making any sense? Being any help?

And they said yes, and looked a bit more certain. I hope their best beloveds are happy with the messages they get, and have some inkling of the thought and time the boys were putting into their efforts.

For all they can be obnoxious (hormone poisoning...!) it's worth never forgetting how very sweet and endearing teenagers can be too. Really and truly.

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