My two nephews are 17 and 14 years old. The older one is a lovely kid, but very much a nerd. He loves movies and will for hours talk at length about the most minute detail. Growing up he was like that talking about planes, another passion – he wants to be a pilot, or feats of engineering. He has a mind for arcane detail, and I think has a good, though narrowly focussed mind. Like so many of his ilk his social skills are not so advanced. He’s no klutz, but nor is he smooth. From what I gather he has no interest in girls at present, but of course appearances can be very deceptive in that regard. I can’t imagine him being anything other tan awkward with them, and I don’t know if he’ll ever be easy with them.
It’s different for his brother. R is a good-looking kid, and, unlike his older brother, very much aware of appearances. He gets his hair coloured and has a keen interest in fashion. He’s more of a trouble-maker too. I’m not sure how much you credit to his age, but he’s not above telling the odd lie, and is unafraid of defying his mother (who asks for it). He’s a sensitive kid, and fragile in ways his mother is incapable of understanding. He’s a bit cheeky, very loyal I think when it’s earned, and likes the girls big time.
I look at them from my present perspective and I feel a mix of amusement, curiosity, and an urge to help them out. I’m very fond of them. At times I remember when I was their age. It’s hard to get a bead on that all these years later, though I have vivid recollections of what it was like to be a teenager growing up and learning about the world. From this viewpoint it seems golden. So much is happening, so much is new, so much is just magical.
I suspect I had a bit of both my nephews in me. There was a bit of nerd in me – or dag as was the parlance then, but it was pretty well hidden. My thing was military history, and if I had a special subject it was the military hardware of WW2 (particularly tanks, and German tanks). That was not uncommon back then, though I’m guessing it’s extremely uncommon now. My saving grace is that I was not one of those kids who went about talking about this stuff ad nauseam. I was happy to enjoy it privately, sharing it only occasionally with the odd fellow enthusiast I might bump into.*
I liked girls a lot. I was precocious in that way. I liked them from about grade 6 on, when I had my first serious lustful crush for a girl called Christine Okarli. It never let up from there, and boy did I enjoy it. I was cute rather than handsome (my mother always said I’d be at the William Holden level of good-looking). For the first half of my high school years I was undersized, before I shot up. I was shy in ways, but also popular with the girls without ever being the idol (though I did have my moments – stories for another day). I’ve always done well, even when, like my elder nephew, I was a tall, gangly, pale-skinned, pimply teenager. It’s an uncool look, but if there any lessons in life then surely a key lesson is that coolness transcends appearance. As I wrote the other week, attitude is everything.
I started writing this thinking of the advice I might offer my nephews in matters of romance, or seduction. I was prompted thinking of recent developments in my life in that area. I have the benefit of wisdom and experience now. What I know I’ve learned along the way. There are a lot of things, but if it were one thing I would impart it would be to ‘leave them wanting more’.
I’ve watched many a bloke overplay his hand. I’ve done it myself. Far better to leave a positive impression and go before it begins to sour. Less is more. Tease, give them a taste, be light, but interesting. Don’t take it as an opportunity to show-off. Let them do most of the talking. Encourage them with a smile, and with your genuine interest. When you speak use your wits. Say just enough for them to wonder what you haven’t said. Then, with another smile, leave it at that.
Done well it is intriguing to the girl in question, and often exciting to contemplate. She will use her imagination to fill the gaps you’ve left blank. It’s a pleasure for her because it remains pure because it remains in the abstract. The mind is a powerful thing, and there’s nothing more seductive than a healthy imagination. By the time you come around again they’ll be yearning to be with you again. And you may well feel the same thing.
Sealing the deal, well, that’s another lesson.
* There’s a conversation I still remember with a truly geeky enthusiast (Paul Lambert?) who asked for me to draw a Spitfire for me. I did so, but with a critical error that he pointed out gleefully as if to prove his superior geekiness. Everyone knows the Spitfire had a domed cupola – to my great dismay I had neglected to draw it like that. My cupola was flat, like that of a Hurricane!