Monday, August 16, 2010

On "No More White Boys" by Jonathan Sapers (5457 words) ***

Sapers's story revolves around that age where girls--and boys--are just discovering each other, that is, discovering each other for real, you know, as sexual beings, or near sexual. And Sapers touches on this time in life magically, revealing three girls who are sensitive about their looks and their families--and their friendship to one another.

Growing up, I was part of a group of three friends also, at least at high school. (Strangely, my school friends were not generally my vacation friends, even though my vacation friends went to the same school.) But Saper notes something I hadn't given that much thought to--how a triumvirate of friends can create certain problems. How, for example, does one argue? Isn't there likely to be jealousy, a feeling that the two are ganging against the one? I think of my own two friends growing up, and there were few arguments that I remember when we were together. When I was with just one of them--the one who liked to argue--we argued a lot; with the other, we were just silly--until we graduated and he got serious, and seriously depressed. But the jealousy, yeah, that exists. There were times when I felt like I was the odd one out, and there were times when my two friends did their best to make me feel that way. But interestingly, I probably stayed in contact with both of those friends after we graduated than either of them stayed in touch with each other. I'm not friends with either anymore. Lives take different courses, and each of ours did--none of us have much in common now, save a history. But I remember once, one of these friends--the one who liked to argue--telling me that being a friend with me was easier than being a friend with the other, mostly because I was more cerebral and thus less demanding of him emotionally, given certain psychological issues he had. These weren't things I knew about at the time, so it's strange now to look back on that group of three with different eyes, to see what other things were working within the dynamic (and what things we remember or don't remember, for he'd forgotten some of the things he and the other friend had done to me, and I'd likely forgotten many things he remember about me and the other friend).

In Saper's story, those dynamics between three rather than two get a certain play as well. One can see the advantage in such a grouping--but also the drawbacks that he writes out for all to see. Read all about it here at Pank.

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