Some time ago I was alarmed to learn that a friend's son was teased out of playing a role in a school play.
This boy was discovered to be able to sing. So the teacher gave him a part. But he has to partner someone in this, a girl.
It didn't take long for the poor boy to be teased about how this girl likes him. He got so embarrassed that he decided to resign his role.
Then it occurred to me as to why boys tease. Or more specifically, why ten-year-old boys tease.
Because they are not disposed to discussing the latest in politics, religion (probably frowned upon by the authorities, any way), quantum physics or existential philosophy.
That leaves them with football, maybe something else on TV and then as soon as they run out of topics for discussion, Ah! we could say silly things about so-and-so.
These are usually said with no malice at all. It's akin to those 'staring incidents'. No, I was not staring at you, but my eyes need to rest on something and it happens to be you and so you thought I was staring.
The boys know that "So-and-so likes so-and-so" is groundless, but it gives them something to say.
I remember mulling over the issue of gossip in sheltered housing for older people. Why do they speak such utter nonsense about their equally elderly neighbours? Because they simply have nothing better to do.
This morning a boy from the other class in the Form came up to my son while I was still with him to say, "LT, LT, I saw so-and-so and so-and-so having a very loud argument."
We witnessed some of that ourselves and in fact so-and-so had spoken to me (ex-PTA Chair) to vent some of his frustration.
I said to that young man, "There is no need to repeat such information. Nobody else needs to know."
He gave me a funny look. This was 'Mr Bossy' himself and he does not like being told what he could or could not do.
My son reiterated my point, "Remember, never again," as Mr Bossy stalked off.
Does it matter that Mr Bossy witnessed an unpleasant exchange of words? How does it add to his life to go around telling other boys this?
Apart from the fact it gives him an excuse to verbalize something and perhaps hold court for a few more seconds than he really deserves.
My son comes home from school sometimes distraught that some boys had been teasing him.
Once it was about a photograph. The French teacher wanted a picture of his extended family. The only one conveniently available showed him about four years younger, sitting on his Nanny's knees.
They teased him about being a baby.
When I got round to telling him what silliness this was as everyone was once a baby, he realized that it was not worth the tears. It was ignorance on the part of the boys more than anything else.
To be very honest, my son is much happier discussing, uhm, Descartes.