Neal Simon: Girl talk

Neal Simon More Content Now

As I was the father of three daughters long before God finally graced me with a son, I was afforded the opportunity to develop a complete understanding of the fairer sex.

I’m serious. I know everything there is to know about females, provided the ladies in question are under 13 years old. Above that age, like all men, I am totally clueless.

Girls like to eat.

My young daughters are great upcoming athletes, always active and on the move, and in great shape. It’s a good thing, because for them, there is never a wrong time to have something to eat. Breakfast, lunch and dinner have melded into a movable feast on a constant loop.

If I was to put as much food into my body as they do for any length of time, I would weigh 300 pounds. The Boy? Not nearly as interested in eating, and it shows, as he is a skinny rail.

Even the mention of food has the magical ability to wake one of the girls from a near-comatose slumber. Livia fell into deep unconsciousness on the car ride from Andover to Hornell last weekend.

As I pulled the vehicle into the Burger King parking lot, her brother and sister tried to rouse her with shouts, shoves and “gentle” pokes to the ribs. Nothing worked. Finally, in a conversational voice, I asked, “Livia, do you want to get something to eat at Burger King?”

Her eyes popped open instantly, and she said, “Yes, please.”

Girls are better at poker.

Actually, I should say they have better poker faces. We have begun playing cards on Sundays, and I taught the children how to play poker a couple of weeks ago. They caught on quickly, and all three are capable of producing winning hands. The similarities between the girls and my boy end there, however.

My daughters have mastered the ambivalent facial non-expressions that top poker players use to disguise a good hand. The Boy, not at all. Deal him a few promising cards, and he is up from his seat, prancing around the living room, boasting about his good fortune. His sisters? They are quiet when playing cards, with the steely, soulless eyes of a professional assassin. It’s not really fair, and I’m always secretly pulling for him to win the hand, somehow.

Girls are smarter than boys (but not for long).

For this, I’ll turn to a professional.

“Because girls on average mature faster than boys, comparing boys’ and girls’ (intelligence), say, at age 10, is like comparing boys at age 10 and girls at age 12,” evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa wrote in a 2010 piece for Psychology Today magazine.

Watch kids at a playground for 30 minutes. More likely than not, it will be the 10-year-old boy, not the 10-year-old girl, who tries to go down the big slide while doing a hand-stand. Boys are not smart enough to know better.

So sure, girls, enjoy the honor rolls and the occasional win in chess over your little brother. You’ll keep making good grades, that’s for sure, but he’ll be on your heels before long.

More from Mr. Kanazawa: “…the new consensus in the intelligence research in the 21st century (shows) that men on average are slightly (but significantly) more intelligent than women, by about 3-5 IQ points.” It just doesn’t show up “until after puberty, when boys and girls finish maturing and growing,” Kanazawa writes.

Girls talk. A lot.

My girls are so articulate, so energetic and so enthusiastic about everything going on their lives, that they dominate most conversations.

Ask The Boy how his week went, and the answer will be, “I don’t know, can’t remember.”

Ask his big sister the same question, then sit back and get ready for a long story. Girls are just more verbal, and more willing and better equipped to describe the intricacies of their complicated lives: the unfairness of Monday’s Social Studies test, the pressure of hitting free-throws in a basketball game, the youthful “politics” behind who sits by who in the school cafeteria at lunch time. Unlike intelligence, where males eventually gain the upper hand, females never relinquish their advantage in talking.

Having daughters is absolutely, positively, the best thing that could ever happen to a man.

I learned this quickly. There is nothing in this world equal to the smiles of my daughters when I pick them up on Sunday afternoons. Absolutely nothing compares to the love in their hugs, the warmth in their eyes, and the sheer joy in their laughs.

And when they’re sad — as all little girls are from time to time — it takes only a single tear to melt an old man’s heart.

Neal Simon is the city editor of the Evening Tribune of Hornell, N.Y.