Barely knee high he rips through the classroom, lego flying in his wake, crayons scattering, brick towers tumbling. Energy overflowing it takes him a long time to calm down, ah, boys will be boys they say. He pulls on the pigtails, “it’s because he likes you love, just wants to be friends”. No question, no challenge. Boys will be boys.
Waist high he shows his frustration with little balled fists, a furrowed brow and a pert little chin, defiant-“just leave him to it”. “He’ll get over it”. “off to your room”. Boys will be boys.
Shoulder high, he throws punches, his father marches him back from the teacher’s office, hand round the back of his neck, steering him, half jogging back home for a “piece of his mind”. “Be a man”. “Don’t cry-you’re not a girl”. Tears behind the eyes, hot, shame and anger burning, those tears don’t fall. Boys will be boys.
A teen, pushy, angry, he takes no prisoners, his peers admire him, his family reveres him, his girlfriends fear him. He takes what he wants, when he’s angry he punches, when he’s bored he torments, when he’s happy he celebrates in any way he wants. Boys will be boys.
Twenties, fierce, unapproachable, knotted, angry. Dangerous. Day in day out, up for work, home to the cowering wife, children in fear, friends who laugh at the jokes and the games, the taunts and the cruelty. The dog gets kicked, the kids fall in line, the wife stays quiet, the family revere. Boys, will be boys will be men.