This is the second post in my weekly series, Summer Camp Curiosities. Surf camp has sadly come to an end, but the highs (and lows) are now well documented.
I love surf camp because we get to be outside all day, the children are pretty fearless, and I get to watch them either get womped by the waves, or catch a ride to shore — both are intensely entertaining. Most common type of wipeout? The nosedive.
This week I asked the boy campers what they knew about true love, relationships, and dating while we all had lunch in the sand together. In between bites of fruit roll ups, gushers, and sandwiches (literally, their sandwiches are covered in sand), they disclosed their most coveted romance advice to me.
Here’s what they had to say.
On heartbreak and conflict resolution:
The Fruit Ninja, a 10 year old boy who ties his fruit-by-the-foot around his forehead like a headband said, “ladies ruin your life — they’re monstrous!” The Fruit Ninja is the same boy from week one who gave his rationale on why fruit by the foot is better than true love. I’m starting to sense a trend in his beliefs.
Another boy, one who usually gives the counselors a fair share of grief explained, “It’s a cycle. You spend money on the girl, you run out of it, and she leaves. Especially if she likes nice things like shoes. Then you have to go to the bank, get money, get her back, she spends your money, and then she leaves again!”
The Fruit Ninja threw his arms up in the air and exclaimed in agreement, “That’s life people!”
Another of their friends, while wearing the spanx-like neon yellow rashguard expressed in frustration (while still chewing food), “I gave a girl puppies, bunnies, and California poppies. She still left me.” Sounds absolutely heartbreaking, right? Don’t worry, he told me he has a back up plan because he’s, “going to try again though but this time with a bulldog — fully grown.”
The Fruit Ninja, while somewhat cynical for a 10 year old, had an opinion on relationships based off of real life experience. He explained that, “anything can work out as long as you get married. My dad says my mom tried to dump him ten times but never left because they were married and a divorce is so expensive.”
Another boy chimed in, “If a boy doesn’t call you back after three days, dump him. That’s how long it takes to find a new one anyways! Especially if you buy a nice dress and go outside.”
“It’s better than crying in your pillows!” piped up a blonde with freckles.
Since we moved onto the subject of breaking up, one of the sweetest, most timid of children noted with a huge grin spread across his face, “The best place to dump someone is the Wild Animal Park… that way you can push them in the lion pen and watch them get eaten.”
The boys began spouting off advice simultaneously, my mind and hand couldn’t keep up (I physically took notes on the matter).
“If you eat too much, the man is gonna leave.”
“Guys like crazy girls only if they are confident!”
“The woman is always right! In my family, my mom is always right. Especially after the night where my dad ripped all our drawers out of the dresser!”
On obtaining true love:
One boy had a lot to say on this manner — emphasis on a lot. Here’s the sparknotes version of his advice. He’s barely 10 years old and usually keeps to himself for the most part, but has a bubbly disposition and a high pitched giggle. You’ll never catch this camper surfing without his stylish snorkeling goggles — he doesn’t care that they fog up after one minute of heavy paddling, he powers through ensuring that his eyes won’t sting.
- “If you want to find a nice man, go to Paris… that’s the city of love. Whatever you do, do not go to Vegas because that’s the city of (he looks around and whispers) sin.” He looked horrified when I told him that another counselor and I would be going to Las Vegas next weekend… it looks like we won’t be finding true love there! He also told us counselors about his family secret–his mom and dad did something “that only married people do” before they were married, in Vegas. That’s why it’s called the city of sin. (We later found out he meant kissing!)
- “I choose clothes for my mom all the time — it’s a gift because they fit her perfectly. I know that I’ll be good with girls cause I’ll just buy them clothes and tell them how skinny they look.”
- “Wear the boy’s favorite color at least once every three days.”
“Something you wouldn’t know about any guy is that he doesn’t change his underpants as often as he should”
“Only nerdy guys write love letters.”
There are some kids in my camp who can be classified as a Little Surfer Socrates. A Little Surfer Socrates is a camper who usually loves to talk the surf lingo, may or may not actually know how to stand on the board, and has many theories about why surfing is rejuvenating. I’m not sure if it’s the aura of the ocean, too much sun exposure, or from inhaling the spray-on sunscreen… but some children simply love to philosophize about what makes the ocean so wonderful.
“When I’m in the water it feels like I’m one with the wave when it swoops me up and I ride into the sand and like I’m not even in trouble at home anymore.”
They also claim that everything is a “trick.” If they are out of my sight for one minute, they did a vertical snap. If they fall flat on their faces while riding on the board, they meant to do that. If they collide into each other, turning their 10 foot long surfboard into a torpedo, they were trying to have a party wave of course!
One time… a kid’s favorite starter line.
“One time I cut my little sister’s hair off and I got sued… $2.”
“One time I ran over a squirrel with my scooter.”
“One time I went hunting with my uncle and he got stampededed.”
I asked the kids what they would wish for if they could have anything they wanted. Most kids said typical answers like more wishes, money, endless snack stashes. My favorite however is from the boy with the bee sting (featured in last week’s post!) who said with a dreamy look in his eyes…
“If I could have anything, I’d have a magical cat named Chester who could cook me a pizza anytime I wanted one and come to camp with me in my backpack!”
The children were gathered around a dead seagull in the water, fascinated by it as it floated back and forth with the tide. About ten minutes later, a boy came up to me laughing and said, “I was so thirsty, I drank some of the ocean water!” (despite the fact he had a full gatorade, and we have a full water cooler…) I asked if he thought it was gross because of the dead bird… he shrugged and said, “broth!”
I asked a fellow counselor if he knew anything about investing in the stock market. A camper apparently eavesdropped and came up to me later that day looking very concerned…
“Don’t go in the stalk market.” When I asked him why, he said, “my uncle was a stalker and now he’s in jail for following someone into the bathroom.”
I bring you to a camper who deserves her own section — for the sake of privacy, I will call her Apple Juice.
Apple Juice is one of the older campers (12), and my small “ALERT ALERT SOMETHING IS OFF” alarm in my head went off the second Apple Juice showed up to camp the first day wearing a belly shirt so short, from the words of a fellow counselor, “it looked like she belonged in the Spice Girls.” If her clothes were dumped in the lost and found, we would most likely assume it was misplaced by a four year old.
We soon found out that her shorts and shirt were a direct correlation to her temper — very, very, short.
One minute she loved us, the next we were her arch nemeses.
On Monday, after a small temper tantrum, Apple Juice decided to tan out on her towel… breaking the rule of “always wear the neon rashguard” (so we can spot the children when they attempt to flee). Another counselor went to casually talk to Apple Juice, and this is where the nickname came about.
Apparently, one time, a small amount of liquid pooled in Apple Juice’s belly button and she had another boy suck the liquid out. Any guesses as to what the liquid was? Yes, apple juice.
At age 12 I had a pot belly, pigtails, and the only sucking of apple juice happening in my life was through a straw out of my Juicy Juice carton. Ahh, the good ol’ days.
I’ve never seen a single episode of The Jersey Shore, but it sounds like a scene that would belong on there. And it sounds like something that might have had something to do with Snooki’s pregnancy… so uncomfortable.
Apple Juice was beginning to make the frat boys at my school look tame.
The next day, Apple Juice and another boy who I lovingly call Mr. Pig (nickname taken from a song we made up together, not a reflection on his body type) were splashing around in the ocean. I look over and see Apple Juice’s fully exposed bottom and Mr. Pig nearby.
I thought, maybe it was an accident? No. I see Apple Juice’s apple about four more times within a 10 minute time span, and other campers and counselors were starting to notice as well — including our bus driver. Apple Juice was purposefully mooning Mr. Pig.
A fellow counselor pulls Apple Juice aside as Mr. Pig raises one eyebrow at me with a smirk plastered across his face.
Mr. Pig had been corrupted.