Mrs Bovary: Opposites Don’t Attract

Writer, illustrator and self-confessed sociopath Mrs Bovary offers up parental musings in her new column. This week, can boys and girls really be best friends?

Ever since my son Hubert was born his best friend has been a girl, two weeks his senior, called Beatrice. Her mother and I met through NCT, passing multi-coloured knitted boobs to each other under the direction of a woman called Ruth who incidentally also knitted her own jewellery.

A few months after the babies were born and their characters started to form we would say how similar they were and how happy they seemed to play together. Wasn’t it unusual for a boy and a girl? Wasn’t it uncanny? And what good fortune it was that they should get on so well and we should get on so well because it made playdates ­­­– so often reminiscent of dental surgery without anaesthesia – palatable. Hubert and Beatrice would toddle hand in hand together on Hampstead Heath and we would run ahead of them, recording it on our phones, laughing insanely and crashing into trees.

There was also another element to it, how progressive this pairing was.

“My boy’s best friend is a girl. A female. A person of the opposite sex,” I would brag, cramming cake into my mouth and imagining the moment that Naomi Wolf would knight me with a garland of knitted vaginas (thanks, Ruth!), witnessed by an audience of third-wave feminists.


But that changed the moment that Hubert turned three and started preschool this September.

“Who are your friends?” I asked him on the way home after his first week.

“Zac and Spencer,” he said.

“But what about those girls, Anya and Emilie?” I asked. After all, what red-blooded male wouldn’t go mad for Scandinavian twins?

“Eurgh. I don’t like them. They girls.”

There it was, abrupt, instinctive and unmitigated ­– severance from Beatrice and her kind in exchange for solemn allegiance to male-hood.  And with that evaporated my garland aspirations.

{All images: © Bovary & Co}

Mrs Bovary is a writer and illustrator. She has one son, aged 3. Her perfect winter Sunday is catching up with friends and family over a good lunch in her kitchen. Follow Mrs Bovary on twitter @BelsizeBovary, visit her blog or go shopping at Bovary & Co.