How to Talk to Girls
By Alec Greven
HarperCollins; 46 pages
Alec Greven, author of the new dating guide How to Talk to Girls, has a lot going for him. He's clean-cut, confident and a published author. He is also 9 years old. And although his relationship advice is nothing new girls like gifts and attention from boys; they get mad when they discover a boy has been trying to date multiple people at once its simplicity is remarkably accurate. So much for dating websites and call-in shows: the real answers can be found in what began as a $3 pamphlet handed out at his Colorado elementary school. (See the 100 best novels of all time.)
On relationships: "Sometimes, you get a girl to like you, then she ditches you. Life is hard, move on! Or sometimes it just doesn't work out. I had a crush on a girl in preschool. Then my family had to move, so I had to let her wash out of my mind."
On having a crush: "Many boys get crushes on girls. But it can be very hard to get a girl to like you. Sometimes it takes years! Whatever happens, just don't act desperate. Girls don't like desperate boys. So what do you do if you have a crush on a girl? You need to get her to like you. You can also show off a skill, like playing soccer or anything else you're good at. If you are in elementary school, try to get a girl to like you, not to love you. Wait until middle school to try to get her to love you. Otherwise, you have to hold on to her for a long time and that would be very hard. Tip: Most boys in elementary school can hold on to a girl for only 30 days."
On gifts: "It is also good to give gifts. They don't have to be big. Try to find out what she likes before you give her something. You should go around to her friends to get ideas. And I wouldn't do flowers and gifts until you are older, like in middle school, because it seems weird in elementary school. Unless you go to a school dance."
Greven does not support the "just be yourself" method of dating he recommends copying someone cool but let's be honest: sometimes that method doesn't work (especially in elementary school, when "being yourself" often translates to "eating boogers"). He warns against passing love notes, as they tend to get intercepted; he's mercifully still a few years away from discovering the horrors of drunk dialing. Greven also believes that pretty girls are coldhearted and regular-looking girls make better girlfriends (is he even old enough to have heard Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy"?). He refers to winning a girl as "winning a victory" and urges the boy to refrain from celebrating in front of his new girlfriend, lest she disapprove of his happiness and dump him.
So will the book actually help you talk to girls? Not really. But it makes for a good gag gift. Have a permanently single male friend? Want to creep out strangers by reading it alone at a bar? Self-help books written by 9-year-olds provide endless opportunities for awkward, uncomfortable amusement. Besides, nothing in the book is incorrect. We girls (and women) are not as elusive as we may seem. We like gifts and attention and people who make us laugh. We dislike hyperactive, clingy boys (and boys who wear sweatpants). If you want to talk to us, sometimes all it takes is a casual hello.
The Verdict: Read