FENCING: the art or practice of attack and defense with the foil, épee, or saber
My nephew is visiting us this week so that he can attend fencing camp in a neighboring city. I dropped him off his first day of camp and was impressed by the number of children attending what seemed to me to be an obscure summer camp selection.
I was pleased to see that roughly one-quarter of the participants were girls. I was ecstatic to see the girl who walked in looking chic in her hip eyewear and color-coordinated handbag was more than able to handle a foil.
But, gender differences were apparent when one of the coaches gave a history of weapons introduction. He revealed a huge sword with that signature “sword exiting sheath” sound and the faces on the campers were priceless. The girls were interested. The boys were in love. Their eyes doubled in size and virtually glowed with delight. The gym was filled with vibrating energy from their expectant bodies. It was something primal.
It reminded me of the time I made Valentine’s for Son’s preschool. I punched out heart shaped petals that transformed dum dum suckers into flowers (candy part of dum dum served as the center of the flower; the lollipop stick functioned as the stem). When Son deliver them to his waiting friends, my jaw dropped. It became clear that all the girls saw them like the flowers I had intended while the boys saw them as swords. For the boys, they saw the dum dum as the handle, the heart-shaped petals as the hilt, and the stick as the blade.
It was like one of those optical illusions where some people see the young lady of means and others see the old bag lady.
Different. Not right or wrong. Just different.