I have a learning partner at school, someone with whom I must discuss challenges posed by the teacher, and create – amongst other nuggets of learning – pointilism pictures. This partner changes weekly according to a random draw of named lollipop sticks. This week for the first time in 2 and a half years, I was matched with my best friend. After hurling myself across the table in ecstaticness [sic], I reflected on the somewhat different process used for allocating playground partners, and the possible reasons.

My playground partner (the person I line up with when we come back in) is Derek*. He’s ok, but he’s a boy – he can be painful. Arabella has to line up with Frank – he’s the same. Frank and Derek like to play together, but often fall out and fight. Sigourney’s match is Malcolm. Throw him into the mix and and someone invariably gets injured.

Playground fighting

Boys and tomboys

Now, my point is this: Sigourney, Arabella and I like to play together. We are friends. We chat nicely and keep our clothes and hair tidy. But we have been banned from standing anywhere near each other in the playground line. Why? Well, because Derek, Frank and Malcolm cannot be trusted to behave responsibly together, so we girls have to keep an eye on them; keep them apart and out of trouble. Just like Mummy and her friends do with our Dads.

"Victorian School Girls"

Nice girls (ahem)

Stereotyping begins at a young age, don’t you think?

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent 😉

Playground fight photo by Flickr user Supadave. Prim and proper schoolgirls by Sevington Victorian School