My father taught that women should be treated with respect and never hit. So whenever a pair of kindergarten classmates would chase or play aggressively with girls at school I would insist they stop. A fight would follow and I would lose.
So began a cycle that would last four school years as the defender became seen as an enemy. Strangely I never stopped defending myself, though I never won a single battle.
But the worst indignity happened near the outset: a female kindergartener gave me a love letter.
Technically it was a handcrafted card. The front showed a leafy green plant stalk made of colored paper. When opened, the plant tripled in height and flowered. “My love for you will grow and grow,” it promised. The sender signed her name...