Sometimes I fantasize about what my life would have been like to have had only daughters. In so many ways, raising males presents challenges. I think of how, when James was a toddler, I had to stuff our books into our bookcases so tightly that he couldn't pull them out and destroy them and how Isabel, his little sister, would, at the same age, gently pull them out, slowly examine the pages, and methodically put them back in place. I'm not into gender stereotyping, but experience suggests some broad differences which stretch beyond what mere individual personality differences can account for. Author Elizabeth Peters is spot-on in her characterization of life with a son, especially in her quartet of novels from "Seeing a Large Cat" through to "He Shall Thunder in the Sky". She has acknowledged that she based her character of Ramses on her own son and his friends. Still, I'm aware that having an all-female family is not necessarily the road to familial bliss, as my close friend, Mary, mother of four young women, has confirmed.
When it comes to knitting for male persons, author/designer Bruce Weinstein has it mostly right. The young man in my life (my son, James) wants knits that will not stand out, but that will make him look cool while keeping him warm. Examples:
Of course, that colour choice might be up for grabs, since over dinner last night (baked beans over mashed sweet potatoes, accompanied by fennel salad), James informed me that he might actually like a cream-coloured pullover. Quite a shocking revelation--perhaps his fashion sense is maturing, along with everything else!
BTW, for anyone who wants a simple winter salad, very light and refreshing, here's my recipe, such as it is, for the above-mentioned salad.
Fennel and Apple Salad
1 fennel heart, thinly sliced
1 apple, of a crisp, juicy variety such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Fuji, unpeeled,
and thinly sliced
¼ c of thinly sliced red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of lemon juice
Mix the first three ingredients in a large bowl. Use a whisk to emulsify the oil and lemon juice. Toss with fennel, apple and onion. Chill before serving.
If you double it, you'll have enough for lunch the next day; it keeps very well overnight.