When we were kids, my younger brother Greg drove me bonkers. His favorite activity was lying like a corpse on my bed while I screamed, “GET OUT, GET OUT, GET OUT!” until I finally dragged him into the hallway. He also liked hiding, then jumping out and scaring me. He wailed like a cat in an imitation of my singing in the shower. I found out he read my diary. (How? By reading his.)
But we were still fiercely protective of each other, especially as the only Chinese kids in a neighborhood rampant with racism, and as we got older, we became more friends than squabbling siblings, banding together against our nagging parents and their disapproval of our non-traditional pursuits (book writing for me, screenwriting for him). But it was when I was going through the toughest time in my life that Greg became not just my ally but my voice of reason, my Cassandra, the one person I knew who was unafraid to tell me the truth. Keep reading »
It strikes me as interesting that a short but sweet essay on the benefits of having a sister, called “Why Sisterly Chats Make People Happier,” has been one of the most popular articles on The New York Times website for over a week. The essay is in response to a recent Brigham Young University study which claims that men who have sisters are happier than those who don’t. The essay’s author, linguist Deborah Tannen, expands the discussion to theorize that this is because women, and thus sisters, are more talkative, so they are better at communicating … Keep reading »
In a dream world, where my uterus wasn’t running out of time, childbirth was painless, and kids behaved like angels, I would have four kids: three girls, one boy. Unfortunately, in the real world, my son, having grown up surrounded by girls, would be viewed as “less sexy” by women as an adult. That’s according to a study conducted at the University of Texas and published in the journal Psychological Science, which says that men who grow up with a lot of female siblings will have less sex as adults. Keep reading »
It was just my sister, my boyfriend and me at the tapas bar. Over Spanish food and mojitos, we were laughing and drinking. Like any night I can liberate her from small, crying children, I considered it a success. Then my boyfriend rose to head to the restroom and my sister lurched her head across the table. “I’ll make this quick,” she said her voice lowered. “I have to tell you something.” She then divulged a suburban marital drama and asked me for advice. My poor boyfriend was exiled to the bar for privacy and then deposited at home by himself. The sisters had things to discuss.
I’ve long considered my older sisters to be my closest confidantes. Heck, the three of them practically raised me. When your family is as screwed-up as mine, that’s what happens. But that night at the tapas bar was the first time I didn’t just feel like the little sister, but the friend too. Keep reading »
My big sister’s favorite game to play with me as a child was a simple one that I’ll just call “Lure John into the dark basement, then race up the stairs and lock the door.” It was a game that I always lost, and she always won. I’d beg her to open the door, and she’d just cackle. My sister had a wicked snicker. She wasn’t sadistic. This was just the law of the jungle. The price I paid for her not smothering me in the cradle. The door would eventually open like her arms and her laughter would be a sprinkler on a summer day, soaking us both. So we’d both end up laughing, and there would be no grudges. Because there really aren’t any grudges between brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters are as close as peanut butter and jelly. Keep reading »