Never having been a tween boy, I've never been quite sure about this, and the lack of major boy characters in my novels reflects this gap in my knowledge.
This weekend, however, I took a brief journey into the weird and wondrous world of the tween male while chaperoning a ski trip.
Pile four 13- and 14-year-old boys into your car for a two-hour ride back and forth to the mountains and blend into the background as any self-respecting chaperone is expected to do, and you have a ready-made laboratory for monitoring the behavior of this shadowy subculture.
Here's what I took away from the trip:
- Having the right songs downloaded onto one's iPod is of paramount importance to today's tween boy.
- Having the appropriate ring-tone song choice matched to the appropriate caller on one's cell phone is of paramount importance to today's tween boy.
- Anything and everything related to music and the devices used to play music are of paramount importance to today's tween boy.
- Tween girls come in a distant second to music in terms of importance to today's tween boy.
- Tween boys talk about tween girls in much the same way tween girls talk about tween boys, though some of the language used may be different (e.g., "You should totally go after Kayley, dude. She was looking at you all night. Seriously.")
- Tween boys can pack away a lot of food.
True, this is not enough to build a novel around. Four hours in the car with four boys hardly makes me an expert. But at least I know now to add some rock band t-shirts to my minor boy characters' wardrobes.