Grasshopper heads, tattle tales and living room soccer.

I was 6 the first time I was exposed to the act of flirting.

He chased me around the playground with grasshopper heads. (Yes. He tore the heads off himself. Which, now that I think back on it, should have concerned me more than it did. Or at least my parents should have been concerned. Someone should have been concerned). Nevertheless, boy chases girl, girl squeals and runs, boy is triumphant in the act of flirting.

Boy, was he a lady-killer (or grasshopper killer, still not sure). Recess was his tool of the trade. After the grasshopper massacre, he boldly went where no 6-year-old boy had gone before: leaping from a park bench. I'll never forget this. "Don't try this, girls," he bravely said to myself and Best Friend, before daringly jumping from atop the bench to the dark depths below (about one foot off the ground). I still dream of the heroism.

Since the beginning of time, or, at least since 1988, boys have used macho demeanor, tom foolery and just plain gross-out tactics to trick us ladies into "like." How is it, then, that it always worked? I'd like to think I'm a fairly level-headed lady. I don't like mind games. The only games I'll play come from a deck of cards or involve a lot of drinking. But grasshopper heads? Park bench leaping? Oh, it doesn't stop there.

My first real love, we'll call him Love #1, had me sent against the wall during 6th grade recess. Yes, I'm aghast as well! What is it with recess? Love #1 and his pals liked to make fun of me. I know, I don't understand it either, but, it's true. So one day I gave them a taste of their own medicine.

"Kiss my aspirin!" I yelled across the swingset. That's right, I said it. Bad idea. My very own third grade teacher had to do the honors of sending me against the wall as punishment, after Love #1 tattled.

Five years later I dated Love #1 for a year.

Why, ladies, do we fall for such low blows? Was recess the foreplay of elementary school? Was it preparing us for the men of our futures?

Fast-forward 12 years. The Boyfriend had some tricks of his own. If you ask him, he'll call it "soccer." But I'll call it sneaky. (Don't ask him). Although I'll admit his sky-rise condo made for a good soccer field.

OK, so we did play soccer in his living room the first night we met, I'll admit it. But it was dirty. (And I beat him.) (Again, don't ask him.) There was shoves, kicks, grabs, flailing arms. I woke up with bruises. Actual bruises. But I also woke up with a smile on my face and a new love interest.

Was I slipped a potion in my sleep? I don't know. Did the rough-and-tumble soccer match really work? You can ask him this one, but I'll admit it, I like him a bit. I'll also admit I maybe had a few tricks up my own sleeve. Some of those shoves and grabs, those may have been intentional. Actually, they were completely intentional. And dangit, I'm proud of it. And in love.

After all, I learned from the best on the playground.