Study Guide

Boy Meets Boy Quotes

  • Love

    With some breakups, all you can think about afterwards is how badly it ended and how much the other person hurt you. With others, you become sentimental for the good times and lose track of what went wrong. When I think of Kyle, the beginnings and the endings are all mixed up. (3.26)

    Love is all about flip sides of one coin. For example, it's normal to intensely love and hate the person who just dumped you. "The beginnings and endings are all mixed up" is another way of saying it.

    He's glad I found him. I'm glad I found him. We are not afraid to say this… I am not used to plainspoken, honest truth. (4.60)

    It shouldn't be an anomaly when someone decides to be honest, but unfortunately it is. There are bestselling books that teach both guys and girls how to play games to snag a mate. Most of these games involve pretending you don't like someone to get them to like you—in other words, being mean. Why do people think this is a good idea?

    Now I don't want time to stop. I want it to fast-forward an hour. Noah has become my until. (4.67)

    "My until" is a poetic way of saying the guy I can't wait to see. This is one of the things that makes a good writer good—they say ordinary things in extraordinary ways.

    They started going out in second grade and haven't been apart since. They are the one-percent of one-percent who meet early on and never need to find anybody else. There's no way to explain it. (7.25)

    Paul's friends Steven and Kate have been together so long people call them Seven and Eight. True love in childhood does happen… just like it happens that some people get struck by lightning or hit by falling pianos.

    It's not that I didn't want to kiss Noah. And I think he wanted to kiss me. But we left the moment to silence instead. The promise of a kiss will carry us forward. (9.7)

    You know how sometimes, toward the end of a really great date, you get slightly anxious to get home, be alone, and remember it? We're not the only ones who do that, are we? Well this is kind of the same thing. It's another version of "my until."

    Since he made me feel invisible, I spent months wishing he'd disappear. Now it feels like I've gotten half my wish. His spirit is gone. His body remains. (9.19)

    How many times have you seen someone put their ex on a pedestal after a breakup? They start idealizing some great person who didn't exist, and you're thinking, surely you don't mean that jerk with the bad table manners? When Paul sees Kyle looking miserable, he realizes that sometimes the person who dumped you doesn't move on to a fabulous new life.

    I lean forward and kiss him. The flowers crush between our shirts. I touch his lips, I breathe him in. I close my eyes, I open them. He is surprised, I can tell. I'm surprised too. He kisses me back with a kiss like a smile. (10.10)

    We'll go ahead and say it: David Levithan is a poet. His similes and metaphors make us want to hug him.

    "He was my first boyfriend, and I made him my everything—he was my new life, my new love, my new compass point. I guess that's the danger with firsts—you lose all sense of proportion." (10.72)

    Three of the four main characters in Boy Meets Boy—Paul, Noah, and Joni—are dealing with the fallout of first love. Ted and Kyle are dealing with it too, moping around on the sidelines, while Chuck's hurting Ted's first love (Joni) to get back at his first love (Infinite Darlene) for rejecting him. If the circumstances surrounding Tony's lack of a first love (and by circumstances we mean homophobic parents) weren't so awful, we might think he was lucky to be spared the drama.

    "I don't know what the word is for what I was to you. I didn't break up with you the right way. Something inside me flipped and I… I couldn't stand you. It wasn't your fault. But I couldn't stand you. I needed to… I needed to obliterate you. Not you personally. But the thought of you. Your presence." (12.18)

    Back to that different-sides-of-the-same-coin thing. What is it that makes love turn into disgust, indifference, or even hate, seemingly overnight, and often without warning?

    It's a fine line between love and stalking. I decide to walk it. (25.1)

    Australian comedian Tim Minchin tells a story about guy who asked him if believed in love, despite scientific evidence of its existence. Minchin's answer was, "Sure, I believe in love. Love without evidence is… stalking."

  • Sexuality and Sexual Identity

    "There isn't really a gay scene or a straight scene in our town. They got all mixed up a while back, which I think is for the best." (1.3)

    If this is the case, what are Tony's parents doing there? Does their presence imply that the whole world—or at least the whole United States—has become as accepting as Paul's town?

    "At first, I thought it was a strange kind of foreplay, but then I realized their grunts were actually insults—queer, faggot, the usual. I wasn't about to take such verbal abuse from strangers – only Joni was allowed to speak to me that way." (2.57)

    One thing about Americans that baffles many foreigners is that we show friendship by insulting each other.

    He didn't use the word gay and I didn't need him to. It was understood.

    If you meet a guy over a search for not one but three David Leavitt books, it's a pretty safe bet.

    I wonder what feeling bad means in this particular situation. I can't imagine it's the same feeling bad as when you lend your boyfriend your favorite ultra-comfortable sweater and then find him wearing it as he says that the only feeling he can muster toward you is annoyance, and then wearing it again a week later as he walks past you in the halls, pretending you don't exist as he flirts with the one girl who had been after him the whole time you'd been going out. (9.17)

    Meryn Cadell has a heartbreaking high school sweater song, appropriately called "The Sweater." She wears her crush's knitwear to school, playing it cool, only to "get a note passed to [her] by a girl in History that says 'He needs that sweater back. He forgot you put it on in the tent on Saturday and he's been looking for it.'


    We hold hands as we walk through town. If anybody notices, nobody cares. I know we all like to think of the heart as the center of the body, but at this moment, every conscious part of me is in the hand that he holds. (10.61)

    Think of all the hands you touch in your lifetime. Now think of the rare hands you touch that make you feel like this.

    To our left, a posse of Joy Scouts takes guitar lessons from a retired monk. (We used to have a troop of Boy Scouts, but when the Boy Scouts decided gays had no place in their ranks, our scouts decided the organization had no place in our town; they changed their name and continued on). (10.62)

    What does it say about gender roles in Paul's town that boys are willing to participate in an organization called Joy Scouts? And does this passage imply that most towns are not like Paul's?

    "So you dump me. You badmouth me. Then a couple of weeks later you're in the halls playing tonsil hockey with Mary Anne McAllister, telling everyone that I'd tricked you into liking guys. Now what? It didn't work with Mary Anne or Cyndi or Joanne or whoever else, so you've decided to come back to my side again?" (12.27)

    Even Paul gives Kyle a bit of (unintended?) pressure about his sexuality, implying that the "other side" didn't work for him, so now he can finally accept that he's gay.

    I know some people think liking both girls and guys is a cop-out. Some of Infinite Darlene's biggest rivals save their deepest scorn for the people they call "dabblers." But I think they're totally full of garbage. I don't see why, if I'm wired to like guys, someone else can't be wired to like both girls and guys. (12.57)

    How does this passage contradict Paul's statement in the previous quote?

    Kyle could take lessons from Jasmine—she'll fall for anybody, guy or girl. The hitch is that the person has to be on the rebound from a serious break-up. Something about this fragile-yet-vindictive state entrances her. (13.37)

    What could make someone choose partners who have recently gone through a breakup? Isn't that just setting yourself up for disappointment?

    He is shuddering and shaking and gasping. He has kept all this white noise inside him, and now some of it is coming out. His face is newborn raw, his arms wrap around his body. I move over to him and hug him tight. I tell him that he's brave. (24.76)

    Paul's description of Tony's face as "newborn raw" could be taken in two ways. The more literal interpretation is that he's crying as hard as a newborn, so his face is the same shade of red, but the figurative reading is that the relief on Tony's face is so visible it's like he's shed his skin.

  • Friendship

    "At first, I thought it was a strange kind of foreplay, but then I realized their grunts were actually insults—queer, faggot, the usual. I wasn't about to take such verbal abuse from strangers—only Joni was allowed to speak to me that way." (2.57)

    Why is it acceptable for a friend to use insulting words but not a stranger? How does jokingly using derogatory language imply closeness and friendship?

    I don't know when Infinite Darlene and I first became friends. Perhaps it was back when she was still Daryl Heisenberg, but that's not very likely; few of us can remember what Daryl Heisenberg was like, since Infinite Darlene consumed him so completely. (3.6)

    Note that the "Infinite" in "Infinite Darlene" is never explained. Let's look at Paul's word choice here—what about that "consumed"? In what way might being consumed by a new identity give one a sense of being infinite? Is Darlene infinite in a way Daryl wasn't?

    It is here that I feel the limit of our friendship. Because while Infinite Darlene feels comfortable telling me everything, I am afraid that if I tell her something, it will no longer be mine. It will belong to the whole school. (3.16)

    Friends who tell your secrets are the worst. Gossip sometimes makes kids popular, though often the people doing the talking are doing it so they don't get gossiped about.

    I was going to be his friend, and I was going to show him the possibilities. And he, in turn, would become someone I could trust even more than myself. (6.46)

    How does becoming someone's friend lead to trusting them more than you trust yourself? Is it possible to feel this way—to want such a thing—if you have true self-esteem?

    It's only after you get to know her better that you realize that somehow she's managed to encompass all her friends within her own self-image, so that when she's acting full of herself, she's actually full of her close friends, too. (7.46)

    Hmm—we're not so convinced about this one. What's the difference between "encompass" and "consume"? Is Infinite Darlene's personality so big it consumed not only Daryl, but everyone else in its path? Can Infinite Darlene be friends with someone she can't consume?

    She appeals to the part of me that yearns for instant time travel—a trip to the not-so-long-ago, when Tony, Joni and I were a band of three. (13.25)

    The entirety of Boy Meets Boy takes place in just a few weeks. The rise and fall of teenage romantic relationships and friendships is often as accelerated as teenage growth itself. If your life, like Paul's, seems like constant, fast-paced drama, it's just your external circumstances keeping up with the internal ones.

    I know Kyle will not ask anything else of me. I know I have taken some of his freak-out and made it my own. (15.31)

    Instead of consuming/encompassing Kyle's identity, Paul consumed/encompassed his problem. Perhaps true friendship comes from considered rather than across-the-board consumption.

    "You think you're such a good friend, don't you?" she snarks. "Is that why Tony's grounded and Infinite Darlene can make you do her dirty work?" (15.125)

    As if Paul had no reservations about Chuck before Infinite Darlene got involved.

    "I hate the phrase 'more than friends'," Joni told me one night not long ago. We were bundled on her couch, flipping to strange channels. "It's such nonsense. When I'm going out with someone, we're not 'more than friends'—most of the time, we're not even friends. 'More than friends' makes no sense. Look at us. There's nothing more than us." (19.29)

    Joni's romantic problems are probably due to the fact that she doesn't consider her boyfriends to be her friends and that she doesn't take time to develop friendship before a relationship.

    We are young and the night is young. We are in the middle of somewhere and we are feeling everything. (28.2)

    Take a look at the repetition in this passage: the words "we are" and "young" (Pat Benatar break, forgive us) and the joining of separate sentences with the word and twice in a row. Note that Levithan's also foregoing conjunctions here—it's not "we're young," it's "we are young." Take note, friends: rhythm and beat aren't just for awesome 80s pop songs.

  • Family

    His parents are extremely religious. It doesn't even matter which religion—they're all the same at a certain point, and few of them want a gay boy cruising around with his friends on a Saturday night. (1.1)

    It seems like religion—pick one—is often used as an explanation and justification for homophobia. And yet religion is also used as an argument for tolerance and acceptance. What do you make of this?

    A girl has appeared behind him. She is dressed in a lethal combination of pastels. She's young, but she looks like she could be a hostess on the Pillow and Sofa Network. (1.37)

    Remember the visual anchors we talked about in the "In a Nutshell" section (if not, hop on over there and then hop right back)? Levithan's description of Claudia's outfit is a perfect example. When someone says "Pillow and Sofa Network," you (or at least we) immediately picture pink or green fabric with a cabbage rose print.

    He told me about his school, which was not like my school, and his parents, who were not like my parents. (6.44)

    We learn a lot about Tony's parents, but we never learn much about his school. Why do you think Levithan leaves that information out?

    If my family were to move (honestly, I can't imagine it, but I'm stating it here for the sake of argument), I think it would take us about three years to unpack all our boxes. Noah's family, however, has put everything in its place. (8.8)

    Moving a lot generates an impressive efficiency, but Noah's taken impressive to a whole 'nother level. (How did a whole 'nother get started as a turn of phrase, anyway? Who decided that was a good idea?)

    Now, don't get me wrong—I like my family. While many of my friends' parents have been arguing, divorcing, and custody-sharing, my parents have been planning family vacations and setting the table for family dinners. (10.3)

    Paul has an unusually peaceful relationship with his parents. There are really only two moments in the book when their behavior embarrasses him—when his dad corners Noah to show him the baby pictures, and when his mom makes him wear the reflective vest to go visit his boyfriend. (The horror)

    Because I am my mother's son, I noticed right away that Noah's bottom front teeth overlap a little. Because I am not entirely my mother's son, I find this flaw to be beautiful. (10.20)

    What do you think is more beautiful: a supermodel, or someone kind of dorky? (It's okay—no one else will see your answers. Probably.)

    I know that other people's families are always more amusing than your own. But I'm not used to my family being the other person's family. (10.46)

    You never know what other people are going to find amusing about your family. What if it's something you hadn't even thought of?

    Now, if this were my sister talking, I would say something like, I want you to stop being such a glum diva. But Noah is clearly a better (or, at the very least, a more patient) person than I am, since he takes it all in stride. (10.115)

    Challenge: call at least one person a glum diva today. Bonus points: let glum diva sneak into your vocabulary at every slightly relevant juncture.

    He went back home and they promised to hold back their condemnation. Their prayers were quieter, but they still filled the air. Tony couldn't trust them any longer—not with the gay part of his life. (14.7)

    Compartmentalizing works well sometimes, like when you have to study for a test, practice the cello, and resist the urge to have a text-a-thon with your posse. But having to compartmentalize who you are—the most fundamental parts of yourself—can result in a shattered or stunted identity.

    I rock him a little and look up to see his mother in the doorway again. This time I can read her perfectly. She wants to be where I am, holding him. But I know she will not say the things I am willing to say. (24.76)

    Sometimes when the family you're born with can't love you the way you need to be loved, the family you choose has to step in and make up the difference.

  • Gender

    There are few sights grander at eight in the morning than a six-foot-four football player scuttling through the halls in high heels, a red shock wig, and more-than-passable makeup. (3.4)

    We won't argue with that. Infinite Darlene is many things, but subtle is in no way one of them.

    "Ah'm so glad I caught you," Infinite Darlene exclaims, sounding like Scarlett O'Hara as played by Clark Gable. (3.5)

    Infinite Darlene is further playing with identity here, exploring not only an indeterminate gender presentation, but a Southern accent.

    He was a decent football player, but nowhere near as good as when he started wearing false eyelashes. (3.6)

    Paul uses male pronouns the first time he tells Infinite Darlene's story, but never again. Even though he's talking about Daryl, and even though Infinite Darlene is still the quarterback on the (we assume) boys's team, he calls her "she" the rest of the time, which is the respectful thing to do.

    The other drag queens at our school rarely sit with her at lunch; they say she doesn't take good enough care of her nails, and that she looks a little too buff in a tank top. (3.7)

    Infinite Darlene can't help what her body looks like. How do you think this affects Infinite Darlene's sense of self—or does it?

    "He wants me to march with the rest of the team. But as homecoming queen, I'm also supposed to be introducing the team. If I don't do the proper introductions, my tiara might be in doubt. Trilby Pope would take my place, which would be ghastly, ghastly, ghastly. Her boobs are faker than mine." (3.10)

    Just like "the other drag queens" (see previous quote) reject Infinite Darlene, here we see Infinite Darlene returning the favor with her judgy take on Trilby Pope's boobs. Why can't these girls all just get along?

    Infinite Darlene strides out in a pink ball gown, covered by her quarterback jersey. The homecoming king, Dave Sprat, hangs from her arm, a good thirteen inches shorter than her (if you count the heels.) (4.12)

    We're digging on Levithan's use of "hangs from her arm." It could simply refer to the height difference, but check out the subtle gender twist here—when you think of someone hanging on someone else's arm, you might be reminded of the term arm candy, which usually refers to a woman.

    And I can tell that even Infinite Darlene is taken aback, because it's clear he's seeing her just as she wants to be seen. So few people do that. (7.55)

    This statement is a bit confusing, because it seems that she is seen as she wants to be seen, at least in school. And her town's about as accepting as it gets. Who do you think could be giving her the side-eye about gender?

    This close, I can see through all her layers. Beneath the mascara and the lipstick and the chicken pox scar on her lower lip, beneath the girl and the boy to the person within, who is concerned and confused and sincere. (15.49)

    Why does Infinite Darlene have to put on a veil of insincerity? And in what way does Paul mean "confused"—confused about gender, or the regular teenage confusion about life?

    She is dressed immaculately in a vintage Charlie's Angels T-shirt and white pleather miniskirt. (I have no idea how she pulls it off. In fact, I have no idea how she pulls it on.) (18.26)

    Three words: Work. It. Girl.

    "What the hell are you doing here?!?"

    This is Joni's reaction. The rest of the girls are nonchalant. They all know I'm gay, and that their boobs mean as much as their elbows to me. (19.14-15)

    But what about privacy? And what about permission? Do you think there's some male privilege at work in this moment?

  • Art and Culture

    I am a little worried, since the last time I painted there were numbers on the paper telling me which colors to use. I am an ace doodler, but other than that my artistic repertoire is quite limited. (8.48)

    Paul is nervous that Noah will think his painting is stupid, but he makes an effort because he likes Noah so much. Take note: this is almost always the right thing to do, especially with a cute boy.

    I touch the brush to the paper and try to make it soar in time with the song. I swoop it up, then down, then up again. I am not painting a shape. I am painting the tune. (8.64)

    Sometimes finding a new way of looking at something that scares you, or that you're not good at, is like finding a new key to an old door.

    He is concentrating on the music now, moving his brush in an arc. He is completely in tune with the trumpet that solos above the beat. His mood reflects indigo. (8.76)

    When Paul enters Noah's studio and sees his mood as a color, he's learning to speak Noah's language. He's seeing who Noah really is for the first time.

    I do not stop to listen, but instead work it into my canvas. My flights of color are meeting his dancer somewhere in the middle of the room. We do not need to speak to be aware of each other's presence. (8.100)

    The last sentence is generally true anytime you're with your mega-crush, but the fact that Paul's found an alternate way to communicate with Noah right off the bat is pretty sweet. It's sort of like his made-up twin language with Tony.

    Chuck asks me about movies, because Joni must have told him I like movies. But he only asks me about the movies he's seen, so he can give his own opinion. Opinions like, "That helicopter chase was intense" and "She can't act, but she sure is a babe." (9.61)

    In contrast to Noah, Chuck is perhaps the least artful person ever—it's safe to say he and Joni aren't spending the weekends watching Bergman films. Old football footage seems more up his alley.

    Noah and I start to talk about our favorite books and our favorite paintings – sharing our Indicators, hoping the other person will appreciate them as much. (10.64)

    Our artistic preferences are a kind of shorthand for who we are. They help us condense our life stories into a sensory language; a series of packages to hand over to those we want to love us.

    The colors come first. Red. Orange. Aquamarine. Flashes of solid color, like origami paper lit by television light. After going through colors, I picture patterns—stripes, slants, dots. Sometimes I pass through an image in a split second. Others I hold on to. I pause on the way to Elsewhere. And then I'm there. (16.4)

    Paul uses colors and images to take him away from reality and to Elsewhere, his meditative world. He uses music as an image-making tool in much the same way Noah does, but without painting it.

    This isn't Elsewhere; this is Somewhere. I try to switch back to colors and patterns, but all of them now come from Noah's brush.

    Seeing the world through Noah's eyes has made it impossible for Paul to see things the way he did before. That's what good art—and love—tend to do.

    He's changed the perspective—it's now a portrait looking slightly down. The candlelight makes her expression waver; her lines blur. The thing that strikes me the most is the portrait's silence. (22.94)

    Dig it: Kyle can draw too. Paul loves him the artsy boys. Note that when Kyle tries to communicate through art, Paul no longer feels the electricity that he feels with Noah. Instead all he feels is silence.

    I give him materials of love, materials of hope, and like an expert quiltmaker, he sews them together into something grand and entire. (24.29)

    D.J. Zeke does with emotions what the talented and creative strive to do: he turns them into art. In this case, his art melts a little of the protective ice around Noah's once-warm heart. (See? We almost pulled off a poem there. You don't need meter if the last words rhyme, right?)

  • Religion

    His parents are extremely religious. It doesn't even matter which religion—they're all the same at a certain point, and few of them want a gay boy cruising around with his friends on a Saturday night. (1.1)

    All interesting literary characters have an objective and obstacle. Boy Meets Boy introduces Tony's in the first paragraph: his objective is to hang out with his friends, who accept him for who he is; his obstacle is his religious parents, who don't.

    So every week Tony feeds us bible stories, then on Saturday we show up on his doorstep well versed in parables and earnestness, dazzling his parents with our blinding purity. (1.1)

    Tony, Paul, and Joni are good kids, but when dealing with parents whose religion tells them everyone's a sinner, they have to lie and pretend to be good in a different way.

    "You've run out of chapter and verse for your study group? O Lord, as I walk through the valley of the shadow of doubt, at least let me wear a Walkman…"

    "The Lord is my DJ," Tony says solemnly. "I shall not want." (1.72-73)

    Tony and Ted are joking here, obviously, but check out the word of the prayer Ted changes. No, not the Walkman part—he says "the valley of the shadow of doubt" rather than "the valley of the shadow of death." He could just be misquoting, but we think doubt is an interesting word choice here. What does Tony doubt? Is there ever a situation in which doubt is (almost) as bad as death?

    They think that Tony's personality is simply a matter of switches, and that if they find the right one, they can turn off his attraction to other guys and put him back on the road to God. (10.91)

    This is the thinking behind anti-gay "conversion therapy" programs, too. Unsurprisingly, those don't work either.

    Tony and I figure the best thing a straight boy with religious, intolerant parents can do for his love life is tell his parents he's gay. (14.1)

    When Tony's parents thought he was straight, they wouldn't let him hang out with girls. Now whenever he mentions that he wants to do something with a girl, they're all over it.

    They didn't kick Tony out of the house, but they made him want to leave. They didn't yell at him—instead they prayed loudly, delivering all of their disappointment and rage and guilt to him in the form of an address to God. (14.7)

    Why couldn't they just talk to Tony? Do they actually think praying might work, or is their prayer solely passive-aggressive?

    I can't even talk to Tony anymore—I tried on Sunday, but his mom hung up on me, muttering something about the devil's influence, which I think was a little overstated. (15.3)

    Levithan interweaves seriousness with laugh breaks throughout the book, taking real human problems and writing about them with a hefty dose of levity and camp. In a way, making the villains so far-fetched makes the protagonists seem more normal—when we don't have to focus on the sexuality and gender of gay and trans characters, we can focus on the plights that make them universally human.

    There is only one cemetery in our town, where people of all religions and beliefs rest side by side. Just like a community. (22.1)

    Is death a requirement for people of differing ideologies to share space peacefully? Would the people in Paul's community live as peacefully if Tony's parents weren't the only homophobic ones (at least that we are told about)?

    "They honestly believe that if I don't straighten out, I will lose my soul. It's not just that they don't want me kissing other guys—they think if I do it, I will be damned. Damned, Paul. And I know that doesn't mean anything to you. It doesn't really mean anything to me. To them, though, it's everything." (23.34)

    This is the first time in the book we see Tony's parents in a sympathetic light. Even more than they don't want a gay son, they don't want a son in hell.

    Is she devastated that Tony is beyond "saving"? Is she cursing fate—or even God—for putting her in this situation? Is she embracing it as a challenge? (23.73)

    Good questions. Here's another, though: Could she be afraid that ultimately the differences between her religious beliefs and her son's orientation will result in her losing her son?

  • Happiness

    Our happiness is the closest we'll ever come to a generous God, so we figure Tony's parents would understand, if only they weren't set on misunderstanding so many things. (1.1)

    Do Tony's parents see God as generous? Does that generosity supply their happiness in the same way their money (indirectly) supplies Tony's?

    Tony hesitates—he isn't much of a dancer. But as I've told him a million times, when it comes to true dancing, it doesn't matter what you look like—it's all about the joy you feel. (1.10)

    Same with true painting, as Paul finds out later. At what point is feeling joyous not enough to make self-expression beautiful? Will someone who can't dance always appear beautiful doing it, provided they love it enough?

    More than anything in this strange life, I want Tony to be happy. We found out a long time ago that we weren't meant to fall in love with each other. But a part of me still fell in hope with him. I want a fair world. And in a fair world, Tony would shine. (1.57)

    Tony's parents' unhappiness—if not across the board, then at least with him—prevents him from feeling happiness of his own. And if the previous quote is true, someone who isn't happy can never shine.

    The only things I notice around me are the good things—the mesmerizing tunes spilling out through the open door of the record store; the older man and the even older woman sitting on a park bench, sharing a blintz; the seven-year-old leaping from sidewalk square to sidewalk square, teetering and shifting to avoid stepping on a crack. (10.61)

    Our internal circumstances color our perception of external circumstances. Our life experience creates the lens through which we see—it's a form of selective noticing.

    Sure enough, our paths cross. He seems happy to see me, but I'm not sure he is happy to see me. (15.38)

    Why do people who are unhappy feel the need to pretend to be happy? Would the world be more beautiful, if arguably sadder, if we all showed our true feelings?

    Shells ring my shadow. I reach over and pick one up, expecting to hear the sea. But the shells are silent. Tony walks by and waves. He looks happy, and I'm glad. (16.7)

    Even when Paul is Elsewhere, he's worried about Tony. At least in his imaginary world, Tony gets to be happy.

    How do you stay together? I want to ask them, the same way I want to ask my happy parents, the same way I want to go up to old people and ask them, What is it like to live so long? (20.2)

    Living harmoniously with another person requires living harmoniously within yourself. How many teenagers do you know who truly have that inner harmony?

    I look to the funky puff-couches in the corner and see Cody (my first elementary school boyfriend) hanging with his new boyfriend, whose name is either Lou or Reed. They have sunk into the cushions, sharing a single cup of latte, sip by sip. Happiness rises from them like steam. (20.4)

    Okay so we chose this quote partially because it mentions Lou Reed, however we also love the beautiful writing—the rising of the happiness like steam. Unfortunately though, sometimes walking through someone else's latte of happiness only makes you sadder.

    Tony's on the phone with Kyle when we get there. Caught up in the happiness of things, I almost tell Tony to invite him over. Then I realize what a colossally awkward move that would be (with Noah there) and keep my big mouth shut. (25.44)

    Excellent move, Paul—way to refuse to complicate a situation. We're proud of what you've learned.

    I see Noah walking over to me, care in his eyes, a blessed smile on his lips.

    And I think to myself, What a wonderful world. (28.7-8)

    What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong is simultaneously one of the happiest and saddest songs ever. The ending of Boy Meets Boy is similarly bittersweet.