Chick Wit: What dandelions say about men, women

I may have detected another difference between men and women, in addition to the one you're thinking of.

Before I begin, the credit for this observation goes to my best friend, Franca. She told it to me the other day, and I agreed. That's the great thing about having a best friend. We agree on everything. In fact, I can't recall the last time we disagreed about anything, and Franca would be my first phone call after I murdered someone. She wouldn't even ask why I did it. She would know I had an excellent reason. She'd just drive over with a shovel and a Hefty bag, no question.

A best friend is just another name for an accessory after the fact.

I would do it for her, too, though Franca's too nice to kill anyone. She's the good twin to my evil.

So here's what happened. Franca lives in the suburbs, and she loves this time of year, when dandelions appear on her front lawn. We agree about loving dandelions. We're not dumb, we know that they're weeds, but that's a technicality, isn't it? They're beautiful, and where do you draw the line between weeds and wildflowers? And if it's a pretty weed, grows naturally, and costs nothing, why don't we welcome it?

Don't start in with the fact that dandelions kill grass. There's room on the planet for both dandelions and grass. In fact, I think it's high time grass learned to share.

But it turns out that some of the people in Franca's neighborhood don't like dandelions, and they're men. One of them knocked on her door to suggest that his lawn guy could give her an estimate on getting rid of her dandelions, and another left a bag of weed-and-feed at her door. She thinks they were trying to do something nice, but I'm not sure. If someone left a six-pack of SlimFast on my doorstep, I wouldn't see the upside.

The dandelion issue reminded me of scenes from my second marriage, which is like watching a horror movie without the Raisinets. Strike Two liked the lawn to be dandelion-free, so we paid somebody to strew pretty balls of poison all over the grass, like nightmare Skittles. They made the yard reek of high-school swimming pool and left greasy spots on the front walk. Plus, I worried that the dogs would eat them and grow a fifth leg. Sadly, the dandelions went away, and happily, so did Thing Two.

Now my dandelions grow freely, bright splotches of yellow dotting the green lawn. They make me happy every time I see them. I love them so much I might paint my shutters that color, which Benjamin Moore calls Mellow Yellow (2020-50).

Franca likes dandelions even after they've changed to balls of wispy seeds. She reminded me that when our kids were little, we used to pull the dandelions, make a wish, and blow the seeds into the wind. She said her lawn was full of "fuzzy heads of wishes" and when she looks at it, she sees the "magic of our babies' childhood."

I told you she was the good twin.

And really, who hasn't wished on a dandelion? Wouldn't the world be a better place if there were less weed-and-feed and more wishes?

I wonder if this difference over dandelions applies to lawns in general. Thing Two was fetishistic about the lawn, and my friend Laura tells the story of the day her sons were playing Wiffle Ball and her husband felt bugged that home plate was messing up the grass. Laura told him, "We're not raising grass, we're raising boys."

He agreed, and he likes dandelions, too.

So I can't decide if this is a boy/girl thing or not. I'm curious about what you think.

And I wonder what this means for buttercups.


Lisa Scottoline is the best-selling author of 15 novels, including the recently published "Lady Killer." She can be reached at www.scottoline.com.