Not even kids are exempt from the anxieties of hetero friendship. The Telegraph reports that a Cardiff University survey of 10- to 12-year-olds found that the age group has a hard time being “just friends” with peers of the opposite sex.
In interviews, many of the kids talked about feeling obliged to participate in boyfriend-girlfriend culture for social status. One boy admitted to pretending that his best friend Alice was his cousin for an entire year so that they could be free from “heterosexual teasing.”
“We’re either ‘single pringles,’ or ‘taken bacon,’” said one girl of the romantic status quo.
The report discusses sexual imagery in pop culture as a potential factor. How distant a concern "cooties" now seem.