The eternal boy-girl equation explained

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I detected instantly that she didn’t like me. It’s a fact of life that a girl can tell in a flash if another girl likes her. Feely says that there is a broken telephone connect between men and women, and we can never know which of us rang off. With a boy you never know whether he’s smitten or gagging, but with a girl you can tell in the first three seconds. Between girls there is a silent and unending flow of invisible signals, like the high-frequency wireless messages between the shore and the ships at sea, and this secret flow of dots and dashes was signaling that Mary detested me. — young Flavia Sabine de Luce, aspiring chemist and protagonist of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie