Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Purple Glove

The Boy is, as I have mentioned before, a sensitive soul - artistic, with an odd and singular view of the world. He has told us for the last six months of his desire to choose songwriting as a career - pretty amazing, if not for the choice than certainly for the length of time this 3 year old has held tight to it. He paints, and draws and stares at trees. He also is a typical three year old boy in almost all other aspects.

But of late there is a certain very feminine quality that's appeared in his choices. His favorite color is pink (which, whether male or female, is just a bad call). When he dances, which is frequently, he likes to shake his ass like a pole dancer. He told my mother the other day that when he grows up he wants to be a girl. None of this bothers me. He is who he is and however he ultimately makes his way in the world, I know it will be as a loving and caring soul. Gay or straight, masculine or feminine, our son will always have our support and love.

Nonetheless, its a hard row to hoe for those that step out of their assigned gender roles in our oh-so-tolerant culture. I would like him to have some skills with which to cope with the expectations and stereotypes.

Yesterday, while at Target with the kid, I was picking up some overnight pull-ups for him. He still wears them to avoid accidents, which though rare, are still occurring. As I searched for the appropriate size he announced cheerfully, "Daddy, here's some with Cinderella on them. I looooove Cinderella. I want these!"

They weren't in his size so it wasn't an issue but he spent the rest of the excursion lamenting, "I wish I could have the Cinderella underwear. I sure wish I could."

I asked him what he liked about Cinderella and he said, "She's nice and kind... and has lots of pretty dresses. I love the dresses."

Ah well. To soothe his sadness, I got him his first baseball glove.

Hey, there are plenty of gay ballplayers.

I just fear for him in the playground hell. I joked with my wife that I thought I should spend more one-on-one time with him - to perhaps butch him up a little. My wife responded, "Doing what? Cooking?"

When I related the anecdote to Curry he added, "Not cooking; picking out furniture."

I am no macho role model. I care more for a good brine or delicate sauce than monster trucks. I prefer mid-century french design to Lazyboy. I revel in fine art more than centerfolds. I prefer theatre and dance to Ultimate Fighting Championships. I am outside the gender models myself. But I can function in a locker room. I can shoot pool with a longneck in my hand. I can skyhook a three-pointer without embarassement. I can still thread a needle with a football. In short, though I am hardly a man's man, I can, in a pinch, blend in.

That is all I hope for the boy. Save him the suffering he will no doubt experience if he can not at least keep up with the crap expected of his gender.

We played catch yesterday afternoon with his new glove. He enjoyed it - enjoyed his glove, though he used it primarily to protect his face and didn't really catch anything. He thanked me for the glove in the sweet way he has and hoped out loud we could do it the next day too. And then he added, "I love my new glove, but I wish we had gotten the purple one."

1 comment:

Blaize said...

My friends have a son who loves pink, likes to wear dresses, and always wants to be the princess. They, too, don't have a problem with it.

It sounds like you are doing a good job.

Too many such boys would have the pink traumatized out of them, sometimes by their own parents. I've heard parents telling their pre-toddler sons not to be "sissies."

I hope your kid learns how to pick out furniture. There's a lot of really bad furniture out there....