ALTERNATE TITLE 1: Why I Need to Have a Daughter
ALTERNATE TITLE 2: Why Everyone should be Glad I Don’t Have a Daughter
ALTERNATE TITLE 3: Why Liberals are Dumbasses and Don’t Run Anything
The boy’s at a birthday party right now. I’m not at the party, but my wife is; as someone who has run dozens of parties over the years for young kids where the adults way outnumbered the kids, I long for the days when it was okay to just drop your child off at a birthday party and then just go away for a couple of hours, but that’s not how society– or at least the parts of it I move in– works any longer. I wouldn’t have objected to going, for the record, but I had some stuff to do around here and she volunteered. So she’s there and I’m here.
The party’s for one of the girls in his class at Hogwarts. I had been meaning all week to email her parents and ask for some details about what she might want for her birthday, and finally remembered to do it yesterday. Mom responded pretty promptly. The first sentence of the email was “Oh, she’s all girl.”
I would kinda have liked some more specificity than that, but whatever; basically it meant go to the Pink Aisle and close your eyes and pick something.(*) My wife and I went through this fun and stupid rigamarole in the Pink Aisle last night where neither of us really wanted to get her something froofy and glittery and princessy but that’s basically all there is; I suggested a couple of different (mostly pink and purple!) age-appropriate Lego sets when my son came running over with a Barbie doll dressed as a superhero.
Just under $20, Barbie, and the boy literally picked it out. Fine. Done.
The mental subcurrent of all this, of course, is that while I don’t especially like the idea of plastering kids with this is for boys and this is for girls, it ain’t like my own son isn’t into superheroes. Of course, so is his daddy, and I suspect if I had a daughter she’d be just as able to tell you about the Hulk and Iron Man as he is, but I don’t have a daughter, now, do I, so who knows how much reinforcing of The Patriarchy I’d be doing as a parent compared to how much I’m already doing, and who the fuck am I to try and subtly condition somebody else’s kid by trying to find a toy for her that isn’t ridiculously gendered when I have never not once suggested my own son go into the Pink Aisle when he was hunting for toys for himself.
(Did you know there are girl Nerf toys? I did not know this.)
So, yeah, whatever, we got the kid a Barbie doll, and somehow I managed to turn buying a gift for a five-year-old who I think I can pick out of a lineup, maybe, into some sort of political act, because that’s exactly the sort of stupid wanker I am sometimes. And then my wife texted me from the party while I was busy hanging a mirror at home (let’s not let the gendered nature of that little detail escape us, either) to inform me that this party had blue ribbon water and pink ribbon water and she’d just heard one of the boys loudly insist that he needed the “boy water.” This was, thankfully, not my son.
We shoulda gotten the kid a soccer ball.
(*) And I should make this explicit, too– Mom was trying to be helpful, and her point was “Don’t stress yourself out too much about a present.” She explicitly said that her daughter would be perfectly happy just to have all of her friends there. This post is about I’m an idiot sometimes, not Jeez, look at how these people I barely know are raising their kid, just to make perfectly certain we understand each other.