Mommy’s little titty boy – ahem, me – loved playing with his Fisher-Price kitchen set as a child. My uncles ridiculed me to no end because, well, wasn’t I an adorable, precocious homosexual? I eschewed the staples of masculine tradition – footballs, basketballs, baseballs – for pots and pans, hard plastic slices of white bread and faux-liquid glasses of orange juice. It was my figurative ‘cup of tea.’
Serving up make-believe breakfast to my real-life family felt meaningful. I got to be just like mommy. There was fulfillment in those habits because I knew innately that caring for people you loved was a good thing to do. What did I know?
I liked gymnastics, too. I marveled at the fluidity of movements that gymnasts displayed on the floor routine with malleable parts like a Gumby doll. Picking up speed and prancing about; flipping high into the sky two or three rotations at a time and landing with perfect balance. To my four-year-old eyes, there was no human equivalent to what gymnasts could compel their bodies to do.
I wanted to be just like them, although another innate quality of mine – impatience – killed that dream. I was uncoordinated and would be damned if I’d spend an extra day doing anything but 360 degree flips from a set of uneven bars. I could’ve stuck with it and improved, but what that’s a story for another day.
What I do know is this. I’m thankful for two parents who allowed me the freedom to be ‘Mommy’s Little Titty Boy.’ Though I eventually fell in love with basketball and feel like a map-less tourist in my own kitchen, it was never because I was pushed that way. I was encouraged – not just through words, but in deeds – to pursue and explore the activities that piqued my interest.
What wonderful, bizarre creatures children are. They’re like house puppies who are finally let off the leash in an open park. They never stop exploring; never stop imagining. Because no one told them there was another way or that their had to be another way. They never knew that playing with a kitchen set or wanting to be a gymnast were ‘gay’ ambitions. For that matter, they didn’t even know what ‘gay’ was.
In time, though, they learn. Kids don’t think of implications – they either like something or they don’t. Their parents and their peers, on the other hand, are a different animal. They can think of no greater ill than a kid who even smells gay, so they pigeon hole him. “You’re a boy,” they’ll say, “so you’re playing sports. You can’t play with dolls; they’re for girls.” They’ll say they’re protecting their kids from ridicule, ostracism, etc., but who are they protecting? Their child, or their own false sense of ego?
I wish we’d get over it. I wish we’d get over ourselves, but we won’t. We’re too afraid and simple-minded for that, on the whole.
As a kid, I never had to reconcile my habits and hobbies with which gender my penis found favorable. They were mutually exclusive, in my eyes. I was attracted to girls – still am – and never understood how that had anything to do with which toys I liked to play with.
And if we’re a generation worthy of procreation, we ought to teach our kids that they can become whoever they damn well please.