Saturday morning we talked about the word "gay". I wondered if Jacob heard it before, notably the other day when we were walking down the street in front of the high school and one kid called the other "gay" while sort of playfully pushing him off the curb in a way that showed it was meant to be an insult.
Jacob is in total awe of teenagers. He wants to be one but he's a little scared of them too. He's trying to figure them out before he gets there himself. I knew he was watching.
He has heard it before, but didn't know what it meant.
He was surprised to know that there was a special name for two men or two women who loved each other.
A word for that.
He's heard people refer to themselves as gay, but he thought it meant awesome. I love it.
Because, he said, "everyone I know who has ever talked about themselves being gay is really awesome. I thought they were just saying how they felt about themselves and their friends".
We live in a gay-friendly city and in what is becoming a gay neighborhood. We have a lot of gay friends and family members, and until recently Jacob never thought that there might be something different about that. Something that deserves a word other than "couple" or "married" or "in love" or "family".
Last year a little boy told him that it was wrong for two men or two women to be in love, and Jake gave him the old What's What on his opinion about that. They aren't friends anymore for a few reasons, but that's the thing that sticks in his mind as the beginning of the end of the friendship. I was upset that it happened when it did, but it's turned out to be a mini blessing. One of those things that has since launched one thousand ships. We got to talk about differing opinions, about intolerance and tolerance (and tolerance of the intolerant), ignorance, exposure, faith, love, and lots of other things.
Nine hundred and ninety four other things, if the ships are really numbering 1000 and we are keeping score.
I'm just glad we had That Talk before he caught the Oscar Opening last night. I like Seth McFarlane. A lot. But there's a time and a place for his sort of thing and I don't think the Oscars are it. He wasn't so much himself as he was a Prime Time version of himself. And it came off sort of meh. Lots of "gay" this and "gay" that. Because it's okay to make gay jokes on national television. And white jokes so long as they are jokes poked at rich white men or dumb white Southerners.
Are we supposed to capitalize it, like "White"? That seems sorta supremacyish to me, I need to look that up. But I capitalize Black, so I guess I should White too. I do sometimes. But only if I'm also writing about Black people.
Rich White Men.
Dumb White Southerners.
It's hard to live in America today.
Anyway, it did give the opportunity to let Jake know that "Gay Men's Chorus" is a perfectly acceptable way to use the word gay. (Gay?) Calling someone who isn't gay, gay or making fun at a gay person for being gay? Not acceptable.
Ship launched and docked.
Another Talk has been about the way Jacob looks. Rather, the way Jacob feels about the way Jacob looks. This has been an on-again off-again thing for him.
When he was younger, he thought that people commented on the way he looks because he was ugly. Because his eyes were so big and his mouth so plump and his hair so curly. When people would say "look at that face" he heard "what a weird face". When they'd say "those eyes!" he heard "what strange eyes".
It came out one day when we were reading Little Red Riding Hood and he started crying. I guess he was four years old or so. He didn't like the way Red was talking to the Grandma/Wolf. Big eyes, big ears, blah blah.
He felt like the wolf in grandma's clothing. Someone who was supposed to be loved and cute but was feared and scary looking.
Then it was off for sometime but now it's on again.
People notice Jacob. Neighbors on the street. Faculty at the school. Kids in the classroom. Girls in the hallway. Older girls. They stop him for a hug that he doesn't necessarily want to give. Or receive.
Of course I think he's the most beautiful boychild in the world. I'm biased.
I'm not sure that others think he's World Class, but they like the way he looks. And he is uncomfortable with the attention.
I'm not sure what to do about this.
I can't tell him to let people hug him if he doesn't want to be hugged. That goes against my "okay touch/not okay touch" feelings. (Good touch/bad touch is old lingo. Studies show that when children hear "bad touch" they process it as "I am bad and that's why I was touched like that and if I tell anyone, they'll know I was bad").
I don't want to tell him that he's so specially gorgeous because I don't like to lay so much value on the things we can't control. We can control how neat and groomed we keep ourselves. We can't control the natural state of things we need to groom.
Note to self: schedule upper lip wax.
Addendum: if you can't schedule anything, shave that shit tomorrow morning.
So I told him that the opposite of being noticed for your good looks is being lost in the crowd because of plain looks. I didn't want to talk about bad looks. Ugliness. Anything else subjective. Most of the little boys in his class look exactly like the next one. Crew cut hair, a relatively homogeneous ethnic pool of students and a school uniform combine to make an army of little clones. Drones. Cookie cutter little boys who blur together. Which is fine. Even though I have a hard time telling them apart from one another on field trips.
I could even up the pitch a bit by cutting Jacob's hair, but I let him control how his hair looks and he likes it longer. It's something little that isn't a very big deal to me but let's him feel in charge of something. Almost 7 year olds LOVE to be in charge of something.
I can't do anything about his big eyes. His pouty lips. Who knew it would be such a curse?
I'd say he's getting by just fine most hours of the day, but it's something that weighs on his mind.
Though maybe not today while he's got an earworm filling up the space. An earworm of what?, you ask. "We Saw Your Boobs".
I was serenaded with a hearty rendition including verses such as
"We saw your boobs when you were getting out of the shower and we were brushing our teeth"
"We saw your boobs when you didn't bring the laundry upstairs and had to go down and find something to wear in the dryer"
"We saw your boobs when Nicholas wouldn't stop eating that day and you didn't bother to wear a shirt"
"We saw your boobs when they got really big when you were pregnant and one popped out of your bathing suit"
I get it. You saw my boobs. Congratulations.
This morning's Talk was all about how we can get through the day without singing a song that is stuck in our heads out loud, especially when it's a dirty one and we have to go in public.
Lots of times I get the "Eat Bite" song stuck in my head. You don't want to go singing that one in a corporate setting. You can Google that one on your own computer if you'd like. I'm doing this post from a work-regulated computer.
My trick is to flood my brain with ELO's Can't Get it Out of My Head. I mean, it's still an earworm, but at least it's a socially acceptable one.