I was at a small party yesterday where I met some new friends and got a glimpse of pre-teen-not-a-boy-not-a-man-hood that made me pretty sure I’m going to need more therapy and advice as Isaiah gets older, not less.
One of my new friends had a little girl, three years old. I’ve always been intimidated by other women, and apparently even as a grown-ass adult, I get scared talking to girls. Will they think I’m a nerd? Do I look okay? Is my face broken out? Do I smell? What if they don’t like me?
So here’s how I broke the ice with this tiny human: “I like your striped shirt and silver sandals!”
First, I don’t care what anyone wears. Really. I mean, I might in my head say “leggings are not pants” or “put a shirt on, buddy” but fashion isn’t exactly my forte and I’m genuinely okay with that. Like, genuinely.
But more importantly: what?! My first interaction with a girl and I reinforce the message that being cute is literally the most important (first) thing about her? That wearing well-coordinated shirts and sandals = positive attention? I couldn’t think of anything deeper, like “Do you have a kitty at home?” or “So, how do you cope with the uncomfortable paradox of Memorial Day?” I thought about it all afternoon, and then again this morning. I hope I get a second chance with her. I’m ready this time.
I’ve been trying to remember how much attention Isaiah got for his t-shirts before he would talk to people. I don’t think it was much. Maybe because he was often carrying a truck or a train, so folks would ask him about that.
But damn. If this feminist falls into the trap of reducing females to the fabric on their bodies, what hope is there? And how do I break myself of this insidious habit?