Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I never did have to interject. She was right.

Supergirl was recently hanging out with a friend who is nine. While Sunny has to be one of the sweetest girls we know, she also brings along with her the lingo and the wisdom of nine year olds. Which is like offering a feast of sugar-coated sugar drops to my insatiable six year old.
They were playing some complicated 'tiny petshop plastic creatures meet organic waldorf wooden treehouse fairy family' game, when I heard Sunny say to Supergirl,
"Well, we can't both be the moms! Because then we'd be GAY!"


I managed to keep my mouth shut. It wasn't easy. I realized that we had never ever used that term with Supergirl.
We have never used the word 'gay' with her, because we have never had any need or desire to segregate the love, commitments, and unions between couples that she knows and loves, by attaching labels like hetero- or homo-sexual.

In my (this is where I am supposed to insert the word 'ancient') generation, beginning in the pre-junior high era, the term 'gay' was derogatory. It had nothing to do with sexual orientation, it was just a way to tell someone they were lame.

"Have you seen Herbie today? OMG his pants are so gay."
"Did you have to take Mr. Payne's health quiz today? How GAY was
"What the hell are they are serving in the cafeteria today?
Green jello on THURSDAY?"

You guessed it. That would be WAY gay.

This of course, may have less to do with generation slang-trends of the seventies and eighties, and more to do with the fact that I grew up in just another little racist/homophobic enclave in a little bubble in a remote corner of Pennsylvania. If you had asked me about sexual orientation back then, I would have stared blankly at you for a moment like you were one of those outsiders, smiled broadly, and pointed you to the nearest slush puppie keystone station.

With Supergirl and Sunny, I did keep my mouth shut.
I, once again, live in a little bubble.
A much different kind of bubble, but the kind in which most of the parents with whom I hang, erm....roll the same or very similar way. That way couldn't be more different from the way of the bubble in PA. There is no profound enough metaphor to offer to describe the difference.
I waited for the conversation between the girls to continue, hoping that it would not go sour, but being within earshot to interject if I felt it was needed.
Supergirl, as expected, asked Sunny,
"What is gay?"
Sunny thought not two seconds before she chirped back,
"Well, it's when two mommies decide they don't want to have husbands, so they just are together with each other instead!"

Close enough. For now.


Denise said...

Love you girlie.
I love how you have never felt the need to use that term with Super girl.
I come from the same generation as you gay as is lame. My 12 year old has tried on numerous occasions to use that term. I get really upset and tell him in no uncertain terms that that term is just like using the N word. Totally unacceptable.

Tracey said...

We've had several conversations about how all families are different, all skins and body types are different, and people believe in vastly different things. My eldest gets it. He's cool. My middle? Meh... He is more of the kind of kid to mock somebody without meaning to, so I have to discuss things more specifically with him.

Cindy said...

Nice job there! You've obvious taught Supergirl a thing or two. Sophie's new friend in the neighborhood has two mommies, and she explained to me that there was a daddy once but just for s-e-x, and then they had him go away. I said "Yeah, something like that." The mommies have obviously lived happily ever after.

Gotta try your Meyer lemon recipe. Our tree in back is popping. Have you visited Angelina at Dustpan Alley? We're making limoncello. Not exactly together but sort of--with lemons from the same tree.

Have a good weekend. xo