My Doodle has long hair. His father has long hair. My dad even had long hair my whole life. It’s a perfectly gender-neutral thing in my book. It’s just always been normal.
My Doodle apparently also has giant eyes and super long eyelashes. I honestly don’t know, they just look like his. I don’t really measure them as I gaze lovingly into his beautiful bluish-greens. I guess those are also socially “feminine” traits. I really don’t know who made these rules…
But seriously, my little man can be in a flippin’ monster truck t-shirt, jersey shorts, and work boots, and “Oh, isn’t she so cute!”
Ok, so I tried to outsmart them. I trained my Doodle to call every woman we ever saw in public “pretty lady.” And, man did he ever make those older ladies in line at Safeway weak in the knees! I thought for sure that would show ’em, right? I mean, it’s not like I’d actively train my daughter to flirt with women, right? “Aww, how old is she?” or “She’s so sweet!”
What am I doing wrong here?! So Halloween, he’s in a bright orange and green dragon costume with a bright blue jack-o-candy-bucket. The dragon costume even has a hood and his long mop is tucked away, so there’s no way anyone would call him a her, right? “Oh, she’s such a cute little dragon!” What?!
Now, we’ve always been very kind about it. Maybe sometimes even too kind. I mean, really, we don’t correct people much at all. If it’s just a passing comment, nothing’s really ever said. If it’s a question about “her,” I simply answer about “him” and I probably rush faster over the male pronouns even. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, you know?
So Doodle and I are picking up his cousin from preschool yesterday, and as we walk out, Doodle points (we’re still working on this one!) excitedly at this child wearing a Lightning McQueen hat. This is a younger child, all rosy-faced from being out in the cold, and I honestly cannot tell if it’s a boy or a girl. In an instant, I need to make a determination. The hat says boy, but could easily say girl who loves Cars, so I’ve got no tell there. It’s one of those beanies that latches under the chin, and coming from every direction inside the hat is quite long curly blonde hair. Now, being the mom I am, I know that’s not a tell either, so I keep looking. This child is wearing a white zip-up jacket with pink and purple flowers on it. I’ve got it! So I quickly say to Doodle “I know, she’s got a really cool Lightning McQueen hat on!” and we continue on…
Right as we pass, I get the stink eye from child’s mom as she says quite rudely “HE!” then turns to the little tyke and says with just about the same tone “Huh, you’re a boy! Don’t let them call you a girl!”
Whoa, slow down there, partner! A pink and purple flower jacket? Really? And based on the caliber of response you spewed out, perhaps this is common for ya? You should probably learn the “let it roll off your effing shoulder” trick, don’t you think?
Sorry… I just, as a mommy who’s been dealing with this exact issue, I do everything I can to dress him in boy-ish clothes, and if people make a mistake at that point, well it was unintentional and harmless.
I don’t know… should I be doing more to correct people? Was this woman just off her rocker? Anyone else had gender mistakes past the infant stage? What did you do?