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Taking the Plunge

Well, here’s a lovely dilemma filed under “I never imagined having these conversations”:

My partner and I have decided we need to be the grown-ups and not be so fearful for our son. Gathering wisdom from innumerable sources, we think it’s best to let our little gender-nonconformist break the ice and wear some skirts to school.

My rationale comes from three arguments:

  1. What’s most important is he love himself and not feel his self-expression is anything shameful to be hidden.
  2. That he knows we always, always, always have his back and love him, unconditionally.
  3. There will be haters everywhere in life, no matter if he dresses in skirts or roots for the Yankees or has a funny walk. The sooner he knows issues 1&2 will help us all deal with the consequences of #3 and we can choose, together, how to address it all.

Also? We aren’t making history, here. Boys from Arkansas to Arizona are already going to school in dresses. We need to calm the F down.

But as we’ve done a bit of back-to-school shopping (yes, we don’t go back until Sept 7th, so we aren’t back in school, yet), I’ve found myself still trying to control the situation. And here’s the rub of this blog entry.

My son is preternaturally drawn to all things pink/sparkles/Barbie.

Now, it’s one thing for a boy to take a stand and rock a kilt with combat boots and an ironic “Brony” t-shirt*. But there’s nothing ironic about my son’s love for all things pink/sparkles/Barbie. He would wear a polyester pink princess dress to school, replete with chincy plastic princess kitten heels, if we let him.

But that’s where I gotta put my foot down.

“Buddy, I know a little something about style, even though you think all I wear is jeans and t-shirts. And, well, that’s true. But trust me – I know what’s cool, and I can help you look awesome rocking a dark skirt and ‘Brony’ t-shirt.”

He actually trusts me (for better or worse) in this approach.

I don’t know if he’s just humoring me and thrilled that we’ve relented (somewhat) with our blessing to wear skirts twice a week to school.

But it’s begun a discussion of what’s “cool” and “funky” in our household.

And, like the ever-wavering cliché Libra that I am, I immediately question my own judgment.

I don’t want my child to become a slave of what’s “cool” or “funky”.

But seriously – won’t life be easier if I guide him down the path of cultural taste, rather than leave him to dress himself like a bird adorning his nest with tinsel and sparkly trash? Or the crab in Moana?

Is it wrong to influence his fashion sense with strong suggestions (as in: I buy it, so I decide) of what he can and can’t wear?

The psychology of fashion is very interesting to me – not the slaves of trends and capitalistic consumerism, but really the psychology of dressing yourself to feel empowered and attractive with wardrobe that commands respect and admiration.

And who am I to say pink/sparkle/Barbie isn’t respectful or strong or admirable?

 

Anyway, I’ve created a monster – in myself. But for the moment, despite my seemingly debilitating insecurity in my own parenting decisions, herein, I feel fine guiding my son toward “rocking” a skirt, rather than “donning” a dress.

Because let’s face it ; life’s easier for the cool.

I hate myself for writing that.

Oh, and as for taking the plunge with skirts at school? Yeah. Here we go. Wish us luck. Any suggestions? Fashionista, emotional or otherwise? Indubitably, I’ll be reporting back.

* “Bros” who dig “My Little Pony”. Yes. It’s a thing.

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This entry was posted in: blog

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I'm a father of two young boys living in New York and trying to cope with style and humor. I've founded a baby gear company, "George E. Knox" catering to stylish dads.

6 Comments

  1. Joel Hatch says

    It’s a great life lesson! Some outfits are for play and some are for serious business like learning. We all do it every day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Chris main says

    This measured approach feels right. You are providing guidance but at the same
    time you are relinquishing some control. I agree the child is too young to dress
    any which way his whims dictate. He has to earn freedom that by showing he can handle
    the reactions of other children, some of whom might be jerks….and there will be some pain but
    we all have to learn how to accept negative feedback and it’s probably time to start.
    And too, the longer you wait on the skirt thing, the greater will become its significance
    and thus the more will be invested in how the other kids react. If that makes sense.
    I’m not approving or disapproving of your techniques but I can say I’d probably handle
    it that same way (frankly, I don’t have the
    expertise to know what’s “right” but then, who does?)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You two Dads are the best! And your self reflection is admirable (gotta love a Libra who can see all the sides to every situation). Do report back; you’re making good decisions (fashion choices affect us all… there’s no escape)

    Liked by 1 person

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