All posts tagged: new york

My Son Wore a Dress for a Month. Nothing Happened.

So my son wore a dress for a month in France. Nothing happened. (Why we were in France for a month is explained, here.) I anticipated my older son (he of the “anything-princess” persuasion) would want to don frocks the entire time. So I let him. Some Americans might think of France as a bunch of WWII-losing philosophical wimps who eat cheese and are lax in the morality department (ergo they’re “kinda gay”). But in reality, theirs is a traditional, macho culture where men are men and women are objects of beauty. In some ways, the French lag behind the US in terms of sexual equality and gender identity. Gay couples can marry, but only since 2013. They do have parenting rights, but surrogacy is absolutely interdit. And little boys in dresses? That’s something you see even less in France than in the US. Further, it’s a land of conformity where people avoid bothering others. Don’t speak too loudly in restaurants, don’t touch anything in stores, don’t color outside social lines, and make sure you dress …

#letsbebetter

I’m embarrassed to have remained Facebook-silent about the tragedies in Baton Rouge and St Paul and Dallas when I’m frequently outspoken about other issues. It took me a few days to formulate my thoughts in the hurricane of disgust and depression we all feel. My simple thought is this: why are we so damn afraid? FDR had it right declaring fear the only thing we have to fear. But from the most recent tragic shootings in the forefront of our minds to the all-but-forgotten massacre in Orlando, our society is just so afraid. And of what? We Americans are literally inventing reasons to kill each other. Yes, there’s the 1%ers and climate change and job loss and globalization and economic downturns and cancellations of The Good Wife. But we are the country of shining cities on a hill and streets paved with gold. We are the emulation of the entire world. Everyone wants to be us.* And yet we are so very afraid. Whites are afraid of Blacks. Southerners are afraid of “Northern aggression”. Northerners …

Dear Senator

I’ve Emailed this letter to these 50 senators. And I’m going to print 50 copies and mail them to their offices, as well. I hope you’ll do the same. Feel free to use this as a template or change however you’d like. Here’s the link for the senators’ addresses.   Dear Senator: Don’t worry – this isn’t just another letter about gun control. Instead, I’m writing about your character. I’m terrified that my two young sons are in danger whenever they venture out of my house. You have created this danger by shirking your legislative responsibilities and being the pawn of special interests like the gun lobby. As an educated, intelligent person, I’m sure you know that reasonable gun reform is supported by a majority of Americans. (And by “reasonable,” I merely refer to background checks, waiting periods and outlawing automatic weapons.) I’m sure you don’t want history to smear your name with the blood of innocent children on playgrounds. I bet you dare to emulate our Founding Fathers. What would they say about the …

When I Grow Up…

With one month left in the school year, my son’s school creates a yearbook. (Yes, NYC schools seem to go year-round. Eat your heart out.) For this project, class parents needed to photograph each kid. My cohort concocted the adorable idea of photographing the kids with a prop suggesting what they want to be when they grow up. My first thought was: I’m pretty sure my kid has no notion of what he wants to be when he grows up. The next morning, I polled the class. At the first table, one kid said “Firefighter!” Three boys and one girl parroted him. At another table, one girl squawked at me. Literally. Another delivered a 15-second unintelligible monologue, from which I discerned “lion” and “zoo”. Another girl replied, “Nothing.” “But what kind of job would you like to have?” I clarified. “Nothing. Like my mom. She does nothing.” I suppressed a guffaw and continued. The next girl said, “Policeman.” I gave her a high-five. The next girl said, “Sleeping Beauty.” Oh, shit. My son heard that. …

The happy meal place (or: the time I took a side of parentheses with that)

First of all, if there was any question in your minds, let me shuffle-ball-change out of the closet loud and proud: I’m a food snob. I wholeheartedly embrace Michael Pollan’s “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables.” When I was the perfect parent (meaning: before kids), I knew fast food would never touch the lips of my precious snowflakes. Admittedly, it’s easy to avoid fast food living in New York City. You’re never in a car, the kids haven’t fallen asleep in the back, and all food is fast. But I understand that fast food drive-thrus are a godsend…in desperate situations… zombee armageddons, heavy thunderstorms and refugees. Oh, and when Daddy flirts with jail time during a road trip due to a desperate yearning for “friesandashake” and considers* leaving the kids asleep in the backseat cuz who’s gonna know and you’ll be really fast and besides the dog’s in there with them. But we all know (don’t we???) that McD’s is responsible, in part, for the destruction of now-infertile fields from Fargo to Fresno, the …

Now I’m Scared…

It’s not very often you (well, I) say, “My greatest fears have come to pass.” But now, I’m scared. My oldest son (he of the self-proclaimed Disney Princess “excession”) got unexpectedly melancholy, this afternoon, sat on my lap and (unprompted) said, “Some kids at my school say pink is a girl’s color.” All the pink drained out of my skin pigmentation. I was crestfallen. My worry-free cherub just exposed his first sign of social suffering. I quelled suddenly-savage defensiveness and did NOT bombard him with statements like: “Buddy, pink is the BEST boy’s color!” or “You wear your pink shirt and color your pink pictures and admire pink dresses all you WANT!” I needed so badly to cover him with hugs and kisses and protect him. As with so many other moments in his 4 ½-year-old life, it felt like the beginning of the end of his innocence. Desperately measuring my response so as not to make a pink mountain out of a pink molehill, I said, “Really? That’s kind of silly, isn’t it? That …

Dear Other Dude at the Playground…

Dear Other Dude at the Playground on Saturday – I couldn’t fight the need to write you about an incident between our kids.Remember me? I was the dad with the son wearing a pink dress. Before he burst onto the playground, and as I parked the car, he was positively vibrating. I asked, “Now…you’re sure you want to wear your dress?” He shouted in response, “Yes! Because I want to show everyone how beautiful I am in this beautiful dress!” It was a big deal for him; and for me. He hasn’t asked to wear a dress “out,” before. I didn’t fight it. Who cares, right? Or so we’d like to think. As you noticed, he couldn’t contain his excitement showing off the dress to the only two kids playing…your daughter and her friend. He skipped and twirled and chased them for ten minutes shouting, “Do you like my dress? I’m wearing a dress! Can I play with you? Will you play with me?” Remembering those ten minutes fills me with emotion…because his unencumbered joy …

12 Absurdities of Life in NYC

As I walked home from school drop-off, this morning, I had to climb over snow mountains, most of which were just piles of trash frozen in snow. (The last blizzard came late on a Friday night, which was trash night. Hundreds, nay thousands, of bags were subsequently buried.) This, in addition to the disgusting, brown ice drifts lining every street, and the innumerable dog poop baggies tossed onto snow drifts by irresponsible dog owners, make me think, “People who don’t live here can’t understand what we tolerate.” While I can’t speak for every New Yorker, there are some absurd realities of living here that most of my friends outside New York find hilarious/can’t comprehend. 1. ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING For those of us idiot car owners who can’t afford $450/month parking slots, there’s this option: free street parking. But…twice a week you sit in your car for 90 minutes waiting to move for the street cleaner. Further, cops walk by twice in that 90 minutes, ready to slap $125 tickets on unoccupied cars. When the street …

Ignore the News. Just Read My Blog.

When did winter storms become news events of mass hysteria? New York City and the eastern seaboard are apoplectic about the storm arriving, tomorrow. Seriously, when I was growing up, a snowstorm was something to get excited about, but it didn’t paralyze us. This was the kind of conversation we had about the weather in 1985: You: There’s gonna be snow, tomorrow. Me: Yep. I wonder if there’ll be school? Today, we’re having conversations like this: You: (panting and sweating) Have you gotten your emergency supply kit together? Me: (running away and shouting back at you) I’m running to get the last crank-operated DVD player at Best Buy. I called and they’re holding it for me. Ain’t no way I’m living through this cataclysmic storm without watching the box set of the last season of LOST, which I haven’t even taken out of the cellophane because I’ve been such a Hulu addict since I got the box set. So, sorry. Gotta run. I’ve already got two kegs of mineral water and I’ve stocked up on …