My 12-year-old son is a big fat prude. (In reality, he is neither big nor fat, but he is a master of the universe in the bluenose industry.) I haven’t got a clue where he picked this up, because we’re pretty Dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Let It All Hang Out, If It Feels Good Do It types in our house. Is there any evidence that prudishness is genetic? Somebody should get on that research toute suite.
Here are some things that he finds entirely intolerable: Cleavage (including, but not limited to side-boob, plunging necklines, itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis, and brassiere advertising), heavily applied makeup, moist mouth noises, heavy breathing, and come-hither glances. The boy uses the word “pervert,” and sometimes its charming diminutive “perv,” way too often for someone reared in a home with two homosexual heads-of-household. And to be clear, “perverted” applies to absolutely anything that even whiffs of below-the-belt enjoyment. He is so grossed out by anything too physical (Olivia Newton-John, 1981.) that he often selects his Xbox gaming avatars based on how buff or stacked they aren’t.
And, of course, kissing; including above-the-belt kissing. Kissing is a total non-starter. Do you have any idea how many movies have kissing in them? I do because of the amount of time my kid spends with his head submerged beneath a blanket emanating muffled cries of, “Are they done??”
But here’s the thing – and a most interesting thing it is. The no-kissing regulation applies almost exclusively to boy-girl snogging. If it’s two fellas he witnesses in a liplock, it’s received with not so much as a shrug. Because it’s, well, guys. (I am dismayed to report that I have gathered no data whatsoever regarding girl-on-girl smooching, because he hasn’t seen “The L Word.” But my guess is that lesbianic lip action is probably on the no-fly list, too because it’s, well, girls. With a capital Ew.)
True story. Our son went to day camp in a neighboring town that is less socio-econo-politically evolved than the one we inhabit, by which I mean it’s lousy with Republicans. One day, a campmate of his asked him a question pertaining to his mother, to which he replied, “I don’t have a mother. I have two dads.” Apparently, this was brand new, uncharted territory for the kid, sorta like black squid-ink pasta, or laparoscopic pancreatic surgery. “Two dads??” the campmate wittily retorted, wrinkling his right-of-center little nose. “Do they, like, kiss and stuff?” My son responded with a simple, “Uh, yeah, I guess so.” “Ew. Isn’t that kinda gay?” My son: “Well, yeah…duh!” ‘At’s my boy! So it turns out everything the Evangelicanistas have been shrieking about is true: as it happens, we do indoctrinate the children. But dammit, somebody’s gotta shoulder the burden.
That said, the kid still won’t let me kiss him in public.