Any Two Boys (or girls) Kissing
So it seems there was a momentous boy-boy kiss on some TV show that I don’t watch the other night. Fans are squeeing. Queer pop culture pundits are penning missives about how and why it’s a force for good.
And one of my favorite parenting blogs, Offbeat Mama, is asking how you explain this sort of stuff to your kids.
I have to admit that even asking the question made me pause. What’s there to explain? In my house an my community, boys kiss boys, girls kiss girls, boys kiss girls and girls kiss boys.
I did a full-blown doubletake, however, I saw the original poster’s answer in regards to her own five-year old son. It included the line “After explaining that you have to really like, if not love, someone to kiss them (I don’t want him [going] around kissing everyone he just likes)…”
This evening, I stubbed my toe in the kitchen as I was serving my daughters dinner. Roomba said to me, “do you need a kiss?” You know, the make-the-owie-better kind. I said yes. She leaned up and kissed me — on the lips.
My daughters smooch everything. Me, Daddy, Uncle Bear Daddy. Their favorite visitors. Their favorite toys. Roomba once kissed every single Wild Thing on the page as she was reading her favorite book. They kiss on the cheek. They kiss on the lips.They kiss each other, leaning dramatically forward into each other’s arms for a tight hug, too. They kiss goodbye. They kiss goodnight. We’re a very kissy bunch.
And the question made me think for a moment, is that a problem?
And my second thought was, or is this how slut-shaming starts?
I can’t imagine teaching my children only to kiss someone they love, unless I am also going to teach them that you can love your frog-shaped bath squirter, too. Instead, I’m going to teach them something else. I’m going to teach them about consent.
If you think “consent” is too big a concept for a two-year-old to handle, try this version: it’s yucky to get a kiss you don’t want, and it’s mean to give a kiss to someone who doesn’t want it.
So: make sure your sister wants to get a kiss first. Here, kiss my cheek instead today. Can I have a kiss? It’s OK to say no. Thank you for asking this time. No, I don’t like dog kisses, please stop licking me. That was a very nice kiss, I liked it very much.
And so I know how I would have answered the question, “Mommy, why are those two boys kissing each other?” My answer would be, “Because they like each other and they wanted to.”