Boys with Girls

“Hey! Where can I find another one like you?

As catcalls goes, this one was unique. Not because of what she said (although guys getting catcalled by women is still a rare thing), but because of the situation in which it was said. I was in the midst of pushing our double stroller up a hill. The girls and I were singing away as I walked home.

“Costco,” I replied with a laugh. “We come in bulk.

I find the response men get when they’re out alone with their daughters totally fascinating. You rarely get a “middle of the road response. From women, we are either gold or plutonium. For every “Hey! there’s a woman who won’t even look me in the eye. Try to engage in conversation on the playground, you might as well be a pedophile. They will have whole conversations with the girls and say less than five words to me. With other men it’s pretty much standard: you shuffle your feet and cast your eyes downward. No way are you supposed to be playing with your girl(s), that’s women’s work. The shame is knee deep.

It all stems from institutionalized sexism, and in my case, a little racism sprinkled on top for extra tangy flavor. It’s all based on the roles we’re “supposed to play. Boys and dads go together, not girls and dads. Mom is supposed to be taking the girls out shopping, and dad is supposed to be tossing the old pigskin around with junior (Dammit, I just realized we missed the opportunity to make one of our girls a “junior). It’s all bullshit, and I do what I can to fuck with those gender roles.

I guess for now I’ll have to look towards the day with the catcalls and stink-eyes become less, when dads on the playground playing with their daughters can actually hold a conversation about them, and we are looked upon a little more like aluminum at Costco“found in bulk.

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