Friday, June 25, 2010

Tonight we had a visitor! A big brown visitor with waving antennae! He was in the bathroom! At first, when Lula informed me of his presence, I tried to act cool, like, I LOVE cockroaches--cute little harmless critters! And then, after I'd captured him with a bowl against the wall and was trying to slide him onto a book to throw him outside, he wiggled out and I FREAKED! Screamed a garbled command to Joedy to get his butt off the downstairs commode and get it upstairs so he could do his manly duty and get rid of the horrific, disgusting beast!

Normally I don't believe in gender-specific duties, but I'm totally working this one: let the more muscular person fight the vermin. I'll scream and whimper pathetically like a good lil' wifey while you, O manly man, dispose of it. All I ask is that you don't use my flip-flop to smoosh it. And please don't get any of that toxic cockroach spray on my toothbrush. Also, could you sleep on the bathroom side of the bed tonight? In case we have another visitor? You have more muscles, you see, and you're emitting your own toxic gas from those refried beans--heck, you're scary to me!

It's strange that I'm making Joedy be the cockroach killer--that I'm playing the lil' wifey role--because just this afternoon I almost bit a friend's head off for projecting a "female gender role" on me. He'd (kindly) told Malko not to dismantle the pile of laundry that "Mommy folded," and I reacted by saying, "I didn't fold the laundry--I hate folding laundry!" Don't assume the laundry was folded by me just because I'm FEMALE!

I had just come home from the thrift store with Lula, who'd chosen, for her upcoming week at summer camp, two pairs of shorts, three t-shirts, and a pair of board shorts--all "boy's clothes," in the sense that there was nothing frilly, fitted, or pink--and when she tried on the new jean shorts and the black and blue striped t-shirt she really looked exceptionally un-girlish. We're used to seeing Lula in shorts and t-shirts, but the jean shorts bumped the tomboy factor a little higher, prompting Joedy to ask, "Did you get any girl's clothes?"

What a silly question. No, of course we didn't buy any "girl's clothes"--Lula hasn't worn a dress since she was three. She'd rather die than wear tights; she vastly prefers board shorts over a normal bathing suit; she can't stand having her hair down, or up, or any way but just in a plain ponytail, right in the middle of the back of her head, and her favorite color is blue, blue, blue--dark blue, sky blue, medium blue, navy blue...

I looked at Joedy. "She got normal clothes for a kid--shorts and t-shirts. What's wrong with a 6-year-old girl wearing shorts and a t-shirt? What's so boyish about these clothes?" I HATE gender role conformity, especially when it's pushed on little kids, and I think "girl's clothes" are often idiotic and demeaning. I understand Lula's tomboy inclinations and feel defensive about any real (or imagined) criticism of her clothing preference, of who she is. Joedy understood and changed course: "Yeah, what's unnatural is when little girls are made to look like little women," he said. "That's what's screwed up."

Thank you, baby, I thought, you are perfect. You're earning yourself some serious brownie points with this lil' wifey--this lil' wifey who will fight! Anyone! Who pushes gender role conformity on her kids! Who reacts kind of rudely when a friend assumes she--gasp--folded the laundry! This lil' wifey who throws herself unabashedly into a "female role" when cockroaches are around. This lil' wifey who DEMANDS that her poor, cockroach-phobic, sweet husband "be manly" when she's freaked out by a (gross, hideous, gigantic) bug. This lil' wifey who claims to be all anti-gender role conformity but then works it to her advantage when it's convenient for her...

This lil' wifey who's a little contradictory!

This lil' wifey who's a little hypocritical!

This lil' wifey who doesn't care!


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