I know the best way to handle advising Grace as she grows is to let my wife do all the talking. All kidding aside, I have recently been thinking this through more deeply. I am examining my behaviors and habits, wondering if I need to adjust. Yesterday, while in line at the grocery store a beautiful young woman got in line behind me. How young I don't know; everybody looks younger to me these days. But old enough to buy the two bottles of wine she was juggling in one hand (Not literally, unfortunately. The story isn't that interesting.) while holding an overflowing basket in the other. Being that I held a much lighter basket, I offered to let her go in front of me. She politely declined and that was the end of our interaction. Yet, it got me
Also this week, my Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition landed in my mailbox. As a kid, the swimsuit edition was a February highlight. Pre-internet, thirteen-year-old me looked forward to seeing Kathy Ireland, Elle Macpherson, and all their scantily clad friends frolicking by the sea and looking directly at ME through the camera lens. I remember one year my grandfather, I guess not knowing that I was a subscriber, sent me a manila envelope containing nothing but the new swimsuit edition and a note saying, 'A little something to warm you up this winter.' Good guy stuff. And get me through the winter it did. Now, I'm feeling guilty looking at the 2017 edition setting on my coffee table. Should I? I have no idea. Will it, and the countless other images like it on television, make Grace have unrealistic expectations about her body image? Is SI's objectification of women liberating for women or demeaning? Is it both? I would likely dismiss it as me inventing a problem that exists mostly in my head except that two days ago, Grace told me her legs were getting fat. I'm 99% sure she really meant her legs were getting bigger as she gets bigger. Nonetheless, it got me a little panicky inside. (It doesn't take much.) Grace is not even close to being fat and I don't want her thinking that at any age, let alone eight. We discussed being healthy and strong, avoiding the f-word. I'll let Mommy, whose casual thumbing through the swimsuit issue seemed to indicate she had zero problem with reading it, handle the rest of that conversation.
Of course, the big reason I've been thinking more about this stuff lately is our President . You didn't think I could get through a whole blog post without talking about the Trumpster Fire, did you? Aside from his ineloquent hamming up of the English language and his superhuman ability to bend the truth into a pretzel, what I really disliked about this guy was this:
Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.
Unknown: That’s huge news.
Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.
She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.
Trump: Whoa! Whoa!
Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!
Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.
Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.
Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.
Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s —
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
How in the heck that right there didn't keep him out of the Oval Office, I'll never know. Yet the Trumpeters were more "disgusted" by the pink knit vagina hats worn by women protesters. The above transcript, in which he actually brags about the ability to grab a woman in her genitals WITHOUT CONSENT, was okay, but women wearing vagina hats as a rebuke of his vulgarity was not. So, yeah, that is why I marched in the local women's march on January 21st. My marching was seen frivolous and silly by some, and likely won't change a thing. I simply wanted to put it out into the universe that I was not okay with this lack of consent. That behavior, and failure to be held accountable for it, cannot be condoned, for it leads to dirtbags like Brock Turner thinking it's okay to penetrate a drunk woman behind a dumpster. My daughter did not understand all the nuance or ramifications of Donald Trump's election or the march that followed, nor should she. What she saw, though, was that she has a voice and that I stand with her, her mother, and all the women that oppose this guy.
I know I joke a little about being a dumb dad and being overwhelmed about sorting out raising a daughter in the current climate. It's actually something I care deeply about. In fact, it is one of the most important things I will ever do; I'd like to get it right. As much as I fret over the meaning of a grocery lane encounter or whether I should flip through a skin mag, I know the best way I can help Grace navigate this crazy world is to listen to her and cut through the clutter by telling her what I know based on my faith, my experience, and my hopes for her. I'll keep my fingers crossed that is good enough.