The other day, a Sunday, Two Shoes and I were playing at the Isleville playground. It’s the best playground I know in the city. It’s fenced in (i.e. the kids are caged), it has a multitude of slides, swings, tunnels, and other plastic crap kids love, and, best of all it’s got arches and columns that spray cool water at the squealing monkeys on a hot summer day.
We stayed there for almost two hours, she playing in the sandbox, running around, while I sat on a bench, pushed her on the swing, and tried to teach her about sharing. As if I know squat about that subject.
A 5-year old in a pink dress was celebrating her birthday in the park with a bunch of friends and relatives. One of her cousins, a boy a few years older than Two Shoes played in the sandbox by us. Princess' mother approached me with a loot bag.
Mother: Here’s a loot bag for him.
Me (taking the bag, checking out its contents for sugar, seeing a miniature frisbee-like disc of polypropylfuckit, a sucker, and some stickers, then handing it to Two Shoes): Thanks.
Mother (after a few beats): Oh, is she a girl?
Me (feeling the need to be truthful today): She is.
Mother: Oh, sorry. Here let me give her a girl’s bag.
Me:Don’t worry about it. This is perfect. She loves frisbees.
Mother: Oh, O.K. It’s not age-appropriate anyway. It has lipstick.
Yeah, lipstick isn’t age-appropriate for a 2-year old but it is for a 5-year old?
Now, since I spent 10 years of my life studying genetics, you’d thing I’d be at least as liable as the next guy to believe boys have a gene that predisposes them to like trucks and guns, while girls have the lipstick and pink dresses gene. But I’ve seen too many interactions like this one and I know girls are girls and boys are boys mostly because we mould them that way.