You guys are going to absolutely hammer me for this post. I mean, you’re gonna tear me a new one and ridicule me through and through. And you’ll be completely justified in doing so. But I can’t help it.
The way Christmas works in the financially strapped Daddy Files household is as follows: We get Will one “big” present and a few little things. The rest of the gifts are supplied (in abundance) by family members and friends who are WAY too kind when it comes to buying things for Will. In the past, his gifts from us have been really awesome. Big Tonka trucks and a work bench with tons of tools. Very fun, very cool and very manly.
When it came time to choose his gift this year, well, there wasn’t actually much “choice” involved. At least on my part.
MJ just came home one day and declared that she found THE PERFECT present for Will. She was beyond excited and so proud of herself for finding it. So I asked what it was. But instead of telling me, she balked a little and started to talk around it. To preface it with “Well Will already has trucks and trains and stuff like that…” I should’ve known, right then and there, I was in for trouble. After prompting her to just tell me already she showed me the picture of Will’s Christmas gift.
Yup. A toy kitchen. Complete with a burner, coffeemaker, frying pan, plates and dishes. A complete kitchen set. For my son. I didn’t even have time to think of a good way to react because my delayed response and the look on my face must’ve given me away immediately. That put MJ on the defensive, which is never a good thing for me.
“What’s wrong? You don’t think he’ll like it?” MJ asked.
“I…uhh…well, it’s just that…it’s a kitchen. For our son.”
Tactical error on my part.
MJ must’ve anticipated this type of response from me because she had all of her ducks in a row. She told me that Will loves to cook with her in the kitchen, which is true. She told me the culinary arts are not simply for women and some of the best cooks in the world are men, which is true. And she told me I routinely make a point on this blog to tear down nonsensical stereotypes and challenge gender stereotypes, so I shouldn’t have a problem with this or else I’d be a hypocrite. Which — damn her to hell — is true.
She’s right. She’s 100% right. Will loves to cook and he should know how to cook. He’d love this as a present. And I, as an enlightened father who speaks out in the name of fairness and equality, should embrace this gift. I know this. And the rational, intelligent part of my brain accepts this as truth.
Unfortunately, the neanderthal strain of prehistoric male DNA is using a megaphone to shout “YOU CAN’T GIVE YOUR SON A KITCHEN SET!!!!”
I know I shouldn’t feel this way but I can’t help it. Girls get kitchen sets and dolls, while boys get G.I. Joes, toy tools and trucks. As a dad I’m fine with responding to Will saying “Hey Dad, wanna play trucks.” But entertaining the thought of “Hey Dad, wanna play with my pastry cutter?” not only gives me pause, it gives me the willies.
Which is ridiculous because I want Will to be able to cook. Not only will it make him self-sufficient, but it never hurts to know your way around a kitchen to improve your luck with the ladies. But it shames me to admit the first thing that crossed my mind was that giving him a kitchen set for Christmas may deter him from even being interested in the ladies.
Like I said, that’s a completely ignorant and stupid thought. Like a kitchen set could actually influence my son’s sexual orientation. And even if my son was gay, so what? I’d still love and support him the same as always. So what’s my problem?
I don’t actually know the answer.
I know my wife is right and this is a great gift for Will. I know I’m being a hypocritical idiot. And yet every time I look at that kitchen set (which I actually put together myself if you can believe it) I cringe. it’s in the same league as a Barbie or pink socks. I’m not sure if it’s age-old gender stereotypes holding me back or my own archaic ideas about how these things should work, but I can’t deny I’m bothered by it.
But I better get over it quick because as any married guy know, the wife gets what the wife wants. And that means my masculine, future professional athlete of a son is going to wake up tomorrow, shriek with joy at his new kitchen and then ask me if I want to help him whisk.
I’m so cooked.