Why Does My Son Have a Purse?

Marriage can be a battle. And sometimes you have to play dirty.

There is a song out there, written nearly 50 years ago, that drives MJ crazy. Actually, it drives every woman I’ve ever known crazy. My wife hates this song. Hates it! She’s not one to use that word unless it’s warranted, but in this case she doesn’t hesitate. She hates the song like Mel Gibson hates temple. It’s not so much on the level of Red Sox and Yankees fan hating each other, but more like Palestinians and Israelis. The mere mention—nevermind actual playing of said song—sends my wife into a murderous frenzy. And when this obscure melody was featured in a Family Guy episode, her anger grew.

See for yourself:

Needless to say, MJ’s visceral reaction caused by this song makes me sing it, hum it and play that video whenever I’m pissed off at her. This has resulted (multiple times) in her threatening my life, punching me, kicking me and chasing me around the house threatening to remove my very manhood.

But then, on Monday, I decided to up the stakes by teaching Will how to sing it.

I worked on it with him for awhile and even showed him the Family Guy video so we could practice it together. Then we carefully planned for MJ’s arrival, at which point I excitedly told MJ our son had learned something new and very cute at school. She grinned widely and asked what it was. That’s when I whispered “Just like we practiced” to my strapping young lad, and watched proudly as he stepped to the middle of the living room…

“Bird is word. Ba-Ba Bird is Word. Bird is word Mama. Don’t know about bird, everyone Bird is word. Bird is word! Bird is word! BIRD IS WORD!!”

In that moment, I can say with complete honesty my wife had no love for me. None. She wanted me dead and the daggers from her eyes looked capable of performing the task. But I didn’t care because my son and I love the song and he would not stop singing it. We belted out the strains of Surfin’ Bird all night long as MJ tried to ignore us by playing around on the computer—no doubt researching the going rate for mafia hit men these days.

I considered this the death blow and proclaimed it a total victory. And the best thing about it was she had no comeback. Game. Set. Match. Not only do I sing the song, but I taught it to Will. There was nothing else she could do that would irritate me as much as playing that song irritated her.

Or so I thought.

Still glowing from my victory, I went to pick Will up from preschool on Tuesday afternoon. I walked in as usual, grabbed his coat, picked up his Mickey Mouse backpack and signed him out. But just as we were ready to leave, his preschool teacher said the words that have haunted me ever since:

“Will, don’t forget your purse.”

I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at her with confusion. Then Will ran around to the other side of the room to collect something. And when he turned the corner, my heart sank into my feet and shame washed over me like the incoming tide.

A purse. A polka-dotted, black and white purse. He wore it proudly slung over his shoulder, just like…

And that’s when it hit me.

“Buddy, what is that you’ve got there and why on Earth are you carrying it around?”

“It’s my purse.”

“I see that. And where did you get that purse?”

“From Mama. It’s beautiful, right dad?”

The shock of it all had left me standing there, feeling like my feet were glued to the floor. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. All the while the flurry of parents picking up their kids was going on all around me, yet all I could look at was that goddamn purse.

The worst part was Will’s preschool teacher saw this all go down, and I knew I couldn’t overreact lest I be judged. So I had to put on a happy face and talk about how TOTALLY COOL it was for boys to have purses. Because I’m a progressive liberal who shouldn’t have a problem with strict gender stereotypes. Yup. No issues here. I’m so above all that nonsense.

It physically pained me.

As soon as I got him strapped into his carseat I called my wife, ready to accuse her of using our child as a weapon of mass destruction in our marital warfare. But she wouldn’t bite.

She said she would never sink so low as to involve our son in our spats. She told me he picked up the purse and liked it, so she let him bring it to school. Then she pointed out how hypocritical it would be of me to be upset about this, especially when I’m always preaching about equality and treating people fairly. She said a boy having a purse doesn’t make him gay, and even if Will was gay, so what?

And, of course, she’s absolutely right.

With one brilliant stroke, MJ dropped a nuclear bomb that destroyed me and left me defenseless. But even more impressive is the fact that she did so without ever appearing to fight in the first place. It will no doubt be preserved in memory and referred to as a tactical and strategic masterpiece of marital trench warfare.

The lesson, as always, is wives are not to be fucked with.

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15 thoughts on “Why Does My Son Have a Purse?

  1. Aaron, I’ve got a great solution for you – get your kid a messenger bag. That way, he still gets to carry a “purse,” and you don’t feel like you have to surrender your manhood. My dirty little secret – I’m a man that needs a purse. I’d rather have my wallet, keys and cellphone out of my pockets, and I’ve always got assorted crap I’m carrying around. And I’m not in high school anymore, so a backpack’s out. So, years ago, I started carrying a messenger bag. And though it’s kind of hipster these days to do so, I can fit all my “stuff” in it. And if I were a kid, I’d love to put buttons or patches on it.

    Here’s where I get needlessly overly-invested in the issue:

    I’ve got to say – these days, if a father (or mother) freaks out a little because their kid is escaping the typical gender roles – we demonize them, and it’s not completely right to do so. It’s alright for people to want to maintain the “norm”, for the same reason why it’s alright for people to not: if it’s not hurting anyone, then who cares? The kid won’t, because he doesn’t know what social norms are anyway.

    Now, if a kid DOES have some sort of gender issues, then that’s grounds for a discussion. But if a kid doesn’t care WHAT he’s got slung over his arm, I’d say it’s totally fine to steer the kid one way or another. If for no other reason that sure, WE all understand and are tolerant, but the rest of the world, sadly, isn’t. So sometimes to save your kid from getting the world’s most undeserving black eye from a kid raised in the stone age, us parents use our “been there done that” power to gently nudge an issue away before it happens.

  2. Zach: Ah yes, the messenger bag. Or as it is more commonly called, The Murse.

    In the end this is really nothing more than a funny story. I won’t lie, the thought of my son with a purse makes me a little uneasy. But that’s my problem and it’s easily solved: I’ll get the hell over it. Now if he’s going out in a pink tu-tu and matching purse we’re going to have a problem. But to be fair, I wouldn’t like my daughter going out in the either.

    But it does make for good blog fodder!

  3. That was dirty pool on the wife’s part, with no consideration on her part for how it would affect her son. That marriage isn’t going to last.

  4. David: Whoa there sport. Our marriage is just fine and so is our son. Our son won’t be negatively affected by playing with a purse for a little while. And how equally ignorant of you to tell me my marriage is going to fall apart because of a humorous story on my blog.

    Put a lid on it jackass.

  5. You should teach him the words to Hic-a-doo-la next.

    And for the record, I like the Bird song. But my mom raised me on cheesy Elvis beach movies. My judgement is questionable.

  6. I am going to send MJ a couple of purses so that she can up the ante. Get ready to see Will walking around with his beautiful pin stripes or purple and gold purses. Can’t help but chuckle thinking about Will with the Yankee and Lakers accessories. ;)

  7. If he wears Laker accessories, does he have to hit people for absolutely no reason in a classless display of ignorance? :)

    Sorry Jack…couldn’t resist.

  8. “But then, on Monday, I decided to up the stakes by teaching Will how to sing it”
    Video.Please,please,please post a video of will singing this! This would make my day,nay,my week. I’d say my year, but that would be a little too much. and sort of creppy.

  9. Jessie almost peed herself laughing at you. If I remember correctly I had menioned something about having fought with MJ and having been to combat and the latter being a bit easier in my speech at your wedding…
    Jessie says she’s dropping off nail polish!!!!!!!

  10. If he wears Laker accessories, does he have to hit people for absolutely no reason in a classless display of ignorance?

    Little Bucky Dent can do whatever he wants.

  11. P.S. I am awfully disappointed that I don’t get to bash you two silly again. While it is nice to live on the memories of the spanking you received it is just not as much fun. And given the future it looks like the celtics are about to fade back into a 26 year date with obscurity. ;)

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