Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So, Do You Like Boys?

I live in a house of men.  Two sons, one large male dog and one husband.

One husband. 

Wouldn't it be great if I came out right now as a polyandrist?  If I went on to share the names and locations of a couple other husbands that I had tucked away here in the U.S. and abroad, in this very post?  Well, I can't.  Mostly because I don't; I love my one and only.  That could have been a good read, though.  A complete fabrication but a good read.  

Sorry.  Please keep reading. 

Because I live in a house of all males, I tend to do a lot of "male" things.  Witness my Labor Day weekend activities: tossing the football with my sons at the beach; playing an unnamed game in the pool wherein we essentially attempted to drown one another; watching a horrific scene on the National Geographic channel where a lioness went toe-to-toe with a giant crocodile over a day-old hippopotamus carcass, leaving the lioness' lower jaw literally hanging from the rest of her head as she slowly walked away from the battle scene, then laid down.
"She will soon die for she can't even take a drink of water," the narrator closed the scene.

I dry-heaved and had to look away.  

My seven-year old sons were stoic; their steely gazes did not leave the television set for a second.  Not even during their emotionless attempt to offer their visibly shaken mother some perspective:

"Come on, Mommy.  It's just the circle of life."

Now, I'm not totally averse to all this maleness (well, the lioness scene was a bit much; she was attempting to gather sustenance for her young cubs!).  But generally speaking, I like guys.  Two of my six bridesmaids were males.  Some of my best friends are male.  I have enjoyed working in a largely male environment all of my career.  But at the end of the day, this girl needs her girls!

I have gotten better about recognizing my need and actually planning for "girl time" in recent years.  Whether it be a quick coffee, lunch, some kind of work-out class, or a playdate featuring mom chit-chat, or even a night out with a girlfriend during the week.  Or better still, a whole day out with a girlfriend on the weekend to shop, possibly partake in a facial or pedicure, and a yummy, long dinner where my outfit isn't completed by a pony tail or sneakers.  Discussion topics range from nail polish colors to the equal parts mind-numbing and magnetic "The Real Housewives" series to why we want to kill our husbands (the core of why I could never be a polyandrist).

Every second of all of these simple she-activities and girl time does wonders to help me remember that I am only a little insane for locking myself in my closet with the September Nordstrom catalog and a glass of pinot noir at six in the evening on the 28th day of my cycle, ignoring my sons' and then my husband's knocks at the door.

"We know you're in there, honey.  We see the light under the door."  I hear Jeff's voice from behind the door.


"So, we're on our own for dinner?"


"Ok, we'll probably just go to In-N-Out then."  I hear him take a step away from the door and panic.

"Oh… honey…are you out there?  I didn't realize...I was just getting dressed.  Be out in a second."

I was very lucky to sneak a little girl time in at the end of my Labor Day weekend.  My brother-in-law Todd and his fiancé/Baby Mama Jennifer invited us over for dinner last night.  She probably won't invite us again because I referred to her as his Baby Mama but I sure hope she does because she is an amazing cook and fun to talk to.  And let's face it, "Baby Mama" is just funny, especially when it comes from the mouths of white people describing other white people who cohabitate and keep a joint checking and savings account deep in the 'burbs.  In fact, I am pretty sure she even calls herself "Baby Mama" from time to time.  See, now you know she really is fun.

So alone in her kitchen, our girl-talk covered Jennifer's new treadmill she received for her birthday, her first experience in Cardio Barre class the week prior, whatever the hell sauce she was making for the steak tacos in her mini-mixer thing she has had for years but I have somehow never laid eyes on, what we thought was happening in our mother-in-law's life (specifically in her love life with her new boyfriend or whatever he is), my one-year old nephew's ability to tear apart the house in six seconds and inability to sit quietly in his stroller for the same amount of time, and how much we were looking forward to eating the cakes I brought (no, I did not actually make them).

Then her 12 year-old daughter, my eldest niece Heidi, entered the kitchen and sat down at the table across from me.  It was time for middle school girl talk.  A very easy transition for a woman of my immense maturity.

"So you like 8th grade?"


"Good teachers?"


"How about your friends?  Do you have any classes with Gina (her best friend)?  How about that crazy, tall, blonde one?"

"Madeline?  Yeah."

"So, do you like boys?"


I looked over at her mom, wide-eyed.  I had been asking Heidi this question for a few years now and this was the first time I got a firm "yeah" versus "yeah, sort of, not really, <giggle>".  

I don't want to downplay the scene.  It was very exciting.  At least for me.  I put down my wine and carefully architected my next question in my mind.  I had to be sensitive to the fact that her mother was in the room but deep down, I wanted the goods.  The pubescent, middle school goods.

Her mom looked up from slicing tomatoes.  

"You do?  Who?"  Jennifer asked Heidi.

"You know, Mom.  Michael,"  Heidi responded.  Cool as a cucumber, I might add.   

"Oh, yeah, Michael."  Jennifer went back to slicing, equally cool.

This could mean only one thing.  Michael was not only a known entity but perceived to be a non-threat.

"So, is Michael a 4.0-er like you?"  I asked.  Heidi is an epic student.


"So, does Michael like you?"  It sounded better than going straight for "Do you talk on the phone?", "Do you text?", OR what I was really after, "Do you hold hands?"

"Steak's ready!"  Todd opened the sliding glass door to the kitchen with one hand and carried a plate full of meat in the other.  Heidi simultaneously rose from her seat at the kitchen table.  This was also my cue to get off my ass and set the table or at least fix one of my children a plate or, let's be real, top off my wine glass for dinner.

Damn!  I didn't even begin to scratch the surface on this Michael situation!  

At least I got a little girl talk in this weekend, I thought to myself as I threw some shredded cheese into Nicky's tortilla.  

Enough to see me through another week of Adventures in Boy Land!

A Tibetan woman and her family, rollin' polyandrist style.