Yesterday while Stitch was in lessons, I was in the lobby with two of my fellow skating moms, selling costumes. Yes, the bagged glories of prefab dance outfits could be yours for a paltry ten dollars each. For a halloween getup, or an addition to a girl's dress up closet, or even a low end competition dress they were a steal. Most tutus come with a leotard of some kind, but we did have a box of "orphan" tutus in various colors.
I hate tutus. Yet, there I was, looking like the planet Saturn in a red tutu, hawking spangles and glitter, trying to talk seriously about the merits of marabou. I consoled myself by thinking that when I was twelve, this was the look I'd dreamed about; Cyndi Lauper in "Girls just wanna have fun." Lesson for the day, be careful what you wish for.
The boys came out for the break, with Stitch eyeing me like I'd lost my mind. I threatened him with a superhero cape and told him where his snack was. He and Other KId enjoyed a moment of giggles at the sheer number of spangles before heading back in for lessons.
Tot costumes were the first to go, with moms hauling off armloads of outfits to try them on their squirming kids, endlessly flummoxed by the cryptic sizing system, and constant searches for "just one other size" of some outfit they really liked but didn't fit. Sorry, cash only. No, no credit cards. Please put your Amex away, and there's an ATM around the corner.
Girls were making does eyes, dads were drifting off, moms were fluttering. Moms of boys were looking sad as they realized the pickings were nothing but an assortment of red plaid shirts. "But what about the boys?"
I realized I should have brought Stitch's old things and sold them on consignment. (I'm still loathe to part with that Pink Panther Jacket.)
The boys came back out as lessons ended, and Other Kid comes traipsing out with this mischevious look on his face. "I want to try on a tutu."
"You do?" I was laughing.
I've been around enough performers to know when one of them is going to give us a show. "Take your skates off."
So he goes and gets his shoes on, and he picks out the spangliest tutu of them all. And he puts it on and flounces through the lobby, much to the delight of all the girls and boys, everyone laughing as Other Kid spins and twirls. "THIS IS SO EMBARASSING!" he's laughing, too.
Anyone who knows boys knows that boys will play around in girlie clothing, just to mess around and have fun. And this is what Other Kid was doing. He had the rapt attention of every girl in the place, he had us all smiling, and it was a great joke.
But against the wall was a dad making this expression of sheer terror. The blood had drained from his face, his lips curled back, his eyes wide, the only one among us not laughing at this terrible affront to all things masculine and holy. While everyone else was giggling at Other Kid, I was laughing at this guy.
Other Kid took his tutu off and things got back to "normal," but I wonder what kind of nightmares that guy had last night. I can just see him, clutching his infant son in the middle of the night, crying and in a cold sweat, "It's okay, Johnny," he sobs quietly. "Daddy won't let the tutus get you. Daddy will protect you from the glitter." And somewhere from the corner of a closet he imagines seeing a wisp of organza, and he shudders again.
I've beaten gender conformity to death in this blog, so all I can do now is laugh at it. Girls can play hockey, speed skate and figure skate. Boys can play hockey or speed skate. No Flouncing allowed, not even in fun. Nothing to see here, folks. Please move along.