Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Maya has a love-hate relationship with water, which is one reason why we warn her before her bath. Last week I said, “Maya, tonight you’re having a bath. But I’m not washing your hair, just your body.”

“Not my hair,” she said. “But you have to wash my booty.”

Wash my booty? Where’d she learn that one? Oh, thank you, big brother Miguel. In fact, Maya happily shakes her booty in public, at home, just about any place. Put on music with a good American Bandstand beat, and Maya is swaying her hips and wobbling her backside.

And her Elvis wannabe routine scares me. Not because I fear she’ll morph into a tiresome Vegas lounge singer who gorges herself on massive amounts of food and drugs. No, it’s because she’ll be a teenager in less than 10 years, and the boys will be swarming.

At the park last week, Maya was giggling and playing with two girls, one who is four, the other almost two. At one point the three of them laid down on the ground, hands clasped, and posed for a picture my neighbor wanted to take with her cell phone.

I leaned over to my neighbor’s husband (his daughter is the one who is almost two) and said, “I know you are renting, but if you can manage to stay here for another ten years or so, we can form a united front and keep the girls indoors until they’re 30.”

He laughed. His wife (the photographer), who is from Romania, said, “Be careful what you wish for. There was this girl from my town and her father kept her locked up. You know what happened to her?”

I was about to say, “She unleashed herself in a torrent of pent-up sexuality and screwed every boy in Eastern Europe?”

“She became a lesbian,” my neighbor said.

I was speechless and startled before I mustered a response. “Do you think what her father did caused her to become a lesbian?” I asked. “Don’t you think she was predisposed to that beforehand?”

“No, no,” my neighbor said. “What her father did caused it.”

I wasn’t about to enter into a nature vs. nurture debate with my very sweet and young neighbor, but I couldn’t help wondering Margaret Mead-like about the essential core of our discussion. Are people born with certain behaviors or lifestyles or do we choose them later on the basis of our life experiences?

I am inclined for the narrow purposes of this debate to opine that sexual lifestyle is a calling, a biological imperative that we pursue with determination. It is obviously controlled and influenced by environment. But it is way too dismissive and insulting in many ways to assert that homosexuality is the almost deviant offspring of a parent’s (or anyone’s) paranoid behavior.

And none of the debate about sexuality was comforting to me. Because Maya is precocious now I fear that will lead directly to recklessness later. So let’s play along and agree my neighbor is right. And I know that would be a colossal stretch of any imagination. But if she is correct does that mean I will be better served by sequestering Maya until she is 50?

Do I hear 60? When I’ll be 107! Oy!!

1 comment:

  1. so does your behavior stem from some strange goings-on from behind some locked Friedman doors?