A Message to Boys Who Love Dolls

My daughter plays with cars, loves baseball and refuses to wear a dress (except on Easter or at weddings).  For most, she squarely fits the ‘tomboy’ description. People love her.  Her peers, teachers and parents completely support her interests and find her “cool”.   I love it too.

So, I wonder about the mother of a 6-year boy who happens to like dolls, dress-up, art (glitter even) and dance.   My daughter is free to enjoy everything (dolls or cars) while that boy may feel less ‘free’ to enjoy his interests, especially in our football / hunting / NASCAR state.  Last night, I went to bed thinking about this boy (and his mom) wondering how I would encourage his interests, help him find friends and, overall, create an environment where he is free to pursue a bright future.  How would I support and also fight the stereotype that my artsy son might be gay? Who cares and since when did our our interests define our sexual preference.  In doing so, the following message formed:

For the boys who love dolls: Grown men (professional athletes, doctors, teachers and stay-at-home dads) care for their children by changing diapers, pushing strollers and singing lullabies. Your future family and your friends will be deeply blessed by your empathy and nurturing personality. The world is a better place because of your heart.

For the boys who love to dance: I say, Dance Like No One is Judging! You, my dear, will be the most popular guy at the high school prom and the college socials.  Just consider these predecessors:  Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber and Usher – great dancers.   Few things are more attractive than a guy who knows how to move on a dance floor.  You’ll be fine – better than fine actually.  Moreover, dance is a beautiful art requiring exceptional strength and coordination – please continue.  The Nutcracker is not complete without you.

For the boy who loves to cook: This is EASY!  I just say the following:  Frank Stitt, Chris Hastings and Bobby Flay.  The world’s most acclaimed chefs are men.  Keep cooking and please invite me for dinner.

To the boy who loves art, especially glitter: Let your creativity flow.  Your future as a graphic designer, visual artist, interior designer or illustrator will be full of great projects, smart and beautiful people, gallery openings and book signings.  Where would we be without Eric Carle?

For the boy who loves to read and does not have an iota of athletic ability: I hope you will READ your way to an Ivey League education –  discover cures, write legal opinions or teach.  Ironically, you are the most likely to actually end up on a 50-yard line….. just in the box seats during a championship game.   You’ll be sitting with your best pals who have flown in from around the world –  the now famous performing artist, a successful graphic designer (who probably branded this championship event), and the acclaimed restaurateur/chef (whose selection of foods ensures that those seated in the adjacent boxes are now joining you).   Of course, you cared for dolls and stuffed animals when you were 6; which means you are likely a great friend, spouse, son, grandson and father.

I hope my daughter is sitting with you. She can explain the game.