My first introduction to boys came from my father. Unfortunately my dad isn’t and wasn’t the most mentally stable guy.
I remember having a crush on a boy in pre-k class and I was talking about him at the dinner table. At that moment my dad told his four year old daughter, “You’re not allowed to talk to boys.
You’re too young.
” Too young for what? How am I supposed to ask for the red crayon Matt has been using for the past ten minutes because he’s drawing some post-apocalyptic world where the sky is red?
I just need the red crayon for two-seconds to color in some flowers. I never questioned my dad because he was my dad and he was crazy.
Although I didn’t know what he meant by “too young,” by the tone of his voice I knew it was something I shouldn’t be doing, so I avoided being friends with boys.
I remember witnessing my dad’s own controlling behavior towards my mother.
My mom was the one who cleaned the house, made three meals a day for us, and wasn’t even allowed to bring her own friends over.
If she wanted company they had to be the wives of my father’s friends.
My mom was enrolled in an ESL and business program, worked full-time, and couldn’t bring any of her friends over? He couldn’t even pick up a sponge and wash some dishes?
I also remember my dad treating my brother horribly because he enjoyed things that some older generations may think are “feminine.
” My brother really liked watching musicals, Disney movies, drawing, and painting. Instead of encouraging my brother’s creativity he would tell him, “Stop, acting like girl.
” However, when I would wear dresses, or singalong to the same Disney movies my brother would watch my dad would praise and say, “Mi princesita!
” A double standard that was established in my household and would continue as I got older.
Let’s fast forward to age seven. My dad was still an asshole and not much has changed. I jumped off the bus, greeted my father, and ran inside to watch TV.
While I was in the house, my dad started talking to the bus driver. I remember it was a long conversation and eventually the bus driver went on to the next stop.
After dinner, my dad was telling my mom about the conversation he had with the bus driver.
There is no way I can summarize this conversation, so this is either straight from my memory or something I made up:
Mom: Oh really?
Dad: He kept saying how cute Tamara was and how great of a kid she was.
Dad: Yeah, he even asked for a picture of her because my little girl is adorable.
Mom: Felipe? Felipe are you serious? Oh my god, I’m calling the school.
Mom: He’s obviously a pedophile why else would he be so interested in her?!?!
My mom was right. That bus driver was a pedophile and asked multiple parents for a photograph of their kid.
You would think an elementary school would have done a better background check, but nah.
Now that I’m older I think about these two events and ones in between, how they really did paint a portrait of men as something I should fear.
I am not a parent so I have no idea how to discuss the topic of boys, girls, or pedophiles.
What I do know is, how my parents probably could’ve been a bit more sensitive and maybe less dismissive about the subject of boys.
I was left with a sense of confusion and being afraid of a gender I have to spend the rest of my life with. What can you do?