First up – what did I say last night hey – that Sermsah and Laura need to go so Camilla can dance with Anthony. Well my wish is there command apparently.
I can’t WAIT for next week.
Now look, I’m going to tell you a little story here and in the telling of it some of you may think I have an issue about it, that I’m pre-destining my child or some such. That is just not the case. This is just a glimpse into the mind of one of my children that I find hilarious, fascinating, intriguing and a touch exciting.
When Felix was four I took him to a kids clothing store to get new pants. Do you think I could even get him into the boys clothing section?
And Felix? At four? While we were all slowly recovering from the trauma of his predeliction for screaming and tantruming and not sleeping from birth to three and a half, he could still throw a doozy, was full of pride and impressively stubborn.
On this day we were looking for pants he refused to even look at them let alone try any on.
Instead, I got a full overview – a review if you will – of most of the girls clothes on display.
“But mum, come and feel this skirt, it’s so soft”
“Look at this colour”
“I want this” (it was a shell-pink off the shoulder jumper number and while shell pink is a hard colour to wear he could have totally pulled it off with his skin tone)
I was – and still am – very much of the mindset that if you make something an issue it becomes an issue.
So I indulged to a point.
That point being I explained what the different fabrics were
“yes, that skirt is soft because it’s cord” (it was beautiful with some appliqued flowers on it)
“there’s cotton in that knit, that’s why it falls like that”
but I was also very forthright –
“Felix, this is the girls department, you are a boy and therefore wear clothes from the boys department.”
Which I reiterated every different which way, while on the inside I was screaming ‘for fuck’s sake kid, I’m not letting you wear girls gear on my watch’.
So, in the end I managed to find a relatively inoffensive turquoise girls top as he was about to pitch a fit and I just needed to get out of there intact.
When Felix was four I was still very much in a survival mode with him – we were just starting to get the beautiful kid he is now.
Anyway, we got home, he put the shirt on, wore it for about an hour, took it off and told me he didn’t want to wear it again.
We gave it to the daughter of a friend of ours who loved it to pieces.
For the whole year of 2004 Felix often bemoaned being a boy – that girls had way better clothes, toys and so on and so forth. He had one really true boy friend, but otherwise it was mainly girls.
He has always been – and will always be – my emotionally intelligent child. I have been known to refer to him as my ‘girl’ (never in front of him or to him mind you – just in those interminable discussions with people who think I must be miserable having four boys – don’t get me started on that one for I have a theory that when all of your children are the one sex you don’t have the set-up to attribute certain characteristics to one child or the other because of whether they are a boy or girl – but I’m not expressing myself well and this is getting clunky.) and that didn’t come from him being some quiet, loving, prissy kid. It’s come from how he is, the things he says and the way he sees the world – that those things just tend to come from a place more often seen in girls and women than in boys.
Then there were the dress-ups over the years – and let’s just say Felix has never been one to shy away from being Snow White.
We were at the D’s for Thanksgiving one year and he and two of his girl friends came out to give us a concert and he had the Snow White outfit on with a wig and other paraphernalia I now can’t recall.
A friend of ours, J, said to me under his breath that if that were one of his boys he would have dragged them back inside and ripped them to shreds – or words to that effect. The homophobia was breath-taking. That complete “if my son ever told me he was gay I’d disown him” type stance.
To be perfectly honest, it didn’t even register on my radar.
Here were a bunch of kids who love hanging out together having an absolute ball, why on earth would I ball my kid out in front of a crowd for the fact he was wearing a dress-up outfit that involved a dress?
So last week we’re watching the elimination show of So You Think You Can Dance and Rhys comes onto the stage with some pretty impressive stage make-up.
For one of Rhys’ gigs in real life is as a ‘drag performer’.
Felix saw him and immediately said to me, ‘that boy’s got makeup on’,
to which I replied, ‘yes, because in his real life he’s a drag queen’ (as Rhys had said himself not moments before),
to which Felix asked, ‘what’s that’ and
to which I replied ‘it’s when men dress up as women and put make-up on and sing and dance’.
I thought I’d gotten away with that rather white bread response.
About five minutes later Felix says to me, ‘I could do that.’
And I’m all ‘what?’
Because I am a child of the 70s and have watched so much television my short term memory can now barely remember that food goes in my mouth.
‘I could dress up and perform’
And of course I was all ‘absolutely’
He went into some whole plan of being different characters and saying that he had to go to the bathroom but he’d really go into a change room and then come back as someone else and do a different act.
And that was that.
Then this week he decided he was going to be an author, so you know, the kid is definitely mine as the multiple future career changes? Am still living it.
Then tonight, Rhys had some very impressive red glitter work happening across part of his face in some weird homage to either CSI or The Phantom of the Opera, it was hard to tell.
It was done very well whatever it was there for and meant to represent.
Anyway, Felix asks me after a couple of minutes, ‘what did you say he did again?’
and I said, ‘about being a drag queen?’
and Felix said, ‘yes, that’s it’
and with all the definite determinedness an almost eight year old child can muster said,
‘that’s what I’m going to be’
K – what? a drag queen?
F – yep.
I tried to rework this new career aspiration into that of being a performer but he really wasn’t buying it for a moment.
He was all about the dresses, the make-up and the shoes.
I told him about musical theatre but no, that wasn’t it.
Then he said,
“and i could travel to schools and do heaps of different shows”
Because obviously I hadn’t filled him in on the main workplace offerings for drag work.
Or the other aspects of the career that tended to go hand in hand with it.
Oy oy oy.
Anyway, the conversation sort of stumbled along because really, I was not prepared for my son to tell me he wanted to be a drag queen on a Monday night when in my mind all I was just hoping Anthony and Camilla would not get kicked off or when he was eight.
I threw in a reference to Hugh Jackman – that he did Oklahoma and played Wolverine in the X-Men.
Me, not Hugh.
Then Felix told me that Drama was something he really loved and wanted to do.
So on we went.
At four it was all about the shell pink off the shoulder jumper.
At six it was Snow White.
At eight we’re all about being a drag queen.
Quite frankly folks, if he ever does come home and say, ‘mum, dad, there’s something I have to tell you’, we’ll probably roll our eyes and go ‘derrr’.