Boys forbidden toy guns, I’m told, will chew their toast into gun shapes and shoot their baby sisters with them. They needn’t trouble themselves: boys, of course, have a built-in gun.
We were playing with five kids who always come to the playground in a pack, trailing a couple of parents. (I’ve never been able to tease out exactly which kid goes with which adult, but why bother?) They’re all cool and mostly 4 years old, and Boo, you may remember, has a thing for older girls.
And it happens that among this tribe is just one boy. And although he tries to get everyone to play games his way — Ring-Around-the-Axe-Murderer, Flesh-Eating Monster Merry-Go-Round, and such – the girls just overpower him.
Exasperated at last, he grabbed his crotch two-handed, like some ridiculous 1990s rapper, and started making machine gun noises, all the while directing his crotch at the surrounding girls.
Back in my teaching days, I was used to quelling such displays with a mild “That’s inappropriate” while containing an inner smirk. Today, though, I was a few steps off, so I simply observed this example of what’s doubtlessly normal psychosexual development.
Every single girl, of course, ignored him and his penis completely. They were too busy engaging with each other over something more important — at that moment, it was the correct lyrics to “The Wheels on the Bus.”
Lo, before too long, the lone boy dropped his crotch and succumbed to the power of the holy feminine: that is to say, he joined into their game of Follow the Leader.
And that’s how I saw a metaphor for my life from puberty to age 31 played out in pantomime on a playground stage today.