This may seem like an odd topic for me, it certainly doesn’t fit with the traditional parental roles of talking about birds and bee’s during early puberty and letting others misinformation take over from there. Also I have no ambitions to become some type of sex positive educator. There are others in that role who are far more interested or suited than I could care to be. All I care about is having my healthy, well adjusted, and thoughtful kids progress into happy, intelligent, open minded adults.
This morning as I woke up alone in my own bed my thoughts didn’t go to why, or any trivial concern. Instead it began a quick reflection on where I am. In a lot of ways today is a really big day for me. Not professionally speaking which is where a lot of my big days come from in recent years. Rather rightly or wrongly I define much of my life through sexuality (and sports. Sorry it’s a macho warrior mentality I can evolve past). I have always been open with my children in an age appropriate way about my thoughts on relationships, responsible sex, politics, religion, and just about every other topic. In many ways I’m a lucky man, I’m also very fortunate to have gifted children who have always been open to the world around them.
Last Night as Diva my 18 year old and I made our way towards home we discussed today. I told her I’m excited about it. I talked about taking her to Shameless Grounds St. Louis’ Sex Positive Coffee Shop for the first time tonight. There is no grand plan, no wild party, rather it is a launching point for her first photo shoot as Diva. I am not introducing her to my lifestyle or anything of the sort, instead it is a chance to have pictures capture who she sees herself to be at this moment in time. Not as she expects to be seen, not in an environment that is better suited for a gardening magazine and most importantly not with a photographer who’s own hang ups will make her uncomfortable. What it did was give me a chance to for the first time articulate why I go to some of the places I do, explain to her that no matter what she comes to be in life there are places off the beaten path that accept people for who they are. All she ever needs to do is know how to look for them.
My main point in the conversation was to reinforce the idea of beauty is how you perceive it and not a generic image (skinny, blonde, & white). As a man with daughters this is a topic I struggle with, not because of my beliefs but because of societies view of women as a whole. As a man who lives his life in the company of women it is a point I’m completely confounded by. Just this past Saturday I watched a stunning fresh faced 25 year old mother of 2 and a 49 year old with a body most people would die for talk about why they couldn’t wear certain types of athletic clothing because of some self perceived flaw. Both women are ravishing. Then again I think most women are beautiful in so many different ways if you know how to look for it.
It is a terrible burden that I can only think that generations of sexual repression is somehow responsible for. I think it might just be the Achilles heel of mainstream society today. Even after the sexual revolution traditional faith and societal roles for women still nag in the back of so many people’s heads.
So we talked about the types of people we might encounter on our journey tonight anything from short butchy lesbians, impossibly tall drag queens, to grandmother types. Perhaps tatted up rock a billies, a rouge business man, or boot black. The fatherly message was you won’t see classic beauty but you might just get to see some of the freest and most beautiful people imaginable if you just sit back and look. I explained I find places like sex positive coffee shops, book stores (yes even B&N), dive bars with live bands, and just about every other off the beaten path outing you can imagine is where I’m happiest. In the shadows, just enjoying my surroundings, and doing nothing but hanging out with no demands for me to be anything but what I feel like at the moment.
Diva is comfortable with people in general which is one of her greatest assets. Still she asked what to do if we run into someone I know (beyond the photographer) or feel the need to introduce myself to (highly unlikely but possible). The answer was simple. Just be Diva, be who you are and if the rest of the world doesn’t get it tell them to go fuck themselves as long as you’re happy.