Explaining My Lifestyle in an Age Appropriate Way Part 2 The Specific Things I’ve Done

This is part 2 of a 4 part series that was inspired by a session at Eroticon USA 2013 and some interaction with friends on twitter. You can read Part 1 Everyday Things now and  Part 3-  A Few Funny Examples, and Part 4 by my daughter Diva  over the coming weeks.
   I had written the piece below and was simply letting it sit. Planning to come back in a few days to edit and proof.  This morning when I woke up and started reading email there was one from my 15 year old daughter Lily.   It read…
“This is an article and a video that I came across. It is a bit preachy in a few places and references a lot of religion. I just thought it was worth at least one watch, though to hear all the verses you may need more than that. You may hate it I just randomly came across it and it was intriguing to me. Let me know.” 
 It linked to an article in the Advocate and I’ve inserted the video referenced in the article in the interest of time.  

 
While it deals with the topic of sexual orientation and religion; perhaps even to an incendiary level by asking the question “What if God is Gay” ?  Far beyond that it  provides insight into how our family really works.  We’re open about everything not just sex.  That’s point I often fail to make here.   Tonight it will be a discussion item for us not because I think it should be but because odds are she’ll bring it up.   For the record I sent Lil an article from The Economist to read and 2 recommendations on understanding the influence of France in European culture and monetary policy.  
As a parent I couldn’t have been prouder that she is not only reading but also thinking, sharing, and discussing those findings.
Now back to the original piece….
 
–          Mal
 
So you have kids that you don’t want to be closed minded, self conscious jerks.  Maybe that’s a bit cold and jaded but it’s my opinion of the “there’s only our way” parts of the world that cling to the concept that there is a single method, manner, or ideology that is correct.  With that in mind here are some of the Specific Things I’ve done to prepare my kids for encountering that part of the world
1)      Prepare them for the bad – Someone is going to judge you, call you a slut, a whore or worse.  Let’s face it, we see it happen to a married monogamous woman who has only ever been with her husband by a bunch of closed minded jealous types if she wears the wrong dress or simply talks to the wrong man.  Words only have power if you give them meaning. Actions that are perfectly normal and natural are nothing to be embarrassed by unless you allow others to define what is right and wrong for you.  I forget who said it but I heard a woman say  ”Whore’s are some of my best friends”.   I couldn’t agree more.   Where we live the religious right has a larger than desirable influence on the community as a whole. When pushed about my life style on occasion and being a man of little faith (or an atheist) I simply reply that “Christ hung out with sinners and whores so I figured I might as well be in good company too”.
I have heard tales of my daughters using similar statements.   Not only do we suck as conformists as I mentioned in the previous posts we’re also all lousy pacifists.
2)      Encourage Tolerance – The standard answer to a boy is married to a girl in our house is that’s nice.  It’s the same answer we have used countless times about gay and lesbian couples, Poly friends, monogamous couples, and single folks.   Often it’s followed up with “as long as they’re happy”.  Once in a while even in this world I’ve crafted or when I drift into a less understanding and open minded one we sing from the hymnal of “who cares”   So and so likes X – who cares.  It’s none of my business how others live.
3)      Have the uncomfortable conversations –  I have talked about safe sex, prenuptial agreements, protecting assets, pregnancy, being aware of your surroundings and other intentions, and a myriad of other things since they were nearing middle school age.   Being a realist we’ve also talked about heavier topics such as date rape, not ever letting your drink out of your site at a club, bar, or College party (Diva is 19 now) No topic is out of bounds.  Sometimes the response is “yes we know” and other times it’s lively debate.   More and more as they age the topics are brought to us about STD’s someone they know have, unwanted pregnancy.
4)      Prepare them chance encounters – Not everyone knows me by my birth name.  Shocking right? So what happens when you’re at the mall, a restaurant, or the grocery store and someone addresses me by my pseudonym?  I smile and introduce them by theirs.  One point I do make is even though I cash checks with one name and write under another my beliefs, opinions and thoughts don’t change.  The only difference is how I say it.
5)      The difference between art, sexuality, and life – There is an important line.  Sex as the saying goes sells but people don’t walk around looking like models in magazines, they don’t behave like characters in books and shows.   Except for Big Bang Theory in which I can point to a person in my world for every character on there.   But that’s besides the point.

2 Replies to “Explaining My Lifestyle in an Age Appropriate Way Part 2 The Specific Things I’ve Done”

  1. Again thank you. I am currently in the midst of bring up two young people. They are a boy (14) and a girl (10). It is a slightly challenging age gap when it comes to this subject as there are times when the answers or topics they are ready for are actually quite different, however, I rarely talk to them without the other one around as I think part of the learning to be done about this subject is that it is OK to talk about it. it is not something to be discussed in hushed tones and whispered words.
    Sadly my son is more reluctant that my daughter to discuss these kind of subjects with me. However because I am me, I generally ignore that and carry on regardless!
    Mollyxxx

    1. You’re welcome. I recall you mentioning showing your son the pictures from the exhibit earlier this year which I think is wonderful. At his age I was much the same way, reluctant to talk about “sex” things with my mother. Speaking only for myself and looking back i believe part of it was simply because she was my mother but another part of it was I was already very misinformed and believed somehow because boys are supposed to know and understand “those” things almost instinctively. A gender bias , type casting issue that goes well beyond sex ed.

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