Before heading to my daughter’s elementary school musical this evening (more on that tomorrow perhaps), we did some lovin’ it at the local Golden Arches, home of the coolest guy ever . . . The Hamburgler!
Things were going better than usual (no lines, the food was relatively warm, the lady behind the counter smiled once or twice) until my eight-year-old son Ethan noticed that his cheeseburger-no-pickle Happy Meal came with some lame “girly crown thingy” and not the monster truck ubër-cool toy advertised on the sign. I tried to explain to him that 1) McDonald’s toys have a life expectancy of roughly five minutes and twenty seven seconds, so whatever cool new rockin’ toy he was hoping for would probably suck and break and he’d be bummed 2) for about six seconds – after which he’d toss it on the floor of the minivan where it would stay until Jesus comes.
But he was having none of it; if his sisters got toys they could embrace and play with and break and lose and forget about with their girlish charm intact, then by God he was going to do the same . . . with all his boyish . . . well, you get the picture.
So he scooted out of his little icky-brown plastic swivel seat and walked to the counter determined to get some customer satisfaction. And, at the top of his voice, he told the kid behind the counter that he wanted “A BOY TOY!”
My jaw dropped.
And then I laughed, as did my wife – nearly spewing her Pepsi, Ethan’s brother – who’s in middle school and not at all interested in “boy toys” 😉 and a few other people standing around the counter waiting for their Big Macs or Royales with Cheese.
In the not-too-distant future, we’ll take the long weekend trip and have the full-disclosure debriefing where I explain as clear as possible, in a way that goes beyond lifestyle parenting, that women are not to be exploited in any way, how they deserve respect and shouldn’t be seen as simply “flesh in a dress.” It’s the right way to live and will mean more to him one day, a day approaching way too rapidly. But for now, he’s young and innocent and has a big heart and I knew he didn’t mean any harm. In fact, perhaps I should feel guilty about laughing. But I must confess (as my face reddens) . . . my first thought was Britney . . . sad but true . . .