Archive for June, 2012

17
Jun
12

Happy Biological and Non-biological Male Parenting-Caregiver Unit Day

Just wanted to make sure I was all-inclusive and politically correct with that headline, just in case…

Anyway, for those old-fashioned folks among us (myself included), Happy Father’s Day. Here’s hoping you don’t all get ties, wallets and/or belts and some of you get something more desired or creative.¬† Most of all, hoping that you get lots of love from those who have reason to honor your fathering role…and here’s also hoping you’ve earned (and deserve) that attention.

For me today, it’s been an exercise in being reminded (in a good way, I think) that parenting (father-oriented or mother-oriented) is a life of adapting to what’s happening. In enjoying the ride and appreciating what happens and not always trying to make things happen a certain way.

A few days before this celebratory day, my nearly 7-year-old daughter finally learned to tie her shoes. I knew she would eventually, but it was nice to finally have a night where she engaged enough in the process to pay attention and I was both insistent enough and patient enough to give her the knowledge she needed to actually figure out the intricacies of knotting some laces.

That was my time to feel good for helping to make something happen.

Today was my lesson in letting things happen and finding the joy in whatever comes.

My plan today, rather than taking the day off to be doted upon or pampered or whatever (which I’ve never been good at anyway), was to take my daughter to see The Avengers. I had already seen the movie shortly after it came out, but did so alone. I wanted to see it again and hoped she’d enjoy the superhero spectacle. All well and good for the first hour-and-a-half of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour film. She covered her eyes many times, but peeking through her fingers (she wanted to be able to block her view if any blood appeared on screen, which doesn’t happen much despite the frequent battles). Then she complained of her loose front tooth hurting and wanted me to do something. But not there. She wanted me to pull the tooth out at home. I was miffed at first that we were going to leave an hour before the end of the movie. But you know what? I’d seen it before. Her Barbie movies and such usually top out at 90 minutes anyway and she’d been a trooper for roughly that long.

And more important: It’s what my child wanted and needed.

It didn’t make sense to leave a movie in which she could have let the tooth fall out or be removed afterward, but that’s an adult perspective.

And parenting means sometimes bending to the child’s perspective.

So we came home. And afterward, I realized that on this Father’s Day, I had pulled my first tooth out of my daughter’s mouth (Mom got that duty the first couple times). That’s special timing. Something to treasure.

And then I went outside and played watchman over her and the other kids playing on our block for nearly an hour, before coming back into the house.

She’s happy, and I’ve done what I’m supposed to do (which I don’t always do in my role of dad, but who does?). The day is good, and a dinner paid for by my wife and 20-year-old son is yet to come tonight. Plus, they bought me a pair of cream-colored Converse high-tops that are currently embracing my tootsies.

Not necessarily the day I had planned. But it’s the day I’ve gotten, and probably a better one for that.

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15
Jun
12

Cutlery Conspiracy

Good thing it’s the end of the school year, because I see there’s a conspiracy afoot to make me waste money.

My daughter loves having a bagel and cream cheese when I send her with cold lunch. This requires a knife. Since I don’t want to lose the real cutlery in some elementary school mishap, I buy disposable plastic knives. I also buy disposable plastic spoons for things like apple sauce and pudding in her lunch.

I don’t buy plastic forks because I don’t need them and don’t want to stockpile them. If there is a zombie apocalypse, alien invasion or nuclear holocaust, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be saying, “Damn, I’m SO glad I have 5,000 plastic forks in the barn. Those will really help in fending off the undead/extraterrestrial commandos/rampaging rapist-cannibals.”

So, I don’t buy the picnic-oriented packs with all three utensils. That’s just an invitation to end up with unused and unusable plastic forks, and then next thing I know I’ll be featured on “Hoarders” or some similar TV show.

Yet I go to Walmart several days ago and try to buy a new box of knives, only to find no sign of them.

Spoons only? Yes! Forks only? Yes, but who cares? Knives only? Well…ummm…no.

I thought maybe they were just out of stock, but it didn’t seem as though there was a space for them anymore.

Today, I stop into the local grocery store to get fixings to make my wife and son breakfast burritos this morning. I decide to stop into the paper plate/plastic-ware aisle, and find that even there, I see neither knife-only boxes nor a spot for them anymore.

What’s up with this? Is it like the whole over-the-counter allergy medicine shit? A few assholes make meth with the allergy meds that have decongestants, and the rest of us have to show ID and be rationed because of that? What…are schoolkids suddenly stabbing each other in the eyes with plastic knives at lunchtime in some sort of pseudo-gang violence and now the rest of us must pay the price?

Besides, local stores, haven’t you considered the most basic fact?

Plastic knives will be much more useful in the apocalypse. Get on that. Now. Reorder and restock.

Or I’ll start stabbing your execs and your purchasing people with all my leftover plastic forks.

05
Jun
12

Fringe-worthy

This will probably sound odd, coming from a guy who has admitted to writing erotica with a kinky twist and has near-encyclopedic (well, compared to most of the population) knowledge of the wide spectrum of fetish sex (though not even a fraction as impressive a record of dabbling in them), but I think people who operate on the fringe often deserve a second or third look in life.

I don’t mean that they should be shunned, persecuted, assumed to be horrible people or anything like that. But I do understand and even advocate the need for us to be aware of them and to try to understand their motivations, whether bad or good.

More importantly, I think we need to do that in both directions.

That is, not only do those of us who don’t share the alternative lifestyle or fringe behavior need to pay attention to the person, but also those who share such interests or support those people need to also step back and assess things at times.

It isn’t about profiling or pigeonholing or stereotyping. What I mean is that we all need to think more critically and not make assumptions that either demonize or deify certain behaviors.

This came up in my mind today thanks to a woman I know about who claims she’s being persecuted for wanting to home-school her child. I won’t name any names for a number of reasons, but her story is fishier than a working oceanside wharf. Many other home-schoolers and un-schoolers have rallied around her but I’m not so sure she deserves their blind and unwavering support. The problem is that her supporters, and supporters of such educational practices in general, will defend one of their own at the drop of a hat in many cases without really knowing the person’s situation.

Would they do the same if a pastor of a small church was engaging in questionable behaviors, acting paranoid and trying to isolate young people from family and society?

No.

Why?

Because some small churches are toxic. They might be cults. They are sometimes very small and off the mainstream track because they espouse crazy things and seek to promote and instill unhealthy mindsets. Most small churches are probably small because they simply don’t have many members and finding a church home that fits well is hard, but some are just hotbeds of wrongness. For that matter, some big churches are pretty sketchy, too, but while they promote groupthink at times, they don’t do as good a job of isolating people from the world.

Likewise, there are parents who advocate home-schooling and un-schooling because they are themselves dealing with issues…or, perhaps, NOT dealing with them and letting them fester. If a parent has mental health issues and decides to take a child or children out of the mainstream to teach them and protect them, what might in fact be happening is that they are isolated their children and inculcating in them a whole new generation of mental illness and skewed world views.

No, there is nothing wrong with home-schooling or even un-schooling, though I think the latter is way too unstructured for most kids and I think few parents can pull it off well. Hell, the wife¬† and I have considered the possibility of home-schooling at some point for at least a defined period of time. But we shouldn’t be quick to defend home-schoolers and un-schoolers simply because they practice a similar behavior to one we also practice or support.

And since I started off with sexual examples and metaphors, why not lob a grenade over in that camp as well?

If someone is into bondage and domination stuff, that doesn’t mean they should support every dominant person out there or encourage every submissive to do what their master or mistress says. Some of those relationships are thinly veiled domestic abuse, and we shouldn’t assume everything is peachy and fully consensual and healthy simply because the acronym BDSM has been slapped on it, no matter how sexually accepting any of us are, myself included.

And there are so many other fringe and alternative sexual behaviors, too. Some of which I’ve tried, some of which I’d like to, some of which I’m not so sure about and some of which I wouldn’t do without a gun being held to my head (and possibly not even then). If you happen to get involved with someone who has a kink you don’t share, you should probably think long and hard about that. Not to make the person out to be a deviant or freak (though that may be true at times) but to assess how important that kink is to the person and whether or not you can be in a relationship that might require that kink to be explored in order for the relationship to survive.

Also, to make sure the person you are with isn’t a freak who’s a danger to you. This is good advice in general, but what I see is that vanilla people are too quick to think a fetish means deviancy, and kinky people are too willing to assume fellow kinksters are OK when some of them are seriously touched in the head.

So, critical thinking, folks. Please use it.

Don’t rush to defend people with whom you agree, because some of them are deranged or dishonest. Also, don’t rush to judge people with whom you don’t share views.

But above all, be aware of who is around you and why they are doing what they do. Paranoia isn’t cool, but awareness is. We should question everything. Not everything all the time and in great deal, but we should question anyone’s motivations.

And sometimes that includes our own.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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Jeff Bouley

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You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

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