For you new readers, I have two sons and a husband. My eldest boy I’ve had for 20 years next month. The Husband, well, he I’ve had considerably longer. To say I’m familiar with testosterone and all its ugly little flaws would be an understatement.
I wanted sons, don’t get me wrong. You see, males were an enigma to me. What better way to truly study the male of the species than by cleaning up their urine splashes?
As my boys aged, I learned something about myself, too. In the beginning, if they did something naughty to me, the look on my face (or my tears) would be enough to send them into fits of contrition – complete with soulful, “I sorry, Mommy, I sorry” apologies.
Soon my tears repelled them. They became a fear. I’m not quite sure when this happened. I’m going to say once they became teens. When they see me well up (which happens a lot) they recoil and leave the room. Maybe they give me an awkward pat or hug before. The point is, they want nothing to do with female tears. It’s as if they say to themselves, “What is that substance leaking from her eyes? I believe it will unman me.” And, their natural instinct is to run from the teary kryptonite. I tie this directly to testosterone. I also tie it to The Husband, who cannot stand to see me cry.
The boys have grown up in a house where nature programs are always on. Whenever an animal chase crops up, I say, “Oh no!” and then well up, knowing the eventual outcome. Poor little baby gazelle or whatever’s on the other end of those teeth and claws! I never really get to watch the end of the chase because there’s a drill in the house. The Husband will suddenly shout, “WHO’S GOT THE CLICKER? CHANGE IT BEFORE SHE STARTS CRYING!” and that’s the end of that. There’s my theory proven. Female tears scare the crap out of men.
You know what else scares the crap out of them? The female reproductive system. Discussing any sort of female discomfort appalls them. I admit it, there are many, many times I send The Husband down to the store to buy feminine hygiene products that I know very well don’t exist just so he stands in the aisle staring vacantly at tampons. This is usually punishment for something. It’s not like I do it for entertainment for me and my girlfriends… There are also times I send him down to buy the products IN BULK – because nothing is funnier than seeing a man wandering the store carrying a gargantuan pink box of tampons with a sour look on his face like someone’s just had a wee in his Cheerios. As a mother, I am well aware this will also happen to my sons and I’m OK with that. They’ll cope as wonderfully as their father did. They’ll come home extremely proud of themselves for having done the deed and they’ll get a round of applause or hugs and kisses.
The thing with teenage boys, though, is they don’t want to know that their mother is a woman. She’s just “mom.” When confronted with the fact she’s anything other than “mom” they get a little tense. This can happen when male attention (outside of their father’s) is bestowed on her or she attempts to discuss sex with them. Then their faces get a little screwed up. “What? Ew! Stop!” is a likely response. It’s not flattering, mind you, but I deal with it. Last night I did so by telling my son that giving birth is extremely painful for women because we have to squeeze something twice the size of a baseball out a space designed for something the size of a golf ball. (I thought I’d throw in sporty references, you know, to make him more comfortable?) The look of revulsion on his face should be enough to ensure he’ll grocery shop with me today.
It’s the little things in life, folks.