Monday, March 3, 2014


One day my husband comes home with the children in tow, and announces to me that he just had the weirdest conversation. We had recently moved back to a small suburban neighborhood and were eager to ease our children's readjustment by involving them with old friends. My husband, J, had just come from the church where most of our neighbors congregate on Sundays, so I was eager to know how things had gone.

Apparently the odd conversation happened with a woman I'll call C. Now, every neighborhood has a group of parents that seem to be at the center of all the planning in the area. They know about every birthday, every soccer game, they are in the PTA, and they usually have a hand in every play group. My neighborhood is no exception to this rule. C is a major player in our local group.

After service she approached my husband, commented on how the children had grown, made polite conversation and then asked if my children and I would be going to the weekly play group because, "we would so like to see the kids there."

My husband politely explained that I wouldn't be doing much of that sort of thing because I was now working full time, but that he would be the one primarily taking care of the kids. Before he could ask any more about the play group, what time it was or where, she quickly lamented how it was just "too bad" and "I guess we'll just have to see the kids some other time." She didn't stick around to say much after that.

I was dumbfounded. I knew it was an overwhelmingly conservative neighborhood, but I never thought we would be dis-invited from a playgroup because we had a stay at home dad instead of a stay at home mom! It didn't take long to remember old conversations about how uncomfortable these women felt if a man was in their home if their husbands weren't present, cautionary tales of old neighbors who had had affairs because they had served on the same neighborhood board, and flippant observations that they won't speak to long to male neighbors at neighborhood parties because who wants the hassle of dealing with a jealous husband. I realized that it all came down to SEX. Men and women can't be together because , well ... Sex.

This is concerning on a number of levels. Under that umbrella of thinking, I can't be alone with the men because God forbid one of them want me. But I can't be alone with the women because God forbid I become sexually attracted to one of them!

So where does that leave me? Where dose that leave any of us who identifies as something other than a sig-gender heterosexual. Hell, where does that leave our families? This woman (as well as, I assume, the other parents since no one has broached the topic since) was more than willing to through my husband and my children under the bus for her "propriety." What would happen if they knew I wasn't the "safe" option to be alone with.

I'm the one that is more likely to find any of them attractive. I'm the one more likely to get turned on by a room full of women. I'm even the one that is most likely to sleep with one of them, given the chance. Would my children loose ALL of their friends if these people knew? Would our young family loose the few contacts that are still willing to say hi to us in the grocery store or on a walk? To be honest the list is short enough as it is.

I vented my worries and concerns to my husband. After my energy was spent I stood in my little green kitchen wondering if I was ever going to live a fully authentic life. J came up and wrapped his arms around me. After a moment he said with a smirk, "So, hypothetically, which one of our neighbors would you do if you had the chance?"

I swatted him playfully and said, "Well none of them now!"

No comments:

Post a Comment