Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sugar and Spice

Patty's Total Body Spa offers something they call "the Little Girl Salon."

"Do you need a new idea for your little girl's birthday? Are you tired of spending too much money and doing too much work? Let us pamper your princess! Included in the party are up do's for each girl, glitter make-up and nails painted. After everyone is dolled up and the mommies have taken pictures, the girls are escorted to our banquet room for tea sandwiches and soda. The room is decorated and the food is served on china with wine glasses for the soda. ... The girls keep everything we put in their hair and the birthday girl keeps her tiara."

I don't even know where to start. First of all, I was OK with the old birthday ideas. I am tired of working and spending money, but I'm not sure how this helps me. I don't want anyone to pamper my princess. I don't want a princess. I don't want her to have an up, down, or sideways do. I certainly don't want my peasant girl to be dolled up. While the mommies are taking pictures, where are the daddies? Are they watching football? Are they eating wings at Hooters? Are they in a separate daddies only room away from the women and children? (We actually were just at a birthday party where the dad's were upstairs while the mom's watched the kids play. I'm not sure what the dads did, because I was downstairs with my wife and our daughter). Now, what do they put in the girl's hair? What would a prince's party be like? Would that ad have as many grammatical errors?

One goal of mine, as the father of a daughter, is to find a sugar substitute. I'm even open to mixing in a snip or a snail here or there. My dippity has a whole collection of trucks and cars, and her very own jet plane. She has a doll, but she also has a ball and hoop. She wears too much pink for my liking, but she wears more jeans than most girls. My wife and I are trying to raise a well rounded individual as opposed to a 'little girl.'

'Little girls' are created. They grow up to spend two hours every morning preparing themselves for the day. They grow up thinking they are fundamentally different from boys, and that those differences involve make-up, spas, dresses, taking tea, beauty pageants, and bulimia. Oh, and tiaras too. We just can't let go of happily ever after, even if it involves the subjugation of one whole gender. Is it any wonder that there is a glass ceiling, or that the stay at home dad remains an enigma.

Breaking away from the 'little girl' model isn't easy. Try shopping for girls clothes that isn't pink or purple. Watch a few television ads for children's toys, or for that matter anything involved in cooking or cleaning. Raising a girl who isn't a pink clad princess is as hard as maintaining a vegetarian diet in the rural South. I'm not sure a few trucks can effectively counter the power of a tiara, any more than a doll can distract a boy from baseball and toy tools, but it's worth a try. I want my my daughter to have painted nails and puppy dog tails.

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