I’m Teaching My 12-Year-Old Son About Women
When my grandma was living, I never wrote anything with the word fuck in it. I never ranted anywhere but in my diary and even then, I made sure no one was reading over my shoulder. Being a girl meant you were calm, cool, and collected.
I have a son and I want him to understand women are real people, not composites of what other people want them to be. I asked my son what he wanted to know about women. He said he learned all about sex in school, mom.
I was relieved. I dreaded teaching my son about sex. It was only yesterday he stopped nursing. I know 12 is old, but we saved a lot on food and beverages so calm down.
As a son-mother, I am more concerned about him understanding a woman’s emotional needs. I asked him to sit down on a chair of nails and hot coals while I explained women to him. I needed his full attention.
“The worst thing you can say to a woman,” I told him, “is to calm down.”
“What about shut the fuck up?” my son asked.
“What about it?” I asked.
“Is that worse or better than calm down?”
“Calm down is always the worst,” I said. “Anything you say to a girl is better than calm down.”
My son preceded to go down a list of insults. Since none of them contained stupid whore, or the C-word, I kept shaking my head.
“Nope, son,” I said. “Calm down is always the worst.”
“Why is calm down such a big deal, mom?” he asked.
I could feel the limbic system of my brain swelling. Even the words calm down in a sentence, in any order, made me want to punch a hole through the wall.
“It just is,” I said, causing my blood to boil so hot, I tipped my ear, poured out the hot blood, added some chamomile, and made some soothing tea to calm my nerves.
“Dad,” my son said, turning to his father. “Why is calm down the worst thing you can say to a woman?”
My husband shook his head. “It just makes them really mad,” my husband said.
Even the two of them discussing it made me wonder where I’d put my knives.
“But mom,” my son said. “I don’t get it. Why?”
“That’s it!” I said. “I’m going to bed.” I had to get out of there before I started ripping the baseboards off the floors.
“But what about the family movie?” My son asked all innocently like he hadn’t been baiting me like a goddamn salmon.
“Not tonight,” I said. “Just let me leave.” I grabbed onto the wall to hold myself steady.
“Mom,” my son said. “Calm down.”
I know you think I lost my cool when my son said this. You probably think I blew up, ripped the copper pipes from my walls, and set my living room on fire. You might have imagined I crashed my dining room chairs over my knees and shot multiple holes through my big screen tv, but you’d be wrong.
I don’t have copper pipes.