Monday, December 15, 2008

Watch Out What You Do With The Remote

I once remember a preacher giving a set of anecdotes about his preschool-age son, whom he had diagnosed as having really high testosterone levels. And you know, there are just some boys where you can tell they're going to turn into men's men practically before they're out of diapers. Well, this preacher once described how he was wrestling his little jock-in-training on the floor of the living room, when a Victoria's Secret ad popped up on the big-screen TV that was playing in the corner of the room.

The wrestling suddenly stopped, as the boy sat there transfixed....

The preacher described how he scrambled to get the remote (which is never where you want it to be, when you need it right now), as the kid watched that glorious display of voluptuous female curvitude...

And just as the Daddy got to the remote and changed the channel, the boy proclaimed matter-of-factly: "Those are pretty. I want to touch them."


Now, we don't have a TV in our house, so sadly, it's unlikely we will have the experience over here of scrambling for the remote to change the channel before the Happy Boy discovers the differences between boys and female underwear models.

But we did have a remarkably similar episode last night. Our church has scheduled regular Open Houses, where the homes of the church leadership are open for members just to drop in, visit, and pray about anything they want. So last night we went to the home of one of the elders, and had a lovely time visiting.

They had their TV on, but (at least at first) they had put on one of those mood videos--you know, the kind that shows a fire crackling in the fireplace, or a long uninterrupted woodland scene? Well, they had one on that showed a snowman, with snow falling on it. (We were joking that "At the end of the video, if you wait long enough, his nose falls off...," but we don't think the kids bought it.)

But while we were sitting there talking, eventually their video ended and started playing credits. (And you know, the credits on that video were really boring.) So at this point our hostess grabbed the remote and started going through the channel options, looking for "The Winter Channel", which apparently shows nothing but these peaceful woodland scenes.


As she was scrolling through all those menus, the TV was running ads in a display in its corner. And wouldn't you know it, they were ads for pay-per-view professional wrestling.

The Happy Boy, who had been playing happily up until this point, suddenly stopped, stood up, and started staring at the upper right corner of the screen. And the ad showed all these really big, muscular, macho people in brightly colored spandex pants and no shirts, snarling at the camera and throwing each other around the ring.

The Boy was transfixed for several long, long, moments. Then he was slowly drawn toward the television, like a moth drawn to a candle, and his finger reached out and touched the screen right where the Beefcake Monsters were doing battle.

About this point, the ad ended, and the window was filled with something else. And our little boy, who's not talking very much at this point, started communicating in his wee little not-quite-two year old voice, that he hadn't had enough yet to be satisfied:

"Moh'! Moh'! Mmmmohhh'!"

Geez. The dude isn't even two yet, and has never been exposed to the fighting sports (boxing, wrestling, martial arts) before, and the first time he sees a 30-second ad for the WWE, he's a fan.

Anyone who thinks that "Gender is a Social Construct" has obviously never raised children. This boy is a male, he was born a male, and there's no fooling him--or anyone else--about this fact.

And if he keeps growing the rate he is, one day he'll be about the size of those wrestlers. We keep trying to tell our girls that they need to be nice to him now, while they still have the chance. And I need to make sure that I've fully disciplined him when he's still a kid, because he's on track to grow to at least an inch taller than me....

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