Oh, Man. (Or Woman.)

So breathe a sigh of relief: I'm back from yesterday's non-blogging void. You missed my presence in the blogosphere, didn't you?

... No?

*cricket, cricket*

Well anyway, you'll be happy to know that during my brief absence, I was out collecting new blog fodder: i.e., being totally embarrassed by my child. Oh, sense of social propriety ... where are you, and why have you COMPLETELY bypassed my four-year-old?

We try to teach Colin how to behave properly in public. Honestly, we do. And it's not so much the way he acts that mortifies me - it isn't that he's running around like a chihuahua on crack* (*except for that one time at Wal-Mart). It's the things he says. At the most inconvenient of times. Loudly.

Take, for example, our lunch at a local restaurant yesterday. It was supposed to be a good time. And it would have been - everyone was in a great mood, ready for a nice meal. We were seated, the boys were happily coloring on their kids' menus, ahhhh.

Then our lunch date took a turn for the worse. Enter our waitress (waiter?) - a very androgynous girl (guy?) with a short, boyish haircut, no makeup or pierced ears, a nondescript body shape, and a nametag that revealed no definite clues as to her (his?) sex: LENNY.

But whereas Curtis and I were only silently wondering about our server's gender, Colin took it upon himself to find out. Lenny asked him what he'd like to drink, and rather than his usual reply of "Chocolate milk, please!" he answered: "Are you a man?"

My eyes widened in horror, and I felt my face flush hot. I quickly diverted my eyes to Cameron, who was providing a distraction by coloring on the table - so I busied myself with guiding his crayon back to the paper. Across the table, Curtis nudged Colin sharply. "Son!" he said, in an admonishing tone. "She asked you what you'd like to drink."

"But are you a man?" Colin inquired of Lenny, louder this time.

I swear, it felt like someone was twisting a knife in my gut each time those words flew from his (socially inappropriate) mouth. But it was such a delicate situation: what do you do at a time such as this? I was desperate for a better diversion, so I tossed one out there.

"Look, it's Lenny, just like on 'Wonder Pets!'" I said brightly, referring to a guinea pig on one of their favorite shows (who, coincidentally, I also thought was a boy until one of the other characters referred to it as "she").

"Lenny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming too!" Cameron chimed in from his high chair, singing the "Wonder Pets" theme song.

"But is this Lenny a man?" Colin wanted to know.

At this point, we had a few options:

a.) Call even more attention to the question by telling Colin, in front of Lenny, that it wasn't appropriate to ask.

b.) Tell him Lenny was a girl (which we were ... like ... 85% sure of) and hope he left it alone; risk further embarrassing Lenny, in case Lenny was actually not a girl or was genuinely trying to pass as a dude.

c.) Try to ignore the question and press on with the drink orders.

d.) Something better, which we absolutely could not think of in our current state of humiliation.

We opted for choice c - ignoring the question as best we could (although it was like trying to ignore a chimpanzee standing in the middle of the table waving his hairy arms: impossible) and trying to get on with the order. Lenny, bless his or her soul, could have nipped this whole thing in the bud by answering the burning question right away. Instead, he or she just stood there as Colin asked repeatedly about her gender. Our attempt to ignore it went something like this:

Curtis: "He'll have chocolate milk. And I'll have iced tea, please."

Colin: "Daddy, is that a man?"

Me: "I'd also like a tea, please, and the baby will just drink out of ours."

Colin: "ARE YOU A MAN?"

Kids just don't get that an unanswered question means that you probably shouldn't ask it again, and especially not multiple times. Because despite our under-the-table pokes and stern "you'd-better-shut-your-mouth-right-this-minute" glances, Colin kept asking. I think he assumed Lenny couldn't hear him or something.

Finally, miraculously, Lenny answered. "Nope, I'm a girl," she said. "But I get that all the time." If she had only said that to begin with, we could have been spared the agonizing experience. It seriously seemed like the longest drink order we'd ever dictated.

Afterwards, in the car, we gave Colin a gentle-but-firm talking to about things he shouldn't ask people. I think he got it ... but just in case, if we ever get another androgynous waiter/waitress, I'm so requesting to sit in a different section.


  1. Happy Saturday Sharefest!

    Seriously, what girl is named Lenny? And why couldn't she just answer the question in the first place? And why don't children come with filters?

    A few of the things I'll be pondering today...

  2. Heh, heh! So funny---been there and done it!

    Thanks for visiting my blog---love yours! Will come by again....

  3. Happy Saturday Sharefest. Just the name of your blog makes me smile.

    And this post made me laugh. I'll be back!

  4. Happy Saturday Sharefest!
    How funny! When my son was 3, he was intrigued by our obviously gay waiter. He studied him for a while, and finally blurted out loud enough for everyone to hear, "Oh I get it! He's a lady daddy! He has earrings like yours, mommy. He's a lady daddy." Not a bad observation for a 3 year old:)

  5. A happy Saturday sharefest to you! Oh my goodness, I don't know what I would have done! I would have been fire engine red. Sounds like she handled it beautifully! God bless her!


  6. That was so, so funny!

    Although, I believe you don't think so.

    But it was.

    Trust me.

  7. Colin is going to need his own blog before long! I was so nervous for Curtis when he said, "SHE asked you what you'd like to drink." I was just waiting for Lenny to correct Curtis and tell him "she" was a man. Seriously, why couldn't she just have answered Colin's question to begin with?

  8. Ooooh...I'm cringing just reading about it! I do not envy you this experience.

  9. I find it totally weird that the girl couldn't just answer the question - when other people's kids ask me inappropriate questions i try to answer them as well as I can to spare the parents as much embarrasment as possible because clearly the kid is doing it out of innocence. So funny though. Last weekend Izzy asked my mom if she was a girl because she doesn't wear nail polish like I do.

  10. How embarrassing! Amy used to say things like that. I think she was school age before she acquired a sense of social appropriateness! Makes for some tense parenting moments....

  11. I'm lol'ing cause I know exactly where you're coming from. Cole has been very vocal about...larger people. We were at Wal-Mart with mom when she stoped and talked to a friend she used to work with...a fat male friend who happened to be black. Cole very loudly announced that he was not only fat, but brown like Barack Obama! Today at Casey's, a very large woman walked in. I was thinking 'oh shit' to myself because I knew Cole would say something....which he started. 'Mom! Look at her!" I got in his line of site, blocking her and whispered 'SHUT UP!' to him. Could you imagine if our boys were together and we ran into a black, obese shemale? God help us!
    And wtf? Lenny is a girl? No way!

  12. OMG, that made me laugh. It reminded me of the time we had taken Aidan to lunch at Garfield's and he was drawing pictures on the tabletop. The waitress asked him what it was and he pipes up with, "This my mommy and this is her head and this is her arms and this is her hairy shenis!"

    My head snapped around faster than I could even begin to describe. I knew I'd regret asking before the words even left my mouth, "my what?!"

    He repeated himself (the one time he listens, right?) and I, consequently, turned 42 shades of red and felt the intense desire to vomit all over his little art project.

    First of all, what the heck is a shenis? It's a vagina.... evidently we're makin' up our own words now despite the fact that he's been educated appropriately. Secondly, there is no hair down there so I dont know WHAT youre talkin' 'bout mister! I make a note to myself to check the parental controls on the "premium channels" when I get home.

    In a nutshell... "are you a man?" pales in comparison to pubes on a tablecloth. Give Colin five minutes with Aidan and you'll wish that embarrassment really were a cause of death. LMAO!

  13. I realize this comment is coming 6 YEARS too late but I just found your blog a few weeks ago. I started reading and LAUGHING so hard I about peed myself at my work desk that of course I had to keep clicking and reading MORE. My oldest son (now GASP 33) was ALWAYS the one to blurt out "observations" at the WORST of moments. The really rough looking biker with the "dirty arms" (tattoos) or the lady with "a really fat bottom" (I tried the ignore it and it'll go away tactic--it didn't) but the daddy of all his little social blunders was the time we were eating dinner with the campus priest (my hubby worked at a small private college at the time). Dinner was Kielbasa nestled in a pile of sauerkraut...yea you can totally guess what's coming here. My angelic (if a tad too observant) 3 yr old looked at the plate in front of his daddy and the priest and piped LOUDLY in the middle of the campus diningroom "DADDY ARE YOU GOING TO EAT THAT PENIS?" I swear I saw a glint of naughty in his beady little eyes--my toddler knew EXACTLY what he was asking and did it ON PURPOSE! Oh his voice was pure innocence but those eyes were pure devilish glow!


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