Sexism, heteronormativity, and traditional gender roles are most alive. LOL What else is new, right?

But what really saddens me is the fact that women, rather than fighting those things, which in many ways affect them the most, so blindly defend those very same dogmas, applying them in their own lives.

As a gay father, I become acutely aware of this every time I leave the house with my son. We don’t have to go far to meet women who either ask “where’s the mommy?” or start giving me advice on how to do things “isn’t it too hot/cold for him in this outfit?”, “shouldn’t he wear shoes (or not)”, “shouldn’t you cover him with a blanket / take it off?”, “Shouldn’t he be wearing a beanie / or not?”

Our son, here in his beautiful Indian clothes, a gift from his kaku Arindam, is a beautiful,
healthy seven month old boy. We’d like to keep it that way!

That’s bad enough, women who just simply feel they are better qualified at taking care of children.

Much worse, and I’ve seen this three times over the past three days, is ladies just simply coming up and touching my son or even lifting him out of his stroller, without asking for permission.

Here’s what they typically do:

  • Remove his pacifier (presumably to get a better look at his face)
  • Lift him out of the stroller to “get a better look” (and give me advice)
  • Play with his face
  • Fiddle around with his clothes and shoes
  • or, if he’s under a blanket, either remove it or rearrange it (depending on their opinion on what it should be like)
As a man, you watch these things, and it’s only after it’s all done that you realize that you’d never do such a thing. If I were to walk up to a complete stranger, and touch her child, she’d scream, kick and yell for help, and you’d never get rid of the “pedophile” label again. Aa a man, I’m acutely aware of the social norms surrounding men and babies in public, but it seems that it doesn’t apply to women.
I find that most unacceptable for several reasons:
  1. My husband and I know better than anyone else what our boy is like, what he likes, dislikes, when he’s cold or hot. Just because you’ve popped a baby or two yourself doesn’t make you the expert on everybody else’s… 
  2. You carry a gazillion germs on you that I don’t necessarily need on my son. Last night, one of those ladies proudly announced that she has 35 fifteen year old kids in her class, plus a husband and two daughters, equals the germ sets of 39 people, transferred to Sascha’s face and his pacifier all in one touch. I doubt she’d volunteer to watch him when he comes down with a fever.
  3. Would you allow me to do the same to your child(ren)?
  4. Do you walk up to an adult and start re-arranging their clothes, take away their water bottle of coffee mug just to get a better look at them? No, of course not, you ask. In the case of a baby, you ask the parent.
  5. There are female pedophiles, too. I was once the victim of one, so how do I know what YOUR intentions are?
  6. I particularly worry when ladies come who want to “borrow” my son. What for?
There are exceptions of course, and I’m thankful for those women and men who come up and say “Mind if I have a look?” and I’ve never once refused. Interestingly, not once in the seven months of Sascha’s life has a man walked up and just started to fiddle with him. NEVER. I find that telling, but I’ve stopped counting the number of women who feel they can just stop their heads into the stroller and start yanking, pulling, pushing and smooching with someone else’s child.
Alex and I have discussed this at length and we’re sick and tired of being treated as second grade parents (sometimes it feels we’re not even there) and from now on, we will not accept anyone to approach our son without going through us first, or they’ll get an earful. I know this is going to create a lot of friction, as we meet a lot of people every time we take a boat to or from town, but my son’s health is paramount, and I couldn’t care less about what you think is good parenting or not.
So ladies, keep your paws off my son or you’ll find out what it means to be yelled at and called a sexual predator!

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