After turning 2 years old, my son, Avishai, started demanding that he only wear tractor shirts, and my mind spiralled into darkness.
So writes Jay Deitcher, a social worker and therapist, a declarer of pronouns, and, it seems, someone accustomed to the aforementioned mental spiralling:
I catastrophised worst-case scenarios, imagining a world where he fell for everything stereotypically manly. I envisioned him on a football field, barrelling through mega-muscled opponents. Imagined him waxing a sports car on a warm summer day.
We seem to be in a high rhetorical gear. For a two-year-old’s choice of shirt.
Mr Deitcher - who has, he says, “always judged other guys who seemed boxed in by masculinity” – airs his view of maleness:
Men didn’t hug. Men didn’t say I love you. Men were angry. Aggressive. Inept as parents. I became determined. I was going to create a bond stronger than any parent had ever achieved, but I told myself that to do so I needed to distance myself from anything deemed masculine.
This line of thought goes on for some time.
I grimaced at anyone driving a Ford car, the John Wayne of automobiles. I hated men who wore plaid. Felt ill if someone mentioned a wrench or another tool.
And because things aren’t sufficiently dramatic:
My body spiralled into panic any time I attempted manual labour.
Given these fevered thoughts, all this tool-induced upset, readers may wish to peek at the photographs accompanying the article, and which may bring to mind the words grown adult, albeit ironically. Readers may also wish to ponder the prospects of a father-son relationship premised on a dogmatic, near-hysterical disdain for maleness, for “anything deemed masculine.”