I still remember being a hormonal, ranting teenager shouting "I can't wait until I turn 18 and finish school, so I can get the hell out of here!" Which, I did. It was much harder than I had ever anticipated, moving to Sydney on my own and starting a new life but that seems like a life time ago now. Since then, I have uprooted yet again (exactly 18 years after the first big move) and now live in Melbourne. (It makes me wonder where on earth I will be living at 54!)
Anyhoo, the point to all this is not where I have lived - or now live, but rather to give you an insight into where my family (and their ideas about things) come from. Being the "get organised early" person that I am, I am well on my way with the Christmas present shopping and decided to get my littlest guy (who will be two and a half) a cubby house this year. He loves imaginary playing and interacting with things, so I thought the perfect thing for the cubby house would be a little kitchen set, so he can pretend to cook up a storm. Whilst mentioning this to my father on the phone the reply came "Well, I don't know about all that. Why don't you just get him a truck?!"
I had not even considered the thought that my idea of imaginary play for my child might somehow have an impact on my child's perceived future manly-"ness", but I kind of suspect it may have had more to do with my fathers. My father comes from the era where men were men, they didn't "do" quiche, salad and soup were not a meal and they didn't whip up a storm in the kitchen. Gay meant you were happy and there was to be no having with those homosexual types. I mean, we lived in a country town for crying out loud. There weren't any - right!? And if there were they weren't hanging out with my dad at the "local", or the cattle sales or where ever else manly men went, to be with other manly men (but not in a gay way).
My point is you can't make a child gay through pretend play and they can't "catch" gay by using their imaginations. When my eldest child (now nine) was smaller, he used to clop around in my high heels and wear whatever nail polish I happened to have out at the time (I might also add that my husband - open minded as he is, was still a little horrified by all this but my thinking is that high heels and nail polish at three are different to high heels and nail polish at thirteen - and if that's the case, then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it). I even used to get my old Barbie dolls out for him to play with.... until he decapitated them all. Now at the ripe old age of 9 he has no interest in any of that - and is very "boy centric" as far as toys, interests and dressing goes. The point being I let him use his imagination and make up his own mind when he was ready for it.
I still have an eye out for just the right kitchen set for the cubby house, one with a little sink so he can do the washing up when he has finished his "masterchef" creations. I do although have a feeling that when Christmas does roll around, there may just be a present for him under the Christmas tree from his Grandfather, shaped suspiciously like a truck.