Slate.com’s Dear Prudence (a.k.a. writer Emily Yoffe) falls somewhere between Ann Landers and Dan Savage in the progressive advice-giving arena. We imagine her to be like a mom in Portland—fairly conservative in her lifestyle, but generally on the right side of the issues.
Sometimes, though, we wish she’d unleash her poisoned pen a bit more. Like in this column from a few weeks back, in which a tight-ass mom asked how to shelter her son from the terrible influence of his friend’s gay parents. (Won’t somebody think of the children?!?)
My son is in second grade and a classmate of his has “two daddies.” My son wants to go over to his friend’s house to play, but we are nervous about this. I know my opinion is probably unpopular, but it is still my opinion: I do not know if this is a good environment for my son at his age. We do not talk about topics like homosexuality in our home. We do not want to field questions yet about these kinds of topics; we want him to be able to just be a kid instead of dealing with complex sexual issues. His friend plays at our house and he is a very nice boy, but eventually his “daddies” will to know if my son can go to their house.
How do we tactfully tell this couple that we would prefer if their son plays at our house? My sister thinks that I will just have to “get over it” and send my son over there. But isn’t it my right to monitor environments and control influences for my children? I fear that children in modern society are exposed to far too much far too soon—what happened to letting kids just be kids?
Prudence’s response was certainly commendable, if a bit toothless:
So you think this little boy’s home should be shunned in the name of letting kids be kids. You don’t have to do a lot of explaining to second-graders. When my daughter was even younger than that we had a gay couple and a lesbian couple in our neighborhood who each had kids. We casually explained to my daughter—after she asked, which wasn’t immediately—that usually kids have a mommy and daddy but sometimes kids have two mommies or two daddies. It was no big deal to her. I assume treating everyone with respect is a value you want to inculcate in your son. Letting him play at his friend’s house will be a good way to put that in action.
We really wish Pru had laid into this uptight breeder a bit more—but that’s not her style. Still, considering other questions in the same column were about a teacher engaged to a former student some 20 years his junior, a husband who sleeps with his elderly mom, and a woman who’s man wants to videotape her giving birth, it’s pretty clear being straight is no protection from crazy shit.
So we put it to you, Queerty readers. How would you react to this person’s ignorant question?
What if you were the gay parents in this scenario: Would you separate your son from his innocent playmate because of his prejudiced mom or dad? Or suck it up for the sake of the kids?
Sound out, ever so tactfully, in the comments.
Photos: Jason Rogers, NBC