When It’s Princesses Versus Privates


Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. She’s chronicling their journey right here on Queerty. Read up on RMR‘s cast of characters.


Having worn underwear for about three decades now, I fancy myself an expert on the subject. Yes, I know a thing or two about wearing underwear. One thing is for sure: get caught wearing underwear intended for the opposite sex and you’re going to get a few double takes, and then some.

C.J. has only been wearing underwear for a year and a half. Therefore, he is not an expert by any means. C.J. wants Disney Princess bikini briefs, the pack with a different princess for each day of the week.

I consulted a few of my friends. The consensus was, don’t get C.J. the princess underwear. That’s also what my gut told me when we were talking late one night; especially because C.J. will want to wear them to his new school, with his new teacher and new kids.

What does it matter if he wears Disney Princess underwear? Nobody may see them. But, what if they do?

I try not to say things are “for boys” or “for girls.” In our house, Barbies aren’t just for girls and Hot Wheels aren’t just for boys. But, I did it, I choose my words carefully and told C.J. that “they don’t make Disney Princess underwear for boys.”

“How come not?” he asked.

“You can’t wear girls’ underwear because there isn’t room for your weiner and balls and it might hurt them.”

We stared at each other, neither of us sure about the situation. I was hoping that that would be the end of it and envisioning the line of questioning that could come next. C.J. was hoping that I was wrong and envisioning his privates being crushed by Princesses.

Next thing you know we were shopping at Kohl’s for some back-to-school basics. Kohl’s is a lot like Ikea, a sensory overload of products, unimpressive air conditioning, no windows, no doors. It’s a retail panic attack. To top it off, there are never enough cashiers and the long line always gets dangerously close to the jewelry counters and my kids, if they manage to stay with me in line, like to wipe their grimy hands on the glass jewelry display cases and, on occasion, lick the glass to feel the warmth of the lights inside. We walk away and it often looks like somebody smeared mashed potatoes on the glass.

On this occasion, the line was long as always. There was a small elderly woman in front of me and an empty-nester behind me. C.J. wandered a few feet away from me. He was up near the register where they display products that kids will want and parents won’t. C.J. held up a pair of pink fuzzy slippers.

“Mommy, can you put these on the list for my birthday?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said, acknowledging the list we work year-round. We put things on that imaginary list when I don’t want to buy it, but also don’t want to argue about it. So, it goes on “the list,” which could very well stretch from West Coast to East Coast by now.

“Mommy, can you put this on my list?” he asked, holding up a purple BPA-free water bottle.


The elderly lady in front of me turned around and smiled.

“His birthday must not be near,” she said smiling.

“It’s in February,” I smirked.

“That leaves lots of time for him to change his mind,” she said. I turned to see where his brother wandered off to when I heard:

“Mommy, will these hurt my weiner and balls?!”

I turned to look. C.J. was standing about six feet away from me, in plain view of the entire line and holding up a package of Little Mermaid underwear.

C.J.’s brother returned to my side quickly, mortified.

I waved C.J. over because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I waved him over quicker. He interpreted my wave to mean, “I can’t hear you.”

“I SAID, WILL THESE HURT MY WEINER AND BALLS?!” he inquired even louder.

I was sweating and blushing and reminding myself that the whole scene would be funny eventually.

Everyone in front of me in line turned around and stared at me. C.J. was still standing by the cash register holding the package of Little Mermaid panties high above his head and waving them.

I shook my head “yes” ever-so-slightly and smiled. And, suddenly, I felt like I knew nothing about wearing underwear or raising children or standing in line.

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