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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  • Sweetbrandigirl2004

    I think you brought this embarrassing situation all on yourself by not approving the princess underwear when you had the chance in the privacy of your own home….IMHO.

  • xander

    “Little Mermaid Panties”?

    SOS: Mom is scaring me.

    Very, very creepy.

  • Conrad Honicker

    I think I’m laughing with you, or at least I hope. So priceless. I love every day moments like this.

    CJ sounds audacious, to say the least. I love it! I think you’re doing a good one with this little one.

    As far as underwear goes, which I guess may be the point of contention, I think it’s reasonable to say they don’t make underwear for boys that have princesses on them. But maybe you can just get some white briefs and fabric markers. I don’t know. Creative solutions to everything!


  • Arkano18

    CJ is a total badass! I hoope you find (or create) him the undies he wants :D

  • Justin

    Such a great story!!! Thank you so much for sharing. And yes, you will find it funny some day.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    Thank you! I haven’t laughed this hard in weeks. Remember this story, and tell it often when he’s an adult.

  • Ste

    totally hilarious. I think you’re doing a wonderful job as a parent. Just keep being open-minded but cautious at the same time and it’ll work out. I’ve been in retail for years and I’ve heard children say and do all sorts of things so in the grand scheme of social things it’ll be forgotten and you’ll enjoy the memory for a giggle. :D

  • nix

    Oh man this lady, god hahaha she can’t seem to think too far ahead.

  • CMObrero

    Agree @Conrad Honicker. He is so audatious, always comes up with something when it’s difficult for you.
    I am not wealthy, in a wide way. Though, I buy fabric and ask a pro tailor friend of mine to make my clothes. It’s not expensive ’cause she does it after her actual job. And I’ve seen princess and Little Mermaid nice fabrics where I buy them in this third world country.
    I have some experiences too with buying white clothes and stamping designs on it.
    Sooo, creative solutions is the best choice. Don’t let down CJ and get him his Little Mermaid male undies please =D

  • Mav

    This is hilarious. Your son has the fashion sense of my three year-old sister, who is also obsessed with The Little Mermaid.

    I say get him whatever undies he wants, but be aware that there is a chance if his male peers find out about them, he will be viciously teased…

  • Thomas Maguire


  • NickadooLA

    I’m sure you’ll find this story most hilarious when he’s 16 and has a date over to meet the family. “Hey, C.J. Do you still want me to buy you those Little Mermaid panties you wanted to wear you when you were younger?!”

  • Eagledancer

    I don’t read this column on a regular basis, although I will admit I enjoy it when I do. I don’t recall the family composition (an older brother is mentioned here) but speaking as a Family Therapist, I find parents (and other adults) often engage a young child at a level of comprehension as an adult rather than as a child. As a result, it’s common when a child asks, “Mommy, where did I come from?” –The parent panics and then launches into a description of “the birds and the bees” after which, the child says, “Well, that’s interesting. But Johnny told me he’s from Atlanta. Where did I come from?”

    Just so, as a general rule, explaining “weiner and balls” makes perfect sense to an adult in explaining a biological male child’s anatomy. But if the child has not seen a young biological female’s anatomy, then using the explanation “boy’s underwear is designed for weiners and balls, and girl’s underwear is not…” doesn’t make any sense at all to the child. Piaget, the famous Swiss psychologist demonstrated that young children are not developmentally capable of always grasping a “cause and effect” argument to begin with.

    As an alternative and creative suggestion, might it be possible to solve both the parent’s and the child’s goals by using the idea some others have suggested–but of combining, say, a Disney Princess–and her Prince and adding them to a set of “gender stereotypical” underwear, since by now, both boys and girls have been indoctrinated to associate a male/female pairing, so the focus of potential ridicule would not be on only seeing a Princess on his underwear?

    By the way–the “wish list” technique is an excellent one–congrats on good parenting skills on that one.

  • unclemike

    I love this series, and I thank Queerty for bringing it to us.

    You rock, C.J.!

  • Joshua

    Lol this is to funny. These are the stories he will be embarrassed by on prom. Too cute!

  • irisgirl

    hilarious! Each time I read a new chapter, I love CJ, his mom, and this Queerty feature even more!

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