Saturday, January 28, 2006

SO DADDY, WILL YOU DANCE WITH YOUR SON?

Walking through Kensington Market today stinkapee, darkdaughta and I were walking along, and it was a good day. It was an exciting day...hell it was 12C and January (or for you Americans reading this (50F). Music was on, people were shopping and the sun was shining. Anyway, we were relaxed and taking in the air and I thought of an earlier time, last summer when it was just stinkapee and I walking through the busy, electic market.
That time we stopped in front of a cafe, where a band was playing and stinkapee wanted to dance. Without hesistating, I took her up on it. We swirled and laughed and sang and played, and generally had a great time. People around us liked our dosplay of emotion/closeness.
When I got home, I relayed the great time to darkdaughta and she was happy stinkapee and I had a good time out. She then invited me to think about what was going on for me when I was dancing with stinkapee. I was like: What do you mean, "what's going on for me?"

I always tell darkdaughta that one of the reasons I love her so much is that she challenges me to think and to grow, and that's woven into her love. In fact, much if not all of our relationship is built around continual growth and challenging / discovering / each other. Some might say this is basically: "living against the grain". Curious about darkdaughta? visit her blog by clicking here. Anyway, she said to me: well, we are gonna have more kids, and so, what would happen if you had a boy child. Would you be so quick to up and dance with your son?

I gave her one of those.. "wow.. that is something to think about" answers. I certainly saw what she was talking about, and of course knew that not dancing with my son would be off. But, I'm here to talk, not theorize, about how I feel.

So, thinking about my childhood, what men do, what I believe men/father's do...
Here are my thougths... "what will this teach the boy child?" dancing in the street - with his father... I surely didn't get this when I was small and with my dad. What does quality time mean for a Black man/ a Black man with a child/ a Black boy child. What does it really mean? Does it mean making sure he knows about sport? Does it mean making sure he knows his Black history or all the "great men" who invented this and created that... Does it mean .. I'll stop asking these questions now.

Just the fact that I'm writing a piece about "dancing with my son" means how fucc'd up my head is with masculinity and patriarchal ideals that have been railroaded into my head over the course of my life... god, I'm almost 30. There is a climate right now that has Black men performing such a heightened masculine existence, that when i wear anything outside of the current hiphop uniform, I can feel eyes on me like: "ok, what's he doing?"

Watching hiphop videos from the early/mid eighties, I can see the men wearing colours, tights, flares, whatever.. and make no mistake, I'm not saying that those artists where progressive, or questioning their own masculinity, but it certainly wasn't like today's climate/ society which basically means wearing Black or some non-coloured clothing as a requirement of being manly in Black culture. "Wouldn't wanted to be precieved as ... wait for it... GAY!

I'm being coy here but you know what, that is what goes through my mind. I've had lots of time to (all of my childhood/ teen years/ early adulthood) to ...
I know like like well .. in what i grew up with. The above observation was brought to my attention after I was commenting on music videos today and their aesthetic.

Maybe what I need to do is ask what it means for me. I have questions in my head like, who am I do be raising a boy child?

1 comment:

jeff said...

"I always tell darkdaughta that one of the reasons I love her so much is that she challenges me to think and to grow, and that's woven into her love."
This brings so much joy for me, I can't even tell you. I think that it's rare for men to acknowledge how others in their lives (especially significant others who are women) challenge them to grow. There's a lot of talk of challenges of the world in general, of the challenge (confrontational) that other men pose to men and the like, but very little talk about how men and women interacting can help one to grow. Hell, there's very little talk about men and growth that's not tongue in cheek.

I also think that the very fact that you're thinking about masculinity and the like as regards a possible son means that your kid(s) have a better dad than most. That doesn't solve anything or answer any of the questions you pose, but hopefully you give yourself lots of credit (and credit to darkdaughta!) for just thinking about this stuff.

I've got no great answers to most of what you're talking about here, unfortunately, except that we, as men, continue to encourage ourselves and other men to think about what it means to be a man, and what it means to raise boys in a patriarchal culture.