Complicit in the Obscene
We took a three-day trip to Jay Peak, Vermont last week. Our first day at the water park, within the first five minutes, a lifeguard approached me and said I had to put a shirt on Farrah Star. My two-year-old daughter couldn’t be “topless” in their facility.
Today Arlo, Farrah and I were talking about going to a friend’s pool party and Arlo said to Farrah, “Better remember your shirt!”
I told him no, she didn’t need one, that was a rule only at the water park. Confusion spread across his face and I had to explain how breasts have to be covered up in some public places. Looking at me and then looking at her, dots connecting, he replied, “But Farrah doesn’t have milks. She’s not a momma!”
And that is how I had to explain to my five-year-old that his two-year-old sister’s chest is something to be covered. Something obscene. That there’s something wrong with Farrah even though she is perfect in his eyes. But fuck that. I refuse to plant those seeds so I just steered the topic toward following rules, a concept more true to his heart and age.
Had we not already paid the fee it’s possible we would have left the water park; Kris was even more indignant than I. Had we any other plans, had we not already had done the drive, unpacked and most importantly, had the kids not already seen this water wonderland, we would have refused complicity in our two-year-old’s obscenity. Instead I went to the gift shop and bought an overpriced, undersized tee-shirt and enjoyed the rest of our time together.
In trying to navigate my way around this conversation today it occurred to me that every rule should first be explained to a five-year-old. If he doesn’t understand it, then maybe it has no merit.
Jay Peak, your beautiful and convenient location will likely bring us back, but we’ll be carrying a hint of chlorine in our hearts.