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.

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7 thoughts on “Complicit in the Obscene

  1. Um, meet my son, “Farrahd” …? :) I would have been indignant also. I also would have quietly steamed and bought an overpriced shirt.

    We’ve always treated this as a sun-protection thing when outside, and a warmth thing inside water parks. As in those are the true reasons you would cover yourself up. Also good for us, is that so far, little sister always wanted shorts and a shirt that matched big brother’s. Compliance without body-shaming. Or discussion of who has milks and who doesn’t.

    Sigh. Bringing this stuff home early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I def considered saying she a boy, but briefly and too late. Body-shaming! Yes! That’s the term I was looking for. It’s one thing for Kris and I to be exposed but it was a direct punch-to-the-gut as it tried to crawl into my five-year-old’s brain.


  2. You’re absolutely right; more often than not, if you can’t explain it to a five-year-old it’s either too complicated for no good reason, or a just plain stupid rule :-(


  3. Good morning. just a quick note from the resort (I am the CMO) that although we do have a set of rules in place at the park, I completely agree with your thinking here and this has initiated a broader conversation that will result in an updating of our policies. I do appreciate your thoughts (as my daughters were not so long ago 5 as well…:). And yours are beautiful, beautiful kids. I hope you give us another try.

    Steve Wright
    Jay Peak Resort.


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