Wait until you see my dance, Ben said to me when I returned home tonight. His new CD, by Fergie had come in the mail.
Yes, it’s very good. Maybe even explicit.
Ben loves anything labeled explicit. He has no idea what it means or why we insist he doesn’t have these things at the age of eleven. We can’t, however, control what he sees at friend’s houses. I know at one house, he is watching MTV.
Walter has sat with Ben while he watched music videos.
I have sat with Ben while he watched music videos.
And we talk about it. What is she doing? I have asked of a young woman grinding away on the top of a piano singing about adultery.
I dunno, is usually his answer.
That’s boring. I mean, that’s all she can do is flaunt her body? Where’s the story? How does it relate to the song? I don’t get it.
Over and over, we talk about the images, what it says about the woman, what it says about the man, what roles they are playing and what reality is. We talk about anorexia. We talk about peer pressure. Body image. And it doesn't just come from his hysterical, feminist mother, but from Walter, too.
I would prefer Ben was not eleven going on twenty-six. I would prefer he did not watch music videos until he was old enough to understand the sexuality being shown. I am not a fool, though. I know he will see these images. I’d rather be the one to explain them.
Once, last summer, we took the dog on a walk. Ben asked for the Sims game- the ‘mature’ one, he said.
Why, I asked, do you want to see that?
I dunno, he said, nervously laughing.
Ben, do you want to have sex?
NO! He responded quickly.
Then games like that are for when you are older. When you are ready for that.
Yeah, but… the kid stuff is dumb.
Maybe with that game but not others. Try not to be in such a hurry, Ben. Just be your age, do things that are right for your age. Before you know it? You’ll be old enough for the adult version of the Sims.
We continued to talk about what he was ready for. Maybe holding hands, he said.
That’s pretty cool, I said. It’s neat to start having new feelings. Kind of confusing, but fun, too.
At the time, I felt like I had stopped the rush forward to experience beyond his understanding and maturity level.
After hearing the description of the Fergalicious dance moves? I think it’s time for another discussion.