Monday, April 20, 2009

“My Son Wears Tights”—Good for Him! & “Too Old to Run?”—Absolutely Not!

A surprising (to me) number of people land on my website from the above queries, so I thought I’d make it easier by putting the answers to them right up there in the title. To expand:

Re: tights on boys. It makes me a little sad that anyone would feel the need to question this. Yes, my son wears colorful tights. This usually delights people, perhaps as seeing a court jester might. He is occasionally mocked for them by other kids. This concerns him not a bit, which makes me think that I do not need to worry much about him either being bullied or bowing to peer pressure. (Whether he will be pushing others to do the designer drugs of the 2020s remains to be seen. Some of the boys in his class have asked him if he could bring them some tights, too.) Wearing tights does not appear to be a sign of wishing to be a girl for my son, but if it were, I know that there would be nothing I could do about it except try to smooth his path to adulthood. I recently witnessed an 18 month old boy who was reaching for a doll be chastised by his mother because “that’s for girls! You’re a boy!” I guess I’m sheltered in my liberal world, but I didn’t realize this kind of thing still went on. Don’t people know that you can’t influence this stuff? That you’re only inducing shame?

Re: too old to run? If this guy can do it, you can too. (I surreptitiously snapped him when I was out running with my phone.) (No, I don’t ordinarily run with my phone. I was on call.) Most of the queries I see are from 50-somethings. All of my advice applies to everyone of any age, and anyway, 50-something is very young. Go to it, elderly maggots. (But maybe don’t do any triathlons.)

(Sorry, felt the need to rant. Strollers soon.)

40 comments:

Zombie Mom said...

Never too old! My dad and I run a half marathon a year together (at least one) he is in his mid-7o's. We started the tradition after his 70th birthday and a minor stroke. He was recovering from that and I from a crushed nerve root c5. So together we are old and were infirm.

We train on opposite sides of the country and then race together.

He totally INSPIRES me! And he kicks ass running some great times! December- we are running Death Valley together. We are both in amazing shape now and went from fat to fit with lean body masses.

We started slow and just kept at it.

You cannot believe how much support we get from our PCPs and other providers on our wacky running ventures!

Anonymous said...

Tights are cool! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Maybe a little hot for August, but hey, it's your choice.

AmyM

Orange said...

A man who went to my alma mater, Hal Higdon, is in 77 and active in marathon training programs. He celebrated turning 70 by running 7 marathons in 7 months, raising over $900,000 in the process. For his 60th, he ran 6 marathons in 6 weeks. For 80, he hopes to finish 8 in 8 years.

So yes, I think a 50-something person can do some low-key running, all right.

townmouse said...

I think the boy/girl thing is getting worse if anything. When I was growing up in the 70s it was all about equality and I could have the toys (action man) and the haircut (no2 crop) I wanted. Now it's a strong minded little girl who doesn't end up going down the pink fairy princess road. I even read about some poor tomboy who was being sent for counselling by her mother... OK, there are probably ineradicable differences between men and women in the main but that doesn't mean there's any call to reinforce stereotypes from birth. Here's hoping your boy and his tights are helping turn back the tide!

Erin said...

I am still appalled that people think that clothing and toys mean a child has gender confusion. My boys have several baby dolls. They love on them: changing their clothes, cuddling them close, feed them pretend food, and pretend to soothe them. (Then they throw them down the stairs and claim that "The babies wanted to jump!" But for all I know, a girl would do the same thing.)

My oldest (5 1/2) is growing his hair long. He wants it as long as it will grow. My grandmother believes people will see him as gay because he is quite pretty and has long hair. My response was pretty much "And....?" She didn't really have an answer for that one. I just found it such a bizarre connection to make--that hair length is a sign of sexual preference...and I have to wonder what she thinks of my BIL, whose hair is longer than mine.

Good for HB for being so secure in his love of tights that he doesn't care what others think!

Anonymous said...

I not long ago took the deposition of Seattle's best hand surgeon, John Sack. After the dep, we chatted about age, injury, and running. He told me that he had a fracture (sompeplace in his spine) a few years ago and "ran 5 miles this morning." He appears to be in his 60s. -victoria

Anonymous said...

I'm sixty, I've been running since I was twenty-eight, and I intend to keep running until I can't stand up unaided any longer --- say along about 110? In 2002 I trained to run a half marathon, but my knee started to protest after I got up to about ten miles and I had to forego it. I've been taking classes in Iyengar yoga since then, though, and my legs are stronger, so I may think about giving it another shot.

I love it that HB hasn't been intimidated by kids mocking his tights. And I'm sad that my six-year-old grandson, who had two dolls that he played with (both cuddling and throwing around) until he was at least four, now tells me he "hates" dolls, that "dolls are for girls." He seems way too young to have already started to take on the boy/girl dichotomy.

Jessie

jbondsgirl said...

Go dude go! That is awesome. Secretly (okay, I guess not so secretly as of now) I am scared to death of running. It makes me feel awful, I've tried a hundred times and failed and I really think it's something I just can't do. Your maggot talks always make me want to try again but then I wimp out and think "ehhhh, maybe tomorrow." The whole thing makes me feel pathetic.

HB looks awesome in those tights. Rock on, buddy.

xo
Flicka

Anonymous said...

if people here are thinking abut gender expression and gender identity in kids they should check out "The Transgender Child" (Stephanie Brill) which addresses issues not just around very trans-identified young children, but the wide and normal range of variation in gender identities in kids (and by logical extension, the adults we grow into!)

kids are rarely, if ever, are "confused" about their own gender identities. rather, confusion can result in families, schools, other communities when a child's gender identity and/or preferred presentation does not align with expectations that follow when others happen to know their physical sex.

Vicky P said...

I remember running the Dublin Marathon waaaay back in 1999 and my two main goals were to beat the guy on the stilts (easy) and the 60+ year old in wellies... passed him at about 10 miles... thank goodness.

Paula said...

I swear MY 6 year old son has a headband that will coordinate beautifully with those tights! HB is adorable!

DrSpouse said...

It is actually pretty common for children (aged 2-3 or so) to think that they can change genders, and that when they grow up they will be a boy instead of a girl. Most parents don't know this and are pretty freaked out - and, I would imagine, if they think it's bad, they would take away the doll/truck/tutu. This confusion doesn't persist though, obviously!

elizasmom said...

To add to your never-too-old files:

I went to watch the Boston Marathon yesterday to cheer on my almost-61-year-old mom, who beat 4 hours. She STARTED marathoning in her 50s.

One of the people I saw as I was waiting for her was a guy, maybe in his late 60s, running while pulling a cart containing his oxygen tanks.

Oh, here, I think I found him: http://breathinstephen.com/2009/02/22/mike-mc-bride/

E. said...

I love HB and his tights. I've begun dressing my 18-month-old daughter in loose pants every time I want to put her in one of her cute dresses because I can't stand wrestling tights on and off her every time I want to change her diaper. But other than that, I think tights are awesome, especially on a boy because they're unexpected and quite cute with the shorts. Yay for unabashed individualism.

I love that you took a picture of that old dude out running. You are a committed purveyor of truth via blog. He should do some yoga, too, in addition to his running. It might help with the stoop in his back.

ozma said...

Oh sorry! I think I asked you that question. But only because of this gender bending phenomenon that I have discovered happens in a lot of young kids.

It really makes me see how people are right that it's a very arbitrary thing--what girls are like and what boys are like. Not biological. Not that there isn't some kind of connection to the brain...but it's very open ended.

Parents really enforce it big time. Even liberal parents...I won't go into how they do, but I can explain this if you are interested.

Still, it is SO nice to be in the little liberal bubble where kids get to do their thing and boys can play with dolls. As far as doing unusual stuff, though there is HUGE anxiety about boys doing it and very little about girls. So I have to say that it's good you are cool with the tights because parents get very freaked about their boys.

Lesley said...

I love the tights. My son at that age wore an aqua sparkly Ariel princess sweatshirt and a pair of tap shoes, a LOT - and both were handed down to him from another little boy.

He's ten now, and a neat kid. He has a Barbie plane bought with his own money at a garage sale, and in it play happily together the Bratz dolls, the Transformers, and the X-men, lit with a little lightbulb scotch-taped to a battery.

He wants to be an inventor. On the other hand, I heard him say the other day (about an actress on TV), "That's a really ugly shirt. It doesn't match her face."

Who knows? Interesting kid.

When I was his age, I was climbing trees and catching lizards.

Anonymous said...

The mental image of HB happily taking a drag on an imaginary cigarette in front of a no smoking sign has made me smile every time I think of it. The additional image of the lawful HB in a police hat makes it even funnier. E.L.

Steve N. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DoctorMama said...

(The above included a sales pitch, and I delete those on principle.)

Anonymous said...

your son very cute
tights (pantyhose) not for only girls now is unisex product

Jennifer Bedingfield said...

Hi DoctorMama,

God bless your son and nice tights. In fact, it was men who wore tights first up until the 19th century and then by the 20th century, the gender flipped. I too am for giving males the right to wear nylons and not feel bad about it. It's time for society to tear down the gender wall on fashion. :)

Steve N. said...

It's unfortunate that you couldn't distinguish genuine support for your son's wearing tights from whom I work for. Although affiliated with a company, my blogsite is intended as a forum for support of men who wear legwear (tights, sheer hosiery...).

I hope this doesn't mean I was wrong when I commented that at least this is one issue on which at least some liberals and conservatives can agree on. Please note that I did not mention the name of my company this time, or my blog. On mine, I included a link to your blog because I thought it was interesting. Too bad you could not extend the same courtesy by not deleting my post.

Ranjit said...

You're a wonderful mother to show not only tolerance but actual praise for your son's courage. My parents weren't even remotely lenient when I tried on some tights as a teenager. In fact, I had to go through some hoops just to get me a pair. When my parents found out, they raised a hell about it and my sister also humiliated me about it. But that was more than 15 years ago. Thanks to Steve Newman and others, I'm finally able to muster some courage to not only wear tights but to actually communicate better with women so that I might finally get married and not be a loser. You are lucky that your son has tolerant boys in his class who even want to try out some tights as well. Most of us boys and men do not share your son's fortune. It's not that you are sheltered in your liberal world. It is the fact that society is generally intolerant for harmless change. What needs to happen is that we all need to unite for societal tolerance and not play the religious and/or political divide wars.

Ranjit said...

Hi Steve N. I know you very well and I got to say thank you a lot for leading me the way in getting me out of my stupid fetish problem. I think doctormama will understand you once she sees your blog and maybe even apologize for the misunderstanding but that's her call. You two are cool and need to unite if our brothers, fathers, and sons are going to be free of cultural persecution just because they wear tights. Wearing tights is not a privilege for only males who are superheros. Wearing tights is a HUMAN RIGHT for all men and women.

FrederickJohnson said...

"Wearing tights is a HUMAN RIGHT for all men and women."

I don't know about it being a human right per say but yeah, society has to grow up and quit making fun of males in tights. I wished I lived in the same lucky neighborhood as doctormama because in my neighborhood, a boy would get abused at for wearing nylons openly since he would be mistaken as "gay" or "fag" or whatever hate name.

DoctorMama said...

Nothing personal at all, Steve, and I much appreciate your comments; it's just sometimes hard to differentiate the spam/sales pitches from the real comments, and so I err on the side of taking out the ones that ask readers to visit a site that appears to be the commenter trying to sell anything. But if someone leaves a witty/interesting comment with the link in their name, a really interested reader will track it down anyway, which is perfectly cool with me.

I also delete any comments that risk revealing my location/identity -- you know who you are, SB!

Those are the only things I delete; I don't delete critical comments, fyi.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, no offense taken -- I should have really posted that as an anonymous comment.

Wonder if I'll ever run into you on the path!

SB

Harold Thomas said...

I agree with the posters about your son's tights. I was fascinated by them as a child, but it was unthinkable for a boy in those days.

I don't think it makes him look the least bit effeminate, just as I don't think men wearing hose or tights look effeminate when they are otherwise dressed conventionally. (Disclaimer: I do wear hose under shorts in public in warm weather. Second disclaimer: I know Steve personally, but he didn't know I was writing this).

The compression does help prevent leg aching and restlessness, and frankly, on older men, it is an esthetic improvement over bare legs. (A couple of years ago, I saw a man in his 80s wearing black sheers under white shorts -- and it looked great!)

I hope your son keeps it up -- and will look forward to pictures when he's about 15. :)

Morgan said...

I am expecting my first child in August and I have to say that it has been EXTREMELY hard to find "neutral" clothing (we don't know the gender.) Everything is either extremely girlie or extremely boyish. It is frustrating beyond measure!!!

DoctorMama said...

Morgan -- Zutano! Just find them on sale. They run really small, fyi.

Carla Waters said...

Morgan,

Part of the problem is that our society has become way too capitalist to the point of killing choices. Gender-neutral clothing would be one of the ways to overcome the gender divide which the capitalists do not want. It is completely sad that our only venue is online sales and even there it can get expensive and lots of out-of-stock hell. It's often easier said than done to "just find them on sale". The people's market has been long privatized and this needs to be stopped first.

On the issue of tights for boys, when retail stores can sell various shades of pink shirts, pink socks, and even men's bikini's, I see no reason to deny tights for guys also. I find it completely embarassing that society is still too gender divided on fashion for the most part. I congradulate DM's son for showing his inner strength.

Steve N. said...

Thanks for the reply, DoctorMamma. I understand what you're saying. No harm done.
Although I now (as of this past March) have a commercial interest in men's tights and hosiery, I've long had a personal interest in advocating for men's legwear in general. Hence, my blog is not only a job--it's truly an adventure!

Mike K. said...

When I was a boy in primary school, the girls wore grey tights with their uniform during winter. I always thought the tights looked so soft, warm and pretty. I longed to wear tights throughout my entire childhood and hinted to my Mom (when I was about 9) that I would like to wear them. Unfortunately she had the opinion that they were sissy and I was too embarrassed to mention it again. Well done on encouraging and supporting your little boy in wearing tights. You are THE BEST MOM!

ferrispaella said...

Well I must say that was completely honest review. I am thinking to buy new running tight but my some friend told me that it can harm out leg muscles. I was wondering is it true??
running tights

Anonymous said...

Re: tights on boys (guys).

I remember that as a pre-adolescent kid I enjoyed pulling my socks up up to my knees (when no one was around), as if they were -- you know -- "hose" !! How shocking! :) Likewise, I always enjoyed the bathing suits that "stuck to me" as one friend described the form-fitting swim suits I liked wearing. The fact that these suits were (and are) quite common and "accepted" didn't affect my brother (or many others of the day) who never ceased trying to make fun of me (or others) who wore such suits -- what a joke!

So yes, I feel the same way about the whole "tights" issue, and find our society is still ridiculous in this regard, as it is in so many other ways. It often makes me wish I grew up in a completely different society that was not insane (as it did when I was younger as well).

What is especially odd is that our
Western history has plenty of instances where Europeans wore tights (and if you include French royalty, high heels as well). Likewise, in the Native American tradition, men wore chokers and earrings in many tribes. And there are many other examples of unisex clothing and hairstyles through many cultures, whether Euro or indigenous etc. etc.

But all that is logic, reason, intelligence etc. of course, and thus is completely irrelevant to most people. God, give me a perfect world, pu-lease!

--signed, Mr. "Weirdo"

Kat said...

Well done you! We are so into boys wearing tights that we now have a company that makes boys tights! Are pilot range is 0-3 but we are increasing that in the next range coming next season!! Who said boys can't wear tights?

Anonymous said...

www.slugsandsnails.ie

Funky boys tights

Sammy J. said...

This is fantastic! My son also wears tights in fact 'Kat' he wears Slugs & Snails tights. A few people mocked me at first but once they seen my little man in them they were in awe. I do not understand why this would concern anyone there is no rule anywhere that tights are for girls. We dont just use them in the summer either before we found Slugs & Snails we used to use any bright coloured tights as leggings they look gorgeous!

john said...

john....I wore tights since i was in a school xmas play at age 7..I've been wearing them ever since.I'm over 50 now..Boys should wear tights freely, like girls do..

Anonymous said...

its time to wear yes but society can't except men wearing. I wear at home openly but when out I wear jeans over don't want to be labeled as gay when I am straight is a shame u have closed minded people. have over 300 pairs of womens hosiery cause more choices of styles and colors