I recently received a press release saying,
Although moms appreciate flowers and breakfast-in-bed on their special day, this year Dad should try to spice things up and not be so predictable! Booty Parlor offers items to add some fun to Mother's Day that Mom and Dad can enjoy, together ...
It went on, predictably, to hawk a number of chocolatelike items intended to be smeared on bodies (in bed, mind you) and removed in some fashion other than rigorous showering, heavily scented oils and bath bombs, and something which may or may not have been a vibrator but both image and text were too busy being coy to tell me. How do I loathe the idea of a "sexy" Mother's Day? Let me count the ways.
It isn't just the seXAY-fication of a faux-holiday properly celebrated by the delivery of adorably botched breakfasts made by pride-puffed seven-year-olds to mothers enjoying a morning off from domestic drudgery; it's also that "should" sticking out there like a sore thumb that deserved everything it got: "Dad should ...." Sez who? And who, we may ask, is "Dad," and what is he doing in that sentence? Either he's your dad, who has no place in this scenario, or he's your children's dad, a role that only exists in relation to the people he is "Dad" to. This is not confusing. Imagine a bath that a male parent takes with his children; now think about a bath that a male partner takes with you. Who is your daddy?
While we're counting, whose idea of sexy is this anyway? It's not that it's meant to appeal to a clumsily imagined male sense of what a clumsy male thinks women think is sexy (that really did make sense, I promise, go back and reread if you don't believe me) it's that it's nobody in particular's idea of sexy. It is, as a friend put it, "the sex-related equivalent of the 'festive hot chocolate assortment' you give your coworkers at Christmas."
Do mothers even want sex or "sexiness" for Mother's Day? Some would, sure. Many would welcome a reminder that Beloved Spouse still thinks she's attractive. Fewer would welcome an additional duty ("being sexy") thrust upon them on what promised to be a day off. And yes, I do know how that sounds. As much as I may hate the popular idea of a mom doing pretty much anything to get out of having sex with her hubby, that's exactly the sitcom-ish image this thing gives me. I picture an exhausted, vaguely shrewish, newish mom and a horny, sulky husband who's resorting to ham-handed hinting. "Oh, God," she thinks, "chocolate sex paint and satin undies on a stick. Christ, maybe if I blow him he'll go away and let me sleep late."
Although this ugly picture contains the usual stereotype's tiny ring of truth, we don't need to promulgate it. Parents in this culture hardly need any encouragement to see their roles thus, and I certainly don't intend to promote this vision of connubial unbliss as either inevitable or permanent. I am all for sexy marriage. I had sympathy for author Ayelet Waldman when she got into that ridiculous brouhaha a few years ago when she meant to say that grown-up love and lust, not children, are the heart of a marriage, but she ended up sticking her foot down her throat and gacking up something about how she loves her husband so much she'd throw one of her children in front of a bullet for him. I didn't say I agreed with her, mind, but I did think it was about time somebody spoke up for the hot bond that preexisted the children and, one hopes, will burn on long after the children are on their own. Just not on Mother's Day. I think Mother's Day is a bit silly, but if you're going to celebrate it, it ought to have more to do with the family unit and less to do with dad's. After the family stuff a lovely evening out and copious oral sex, why not?