Because I try to think forward, and because I’m a pretty firm believer that the only differences between males and females besides anatomy are the results of environmental and social conditioning, it still — STILL — shocks me to the core when people assume I want a boy. Or say they hope I have a boy. Or post on my Facebook page that they’ll keep their fingers crossed for a boy. Or list all the reasons why having a boy is preferable to having a girl, not one of which I can hold in my head long enough to make any sense out of it.
Seriously? It’s 2012. I just … I can’ t…
The worst such encounter I’ve had to date was at the little pizza place near my house, which, you can imagine, I’ve been frequenting quite a bit lately. The owner knows us, knows our number when it pops up on his caller ID, and at this point, knows I want a large with mushrooms.
So we told him about my pregnancy and he was, as everyone as been, very happy for us.
“I’ll pray for a boy,” he said, winking at me.
I decided not to be outwardly irritated at this by-now-cliche comment. I like this guy. And he’s in control of my pizza. Be nice.
“Oh, come on now, girls are cool, too,” I said, laughing it off.
“No,” he said.
Just like that. No. No, girls are not cool, too. (Nevermind that, you know, I AM one.)
“Free pizza if you have a boy,” he added with a big grin.
Be. Nice. Stacia.
“So, free pizza if I have a boy, but not if I have a girl?” I asked, just to clarify.
“Nothing for a girl!” he boomed.
I can’t make this stuff up. That is what the mean pizza man said.
In the car on the short drive home, Jon (sort of) consoled, “People always say they want a boy, but no one’s disappointed when it turns out to be a girl.” I’d have responded, but I was too upset.
Plus, I already had half a piece of pizza in my mouth.
I want to know why. Why do people “always want a boy” before they find out it’s a girl? While I acknowledge that it can be rough to be female in this world, I have a hard time believing that someone who flatly says “No,” in response to my “Girls are cool, too,” comment has the heart to be concerned about pay inequity, erosion of reproductive and medical privacy rights, negative images of women in pop culture and media, the statistics on domestic and sexual abuse, and so on.
And don’t tell me it’s about carrying on the family name, either. Think about it. If the surname is at issue, then why would parents of pregnant daughters care? (OK, my dad cares because he still wants his own baseball team, but my dad is a special guy.) We live in a modern world (don’t we?): not all pregnant women are married, not all married women change their surnames and not all children are automatically given their fathers’ surnames. There is no “should” here; it’s a personal choice. Besides, what’s in a name, anyway? Isn’t carrying on the family DNA, traits, stories, memories, etc., much more of a legacy than a name that can be legally changed for a pittance and a trip to the courthouse?
And FYI, girls have DNA, too.
My anatomical ultrasound, at which time they can determine sex if the baby cooperates and smiles for the camera, so to speak, is scheduled for Sept. 10. If my doc says girl, I will, in addition to being thrilled, return to the pizza place, proclaim that I’m having a boy and get my free pizza. When my daughter pops out (they just pop on out, right? Easy, breezy?) and my little family goes back for pizza, I’ll say my doc made a mistake.
Not my body, or the cosmos, but my doc. Oops!
And then, I’ll force the owner to look at my daughter and tell me she’s not worth a free large with mushrooms.