Parents worry that their kids will say something inappropriate to or in front of another adult. Well, the table was turned on me this weekend. One of my most colorful aunts, H, came to town to help a great-aunt celebrate her 100th birthday.
Aunt H is one of my favorites. She helped my mom drive me to college three hours from home, and she made the dress I wore at my wedding reception. She is funny, smart, and good-hearted. At 57, she’s a grandmother and still very much young in spirit. In exchange for some big favor that I can’t remember now (there have been quite a few), she made me promise to buy her a pair of red leather thigh-high boots. Keep in mind that we grew up in the same small SC town where I remember hearing that red shoes are for clowns and prostitutes, and I believed this until I was a grown, married woman. To this day, I think I’d be embarrassed to walk into a store and ask for thigh-high boots of any color. I still haven’t gotten Aunt H the boots, and she hasn’t asked in a few years, so I think I’m off the hook. The point is that I am a bit of a prude compared to Aunt H.
I completely walked into this one when I asked her during dinner about a male acquaintance to whom she introduced me last November. Things ended on a bad note with him sending her mean text messages. If I were smart, I would have started redirecting the conversation right then. Aunt H told me that in one of the texts, he said, “I’m glad I didn’t bone you.” Fortunately, Mae had finished eating and left the table. However, Jay was still eating (or playing and eating, as it were) right.across.from.Aunt.H. I think I froze a little, or maybe I looked shocked or something. Whatever it was Aunt H saw on my face possessed her to ask me, “Do you know what boning means?” (Emphasis in original.) I checked Jay’s face — no hint of interest in the conversation. Phew. I try to avoid comparing my kids, but, that was a moment when I was sooo glad that he is sooo different from his sister. When she was four, she would have been in the conversation wanted or not and all over that question.
For the record, I do know what “boning” means. I did learn something new from the conversation. One way to scare off a romantic interest (and maybe it would work for anyone that you want to leave you alone), is to tell him that you’re going to bury his clothes in a graveyard. The implication is that you’re going to “work roots” on the person and bring about their death or some hardship. I laughed hard when Aunt H told me that his text messages stopped after she sent that response, but I also felt a little chill too.
For the rest of the weekend, I was a teeny-tiny bit on guard when the kids were around. They would not have been ruined. Prudishness aside, I would prefer not to have to explain certain words or concepts any sooner than I have to do so. I have a little space carved out for myself in Avoidance and Denial, and I like it here.