And none quite as inquisitive as my niece, Chatty Carmen. Not only does she chatter a mile a minute ( perhaps a garrulous genetic legacy I shared ), she also asks the most uncomfortable - and frequently inappropriate questions.
Incredibly awkward for us adults.
Though sometimes I find myself astonished by her sheer perspicacity. Possibly a budding Nancy Drew.
Still can't get over how Carmen has managed to suss out something that has confounded half the intelligent, discerning adults I know! Perhaps she's psychic. But just today our aspiring interrogator Carmen came up to ask me why men don't marry men while women marry women?
Carmen : Why don't men marry men and women marry women?
Paul : I have no idea. Did your mom put you up to this?
Carmen : No. Why don't boys marry boys?
Paul : You're preaching to the choir, babe.
Seriously. A loaded question. Out of the mouths of babes.
Really had no idea how such a thing cropped up in her prepubescent lil brain. Perhaps some partially hidden cues between me and Charming Calvin played out in front of her highly-suggestive mind?
Maybe I could get these boys to explain!
Now how do you answer that?
Do I tell her what the religious right have to say? Had a trenchant rant chock-full of biblical hellfire ( with examples based on Leviticus and the Genesis with the wild orgies in Sodom ) ready on my tongue since I've heard quite enough from the homophobic zealots but I stopped myself. Certainly no need to fill her head with such small-minded prejudice when I'm far from proficent in Christian theology myself.
Neither do I see the need to leap onto a gay rights soapbox tirade. How to explain our desperate fight for equal rights to a pint-sized gal?
So there I was cracking my head trying to come up with a suitable metaphor for a kadult of 4 years. Finally came up with the flavours of an ice-cream ( inspired by the infamous oysters and snails argument in Spartacus ) to illustrate the point. Some just like vanilla. Some just like chocolate. And that's all there is to it. Since Chatty Carmen raised no argument, I assume she accepted that fact without demur.
Now if only the other homophobic rednecks would agree quite as readily.
Things were surprisingly simpler way, way back then...
Bet some of the impressionable young'uns would be puzzled by what I meant on the oyster and snails issue... well this is a brief excerpt from the film Spartacus where a lustful Roman master finds himself trying to explain certain habits to his comely new slaveboy.
Marcus : Do you eat oysters?
Antoninus: When I have them, master.
Marcus : Do you eat snails?
Antoninus: No, master.
Marcus : Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral?
Antoninus: No, master.
Marcus : Of course not. It is all a matter of taste, isn't it?
Antoninus: Yes, master.
Marcus : And taste is not the same as appetite, and therefore not a question of morals.
Antoninus: It could be argued so, master.
Marcus : My robe, Antoninus. My taste includes both snails and oysters.
Talk about subtle.