A case of man versus manicure

We let Summerly stay up for an extra thirty minutes one night last week to watch some coverage of the Olympics in hopes that swimming would be featured live, but track and field events were happening instead. Earlier in the day, we’d marveled at the physical beauty of a few of the divers (Jennifer Abel, I’m looking at you!), and so when the camera fell upon Sydney McLaughlin, who is so stunning it’s difficult to believe that she’s a real human, I almost fell out of my chair even though I wasn’t even sitting down. That’s how much of a knockout she is, visually at least, and I couldn’t help remarking, “Wow! Yet another beautiful person!”

Summerly replied in that drily adult way she has sometimes, but I didn’t hear what she’d said and so asked her to repeat it. Brian, who was sitting with her on the sofa, responded, “She said, ‘You should see the males!'”

“She did?!” I exclaimed, thinking that this was hilarious but also surprising because I’d never heard her remark on a male person’s attraction factor, though many times she’d pointed out girls or female characters in books or movies whom she found pretty. I’m careful when discussing physical beauty with the kids, making sure to include all shapes and sizes and races and abilities when I remark on peoples’ pleasant appearances, taking advantage of the opportunity to practice inclusion whenever possible (it’s not just the Jennifer Abels and Sydney McLaughlins of the world that garner praise), so I felt a little dismayed that that my daughter’s first commentary about liking what she saw when referring to maleness was about a bunch of Olympic track-and-field athletes whose full-time job it was to be in the kind of physical shape that’s basically impossible for a large majority of Earth’s people. I was kind of hoping that her first expression along these lines would be about how she thought a scrawny boy named Rishi with prominently positioned ears, a lisp, and a smatter of acne was cute. “No, I didn’t, Daddy!” she rebutted in a tone of self-righteous rebuke upon hearing what he’d thought she said. “I said, ‘You should see her NAILS!”

Phew. There’s still hope for Rishi and his ears after all.

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