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An Open Letter To Certain Random Strangers At The Grocery Store

CC: That Other Random Stranger at Target, and Home Depot, and that Mexican restaurant with the good sangria, and the playground, AND WHY DO I KEEP RUNNING INTO YOU, RANDOM STRANGER?

Yes! I have three children. Yes! They are all boys.

Yes! That does, in fact, mean I have three boys. Wow, you’re really good at math.

Yes, yes, this makes me doomed/outnumbered/lucky/SOMETHING that apparently I wouldn’t be if my offspring were not all male, or at least, that’s what I’ve heard. Repeatedly.

No, I actually don’t know if we’re going to “try again” for a girl, since that infers that we “tried” for a girl already, when really, each time I was just trying to have a baby. And look! Success! I imagine, going forward, we will simply make a final decision about having/not having any more babies, period, as opposed for “trying” specifically for an alternate set of genitalia.

And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about this casual use of the word “try,” coming from a total stranger, right here next to the cantaloupes that nobody is buying: You are essentially inquiring if my husband and I have any future plans to have more unprotected sex, and I find that a little intr…

Wait, what? Uh, yeah, actually I’d rather not tell you whether or not my husband plans to get “snipped.” I feel like this conversation is veering into a weirdly overpersonal dir…

Hmm? Wow, that’s really interesting about your friend/cousin/neighbor who kept trying to have a girl and ended up with seven boys. I feel like a LOT of people I’ve met recently seem to be friends with her too, though last I heard, she was up to nine boys. All of whom I’m sure are thrilled to be part of some Foolish Mother Gets What She Deserves By Way Of A Baseball Team’s Worth Of Boy Children urban legend.

Hmm? Yes, yes, I’ve also heard the one about your roommate/aunt/coworker who finally did have a girl after three/seven/nine boys, only to have the girl be a total tomboy. Again, I’m still trying to figure out the motivation behind this cautionary tale, especially since I’ve already told you we weren’t “trying” for girls, in particular some specific “right kind of girl” and we are quite happy with our boys and…

Oh, right. Yes. This conversation wouldn’t be complete without a handful of sweeping generalizations about which is “easier:” boys or girls. Boys are wild and destructive but take care of their mothers, while girls be all crazy with the hormones and the teenageriness and I’m going to start walking away now before you say the part about boys meaning no worries about teen pregnancy AS IF having boys excuses me from that issue altogether and will require no conversation or guidance on my part to raise responsible young men who respect women and OH NEVER MIND TOO LATE YOU SAID IT.

You know, I’d say we probably should talk about your small-talk skills, and how quickly idle banter can go off the rails and straight into a gender stereotyping wormhole, but I know you mean well, and are just trying to be friendly, and besides, two of my three children are sword-fighting with boxes of aluminum foil and are about to knock over a display of tortilla chips.

Because boys, right? I know.

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