Playing Wingman to a Two-Year OldJoel Stein
My son likes hot chicks.
This makes no sense, since he’s two. He’s only recently lit upon the first use of his penis; he’s going to be entranced by the urine-functionality for many years. Right now the attractiveness of women should be up there on his list of concerns next to which years were good for Bordeaux.
But Laszlo becomes a different guy around pretty women. He’s normally a shy kid who looks away during a conversation, but at a restaurant he’ll stare three tables away at a beautiful woman and smile confidently. It’s like he inherited my genes and then was bit by a radioactive Neil Strauss.
On a plane, as we were changing the diaper he peed in, he stood up, stared at the two women behind us, smiled broadly, pointed behind him and used this pickup line: “There’s poop in there!” It worked. And it wasn’t even true. That’s how good a flirter he is.
I assumed this was happening because I subconsciously lead him toward good-looking women. Maybe that’s due to a father’s twisted pride at how heterosexual his son is. Or I figured, worse yet, maybe I’m using his adorableness to talk to hotter women than I would otherwise be able to. Admittedly, for the first eight months of his life I considered taking him to a strip club partly because I figured I’d get extra attention and partly because I thought he’d think it was a the most wonderful buffet he’d ever seen.
But I’m pretty sure I’m not the cause of his lookism. Because his flirtations are only causing me trouble. Cassandra is always catching me chatting to some threatening woman, and I have to unconvincingly point to a two-year-old holding a Winnie The Pooh stuffed animal and say, “He thinks she’s hot! Not me!”
Plus it’s awkward. I was eating a meal with Cassandra, her parents and Laszlo when I had to retrieve our son from the table next to us. At which point, the dad of this other family said, “He has good taste. She was the queen of the Rose Parade.” I then had to get in a conversation with some dad about how attractive his 17-year-old daughter is — in front of her. And, worse yet, in front of my wife’s parents. It’s so much easier when Laszlo stares at garbage trucks.
I also don’t think it’s my fault because Laszlo has totally different taste than I do. He prefers brunettes and leans toward a cute, wholesome, CW-network bounciness, whereas my eclectic, sophisticated notion of beauty is difficult to describe, though many people simplify it with the word “whore.”
Though a few weeks ago, when I was grabbing something from my the desk in my office, Laszlo reached in and pulled out an old porn DVD, pointed to my computer and said, “Put that in.” I quickly offered him a DVD of a car race instead, but he said, “No! That one!” I distracted him and took him out of my office because I didn’t want him asking a lot of questions. Like why he can’t walk around naked all the time with just his shoes on.
I think the answer is simpler. Laszlo likes hot chicks because of what psychology professor Catherine Salmon calls the “general heuristic that things that are attractive are healthy and good and smart.” It’s why he likes shiny toys and expensive cars and me.
When I was growing up in the 1970s, I was taught that all my predilections were social constructs built by the patriarchy. But Laszlo came pre-programmed with his Low Rider aesthetics. Society’s job, and mine, is to teach him to see a little deeper. And if he can’t, to at least keep it hidden a little deeper in his desk drawer.