Cross-dresser

This is our daughter’s doll. His name is Cailin because that’s what his box said. He’s French and wears a fetching shorts playsuit year round, regardless of weather or what any particular event calls for. No black tie, no jacket. Ever.

This policy has started to take its toll on the striped suit and is causing a minor gender issues dilemma.

Let’s start at the beginning. Cailin joined the household – we don’t say he was “bought” because that demeans him – from a local toy store. A nice one too. One of those ones where they have a lot of wood toys that cost $150. The choice was between him and another over-dressed, flouncy version of him, so we went with him. He was sleeker in his cap and suit.

(The hat is a thing of the past. There was no keeping it on him. I’m not clear if this was his choice or A.’s, but the hat has been put in storage for the day when sleeping caps make a comeback among the hipster crowd, and it will be cool again to wear it. Sadly, Cailin did not arrive with a full beard or a fixie. If he had, maybe the cap could have stayed as a fashion-forward ironic statement, but on it’s own, it was just too 1850’s.)

The holidays are coming, and I’m sprucing things up around here, so I washed the… let’s call it a pants suit, shall we? And it looks cleaner but still not very interesting. So I did a minor search for a replacement. Turns out Cailin might have to become a girl. Or a cross-dressing boy.

There are two exceptions to the all-girl outfits available for Cailin: a pair of denim overalls retailing for $64 and an MC Hammer top-bottom combo that, with your eyes crossed at an Iranian night club, might suggest “male” or at least raise some questions about the issue. Given that Cailin himself cost less than $40 (shhhh), $64 seems extreme for some tiny glorified jeans. (I know I will be having this argument with A. herself in not so many years, but let’s save later for later.)

All the other choices are some version of a pink dress. So the question is, will transitioning Cailin to being a girl suddenly undermine A.’s confidence in her ability to distinguish the genders or will it be a nice kickstart to her gaydar? (Which she will not have inherited from her mother by the by. I don’t want to get into it, but I’ve all but been on a date before realizing I was being hit on.) Although cross-dressing doesn’t necessarily mean “gay.” Hoover was a fan of the angora cardigan and he wasn’t gay. Creepy, yes. Gay, no. Eddie Izzard loves the ladies and his high heels. So OK, maybe yeah: Cailin just switches back and forth.

On the other hand, maybe Cailin is transgender. In that case, we would, of course, support his decision to make the shift, and we’d have to ramp up to the new outfits by giving him hormone shots. Which, in turn, would make him really moody and hard to be around for a few months. And then there’s the cost of counseling. Huh. That route is starting to look more expensive than the $64 overalls.

Maybe I’m overthinking this and throwing Cailin into a gender crisis he’s not actually experiencing. Maybe he’s just a boy who wears the same clothes day after day after day and has no sense of style. There are boys like that. In that case, I guess my responsibility as his grandmother extends only to making sure he knows how to do his own laundry. The rest is just a lifestyle choice.

You can see how this gets confusing. What to do, what to do. Parenting is so complicated sometimes.

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