Help needed: how do I answer this question?

“Mum, what does sexy mean?”


So we’re driving along – me and my 6yo daughter – and that Nicki Minaj song ‘Pound The Alarm’ comes on the radio.

I’m having a bit of a Nicki moment. Her music is fun and I like to rock out in the car because these days it’s pretty much my only opportunity to do so.

I digress.

Some of the lyrics in ‘Pound The Alarm’ – like pretty much every song written since 1980 – include the words “sexy & hotter”.

If you have kids or can remember being one, you can guess what came next. My daughter pipes up from the backseat: “Mum, what does sexy mean?”

My first response in these situtations is always the same: stall.

“Um, sexy is an adult word. What do you think it means?”

“I don’t know but Sophie and Emma always say that Lady Gaga is sexy. What does it mean?”

The wheels spun frantically in my head and the sound of a drumroll echoed in my ears the way it always does when I’m asked one of those questions that feels supremely important and that my child’s entire future depends on me giving the right answer.

Yep. Just that. No pressure. NO PRESSSSSURE.

“Darling, you know what? I’m going to have a think about how to explain it and get back to you.”

This may have been the most triumphant moment of my parenting career so far. The idea that I can go away and think about an answer instead of having to give it on the spot like a pop quiz, has been revolutionary and only occurred to me at that very moment yesterday while I was driving.

So here I am. Asking for some advice. How do you describe ‘sexy’ to a 6-year-old? Because she’s waiting for an answer.

And let’s open it up – if you have any other stories about awkward kid questions you’ve had to answer or any questions you are worried about being asked in the future, leave a comment! And if you have experience or wisdom or helpful suggestions to offer, reply to the comments of other readers.

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