parents

"This time every year, the world is full of men I don't want my son to grow up to be."

By HOLLY WAINWRIGHT

I don’t want to shock you. But. There was a stripper at the Grand Final yesterday.

Not a streaker – the kind of nudity we’re happy to laugh of as harmless hijinks – but a woman apparently paid to take her clothes off for a corporate crowd in a fancy box.

Because those boxes are, you know, see-through (so you can see the FOOTBALL from them), everyone copped an eyeful of Heather McCartney as she lost her Hawthorn garb and flashed the crowd.

I know. Yawn.

All the people in the box, and who own the box, are now scrapping over who paid Heather to undress, but either way. Yawn.

Every year, around this time, the festival of Australian blokeiness reaches an epic, vomiting crescendo in two massive weekends – the AFL Grand Final, and the NRL Grand Final.

And every year we are reminded that no matter how far we’ve come, when it comes to how a certain type of bloke behaves when he is in the company of other certain types of blokes, fuelled by 27 beers and the common cause of football, there’s a large part of the male culture that is just – douchey.

A stripper for the football final seems like a great idea. Ditto getting into a bit of biffo. Dressing up as Rolf Harris with schoolgirls. Soggy biscuits. Weeing in their own mouths for that epic selfie moment (which you can view here).

 This man told Network Ten News that he picked up the Grand Final stripper’s g-string because, “It’s a collectors’ item.” Just sayin’.

You know, that kind of thing.

I am not suggesting for one moment that all sportsmen, or the men who love to watch them, are these kinds of douches. They most certainly are not. There are many, many footballers and football fans who are great men, hardworking, women-loving, great-mate-to-have-at-your-back kind of men.

I love those guys. I have kids with one of those guys.

But there’s no denying the douche element. And, as a culture, our tolerance of it. Our willingness to label male misadventure as “a bit of fun”.

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And there’s also no denying that during footy-finals-fever,  the douchery reaches epic levels.

I have a little boy. He’s two-and-a-half, and he’s the cutest thing you have ever seen. That you have EVER SEEN.

He has golden curls and big blue eyes and he loves dinosaurs, and he worships his big sister like the deity she believes herself to be.

And like every mother who has ever existed in the history of the universe, I look at him sometimes and panic about what he will become.

One day, will I be collecting him from a police station after he was arrested for eating his own vomit for a dare outside a pub? Yes, people, I’ve seen that happen.

Holly and her son Billy.

Possibly.

One day, will I be driving him to emergency after one of his “mates” thought it would be funny to see how many beer bottles they could open with their teeth?

It could happen.

One day, will he be slapped in the face by a furious woman after he’s drunkenly misread (or disregarded) her signals and groped her on a dancefloor? Maybe even beaten up by her furious boyfriend?

I hope not.

But all of those things are possible. Because my son’s Dad and I will try to instil in our boy respect, and self-regard, and boundaries. But ultimately, he’s going to be his own person. And he’s going to be influenced by others around him. We all are.

And he’s going to want to have fun. And he’s going to want to take risks.

As parents, we have many, many fears. Some of them are dark, indeed. Way, way worse than strippers.

But at this time of year, as I hurry my kids past the local beer garden where a gang of overly-muscled, badly-tattooed meatheads are braying at every passing girl, there’s just one that keeps coming back.

Please, don’t let my little boy be a douche.

So, any tips on how to raise non-douchey men?

Come and Like Holly on Facebook. Unless you’re a douche, of course.

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