Don’t Dress Your Cat in an Apron

“Don’t dress your cat in an apron
Just cause he’s learning to bake
Don’t dress your horse in a nightgown
Just cause he can’t stay awake…”

–Dan Greenburg “Don’t Dress Your Cat in an Apron”,  from Free to Be You & Me (1974)

I have this song/poem on my iPod shuffle that I take to the gym — Casey put it on one of the first (and historically still the best) mixed tapes she ever gave me. I love it because of the message, telling children that you can be whatever you want to.

One of the things Casey’s Mom always told her was to try and get through high school without having a label. She advised her to make friends with everyone…which she did. Everybody knew Casey. She was a cheerleader and the lead in Alice in Wonderland and the President of the Conservation Society, and every guy in school wanted to date her because she was a cute little blonde thing. To the best of my knowledge, she succeeded in going labelless — everyone who remembers Casey remembers just that: Casey. If she had any label, that was it. She was my role model…and in many ways, still is.

She was the original Princess.

I mention this poem because it played on my iPod this morning about 2 seconds before The Today Show (I swear, the gym TVs don’t have any other channel) featured a piece about the woman (“Sarah”) who everyone (including me) linked to a few days ago, with her infamous “My Son is Gay” Halloween blog. (Here it is again, for those who haven’t read it. It’s really well done.) The crux of the essay is that Sarah’s 5-year-old son wanted to be Daphne for Halloween, so she got him the costume. The mothers of her child’s classmates had fairly nasty things to say on the subject, and came off as sounding judgmental and ridiculous. Because they were.

When I look at this child, dressed up on a day MADE FOR DRESSING UP, I think, “What an awesome kid. What a great sport. What an original mind. Well done! You look great!” I don’t think, “Oh my god, this kid is gay.” What? I mean, where do you even get that? Dressing in women’s clothes does not make you homosexual. It makes you an actor. Eddie Izzard = not gay. Here are some other fairly well-known men, the majority of whom are/were not homosexual (ironically, the one gay member always played the straight man):

And for those of you who haven’t heard Dan Greenburg’s poem, here is a cute little girl I found on YouTube, whose mother filmed her reciting the poem in the bathtub. There are a couple of boys to be found on YouTube as well reciting the same poem, but Kate here is my favorite because she’s memorized it. And she’s smiley. And she squeaks.