I don't like mothers.
No, wait. That's a terrible opening. Right away many mothers I do like, let alone love, pop into mind: my mother, my sister, Blake's bio-mom and Mrs. Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210 (just kidding with that last one). Let me get that outrageous attention grabbing opening line in context.
Blake started swimming lessons this term, right when snow storms were very atypically ravaging London. His first lesson was cancelled as the school the class was taking place at was shut.
To get there I need to drive, something that I'm not very keen on. I passed my test after five attempts, but I'm still a nervous driver. To make things worse I have to make a right turn on the Apex Corner roundabout, which I came to refer to as my nemesis. That's actually a good thing, as being forced to do it on a weekly basis is helping me become a better driver. Still, the first couple of times I had to do it alone were nerve wracking since I wasn't alone, I had Blakey-pie with me. But this post isn't about my driving, it's about swimming lessons for babies (and apparently mother hating), so I should probably get back on track.
On the first lesson I was a bit lost and got in halfway through the lesson. I had to quickly change and walk into the pool with Blake. He was very confused and worried. As I mentioned before, his first encounter with a large body of water was the Caribbean Sea, so a big bathtub full of treated water must have been fairly unattractive in comparison. Still, Blake loves his bath-time and once he realized this was a giant bathtub he really got into it. The instructor lady was kind enough to let us stay half of the next lesson with the older group because we were late.
I'm the only male parent in my group (I once saw another guy in the second group) which is why the ladies have decided to take over both changing rooms. There is some logic in that: each group leaves a lot of clutter and when the 10pm group arrives to change there'll be complete chaos if they dumped their coats, bags and clothes on top of the ones from the 9.30pm group. This means that I have to change in the 10pm group's changing room once all those ladies have gone to the pool with their little ones. Now my greatest fear is that a late arrival will walk in on me soaping my naked body. Well, actually I really don't care personally who sees me naked. I really do have no shame, really. I just try to spare them the embarrassment.
This is NOT the pool the lessons take place in. Though it's not much bigger.
Yeah, yeah. I'm getting to the part about mothers and disliking them. I just don't get it. Being gay I'm supposed to get along with girls and gossip about boys and shopping, but only if I was a gay American TV character. In reality all gays aren't alike and some of us do not thrive on a symbiotic relationship with a fag-hug. I can totally get along with a woman if we share interests like movies, TV shows, videogames... But not because we're both attracted to men. It doesn't play any factor, which is why I also don't have a disproportionate number of gay friends. I know many gay people who surround themselves with a gay circle of friends, but I don't get it personally.
At the beginning of each lesson I go into the water right away and start having fun with Blake. Sometimes even 15 minutes before the start time. I could hear the women taking their time, chatting away in their changing room. They would then go into the water, holding their toddler to their side and carry on yacking. While I swoosh a giggling Blake around, their bored babies cling to them with only their toes in the water. What do they talk about? I really can't remember as my brain switches off as soon as catch a snippet of conversation. I ignore them and carry on playing with Blake. He loves when I help him jump into the water and he's already very good at holding on to the metal bar surrounding the pool with his feet against the wall.
It's usually talk about skinny jeans, how they have their hair done every Friday after the swimming lesson because the pool water is so nasty, about their latest or upcoming holiday and so on.
During the lesson there are breaks in between exercises in which the ladies immediately resume chattering while holding their babies to their sides. Isn't this supposed to be the babies' time? Shouldn't their attention be almost entirely focused on the little ones? The most uncomfortable moment was when one mother was completely ignoring her baby's pleas as she was trying to get a purple ducky that was just a little out of reach. From behind the mother's back I nudged the duck a bit to make it float nearer.
I would occasionally try to strike a conversation with a random woman, but it never develops into natural banter. One mother smiled at us and said something about Blake that I don't remember. Then he stuck his thumb in his mouth and she immediately said to her baby "What is he doing? We don't do that. We don't do that." My reply was immensely rude. Just as well it never left my lips and remained in my head.
At least two of the mothers were Israeli and spoke Hebrew, so I refrained from using Hebrew with Blake in front of them. The last thing I wanted was to start a conversation about that. Sharing a nationality with someone is also not something that makes me feel instantly close to someone.
I don't like the swimming lessons. Not the drive over, not the pathetic water pressure in the shower or most of the mothers there. But Blake loves it and it's all about him. So I'm really looking forward to going there with him tomorrow morning.
Just like I said that not all gays are alike, obviously not all mothers are the same. Many are totally awesome. Peace.