The Rush

Everything I know about surfing I learned from the 1991 movie Point Break*, which isn’t saying a lot. I live in one of the world’s most popular surf spots and I know nothing about it. I have never been on a board myself but I have always found surfing an intriguing sport, so I wasn’t surprised recently when I spent nearly an hour completely mesmerized by 55 surfers.I watched the tide go in and out dozens of times and I felt like somewhat of a voyeur.

My first observation was that surfers contort their bodies in the most peculiar ways getting in and out of their wet suits, carrying massive and very awkward shaped boards that they then attach to one of their feet. Bizarre. I sat at the water’s edge and thought, how can the ocean be so loud and rough, yet so calming and peaceful at the same time? I frequently walk on the beach and love to take in the sights and smells it offers, but my breath slowed and my body relaxed like it hadn’t in a long time as I positioned myself high on a rock with the beautiful view laid before me.

As the sun glistened on the water, anxious surfers paddled out to sea and there they waited.

And waited.

It was as if they were willing the perfect wave to propel them to shore. Not every wave has a crest capable of such a trip. Surfing is a lesson in patience. It’s a solitary sport.

Just you and the water.

So many factors play a role in providing the perfect wave; the wind, the swell direction and intensity, the time of the year, high or low tide, what’s underneath the water, etc.

Once the right wave appears, the ride and the movements the surfers made looked elegant and effortless from where I sat. Their bodies possessing a balance and ease that I found fascinating. Lyrical.

I didn’t need to question anyone as to why they do it. It’s obvious.

It’s the rush, being one with the water, escaping land and the pursuit of the perfect wave.

Maybe I’ll feel it for myself someday.

*A point break refers to the place where waves hit a point of land or rocks jutting out from the coastline.

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Dressed For Success

I have been told that I dress you in too much blue and too many stripes. I may be guilty of that, but I also love to put you in orange, green, red, jungle animals (especially monkeys!), spaceships, robots, cars, planes, trains, dinosaurs and monsters too.

As I’ve perused the baby departments at numerous stores, I have come to the conclusion that I like clothes made for boys better than I like clothes made for girls. It’s not that I don’t like frilly dresses and ruffles, it’s just that I prefer the bright primary colors that are more common in clothes marketed for infant and toddler boys and the themes used in both boy’s and gender neutral clothing.

The themes in baby boys clothing celebrate predominantly male (and mostly working class) occupations such as firemen, construction workers, mechanics, pilots, and soldiers. Activity themes seem to be popular as well; involving clothes the promote going on safari, hunting, fishing, eating and playing sports.

Even as infants, we start to socialize baby boys into occupations. You rarely find occupation themed clothes for girls. Little girls clothes have flowers, frills, and occasionally animals (i.e. butterflies, dragonflies and lady bugs), but they don’t have occupational themes. They also rarely have activity themes outside of shopping or cheer leading. In fact, to me the worst subset of little girls clothes are those that say “princess” or “diva”. Diva is often used in a derisive way to indicate that the girl is overly demanding, and unlike the fireman or construction worker a princess doesn’t earn her title – she’s born with it or marries into it. Princess themed clothes also seem to play up baby girls looks – looking like a princess means looking pretty. I’ve seen a few shirts that have messages about boys being handsome or cute, and then there’s the ever witty (dreadful) sayings: “Chick Magnet”, “I drink until I pass out” or “That’s how I roll”, but those are much less common in the boys department.

I believe that one of the reasons that baby clothes are so strongly gendered is that babies themselves are often androgynous. If you put them only in a diaper, it’s often hard to tell what sex the baby is, but that androgyny doesn’t fit well into our gender polarized society, so this is where the clothes come in. Those clothes have underlying and blatant messages. Baby boy clothes say: be active, be bold, enjoy the outdoors, and get a respectable paying job. It doesn’t seem that baby girls clothing have the same messages.

Today’s parents have a seemingly infinite choice of where to buy baby clothes and also the particular style they want, as long as you can find something that fits….the sizing of children’s clothes is still a mystery to me, but that’s the topic for an other post.

The best is yet to be.

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