Conversation With C

C: I want to be a man.

J: No you don’t.

C: Yes I DO!

J: Corrine Hannah Bloom. I’ve been a guy for a long time now. I’m telling you. You don’t want to be a man.

C: I want to be a man!

J: I see what’s going on. You’re going through a phase of what Freud called “Penis Envy.”

C: Daddy, what’s Penis Envy?

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J: Well, it’s something that people who have never actually read Freud believe is a misogynistic, repressive idea, thinking it means Freud just thought women were jealous of penises. When, of course, Freud was a much more subtle and progressive thinker than that, and he was talking, among other things, about a physical metaphor for the advantages males enjoy in patriarchal societies. Advantages that women, naturally, would like to enjoy themselves, and therefore “envy.”

C: (pause) Daddy? I want to be a man.

J: Coco, my baby, you and I are privileged to live in the time of the second installment of the feminist revolution, which, if we’re not soon blown to hell by a dirty bomb, or beheaded for the greater glory of Allah by religious psychopaths, will result in the transformation of the world. Trust me. A woman is the single greatest thing the human race has to offer. You are privileged. You should be proud to be a young woman. You are the inheritor of the world. You are a goddamn woman. You are the future.

C: (pause) MAMA! Daddy said a bad word! He said GODDAMN!

ALLI: J:… what are you saying to her?

J: I was simply explaining Penis Envy.

ALLI: To a three·year-old.

J: Ok, it’s a little early, granted. But she asked.

C: Goddamn! Goddamn! HEY MIRI! GODDAMN!

ALLI: Oh great.

MIRI: MAMA! Why is Coco saying “GODDAMN”?

C: Goddamn! Penis! Envy!

ALLI: Hey J. When [Coco’s teacher] calls and asks why Coco is talking about Goddamn Penis Envy at school, you want to take that call?

J: Ah, shit.

C: Shit! Shit! Mama, what’s shit?

MIRI: MAMA! Coco is saying a bad word! She’s saying SHIT!

J: There are no “bad” words, girls. That whole idea is based on superstition and controlling what people can and can’t talk about. It’s a Fascist idea. It’s superstitious. It’s stupid.

ALLI: J… you know…

C: Stupid! Goddamn!

MIRI: MAMA! Coco is saying STUPID and GODDAMN!

C: Daddy? I want to be a man.

J: Coco, binary gender will be gone in fifteen years. It’s already disappearing. You can be any goddamn thing you want to be.

C: MAMA! Daddy said GODDAMN again!

ALLI: sigh…