Frightening Father


“Quick! My monster mask!” I said to Mum
When I heard Dad’s key in the lock
I hided my face so a horrible shock
Would tremble his teeth and wobble his tum.

I crouched on my bed like a leopard on a rock
And bemagined the most cheekiest name to shout
When Dad walked by, I jumped out
And said, ‘Garr! You dirty old frying sock!”

“Help! A monster!” he cried as he fell on the floor
I jumped on his back and banged him a boff
“It’s just me, Dad,” I said and I took my mask off
So he wouldn’t be frightened no more.

“Oh, you sinful singlet! You smouldering smock!
You wicked and worsted waistcoat!” he said;
And he tickled my tummy with his hairy head
“Mercy!” I said, “You dirty old frying sock!”


© Andrew Lansdown
From Gestures of Love, The Fatherhood Poems and

“A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves.”*

I’ve always been aware of gender conditioning and actively tried to combat any lingering prejudices or stereotypes in my own parenting, even down to encouraging dolls with my boys when they were little. It’s great to read people writing about gender issues they’re experiencing with their kids. For too long these subjects have been discouraged or silenced. I’d love to publish some more creative writing on this topic, especially if you are struggling with a child who actively tries to move away from gender normative preferences. A society where everyone can be themselves thanks Gloria for those aspirational words.

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* Gloria Steinem