My daughter is at the age where she needs to start wearing a shirt, but she doesn't understand why. When I tell her to put one on she rolls her eyes and gives me that how-come-I-have-to-wear-a-shirt-when-my-brother-gets-to-go-topless-all-the-time look.
"I know it's a dumb rule but it's still a rule," I tell her. "And I promise that if you want to protest this law against girls showing their boobs when you're a grownup I will support you completely. But for now, as long as you're MY responsibility, you're going to wear a shirt."
She grumbles and grabs a t-shirt. As she pulls it on inspiration hits.
"You want to hear a secret?" I ask.
"This is a serious Big Girl Secret," I say. "Shhh, come closer... We don't want any boys to hear!"
She's getting excited now. Mysterious secrets are like mother's milk to little girls addicted to epic dramas. She leans in for me to whisper in her ear.
"Do you know WHY girls aren't allowed to go topless?" I ask.
"So their boobies won't show."
"Yes, but WHY can't we let everyone see our boobies?"
"Because they're DANGEROUS."
(A promise of danger! My daughter is mad about dragons and other fierce creatures; she's hanging on my every word now.)
"And do you know why they are dangerous?"
"Ummm... because if babies see them they'll try to get all the milk from them?"
I have to laugh. "No sweetheart. When women are feeding babies, this is the only time they are allowed to show their boobies in public. All the rest of the time they have to be covered. The real reason women have to cover their boobies is... (dramatic pause) because if boys see boobies they go crazy! Their minds go wobbly and they do all sorts of stupid things."
My girl is a smart cookie; she gets it right away. "Oh! Like when (insert cartoon character) was trying to impress (insert cartoon character's love interest) and he did (some stupid thing) to show off."
"Exactly princess, just like that. And I'm sure you can imagine how horrible it would be if boys went around acting crazy like that all the time." She nods in knowing agreement.
Sometimes it's fun to be a parent.