Both parent and son sport huge grins. The picture’s captioned, “Our family motto is #fun! We try and incorporate fun into as much of the everyday things that we do! #Bathtime”. No big deal – except the parent’s media maven Perez Hilton, and the son’s his two-year-old Mario. After the instagram pic went up on Sunday, comments few thick, fast, and ugly. One called the picture “child abuse.” Another said, “He’s another Michael Jackson. Hopefully his kids won’t turn out gay. Sad, sad, sad …” Still another said he was raising the kid to be a “cupcake.”
And the poor man was so paranoid he had on a bathing suit.
Last time we checked, showering with your parent (at age 2!) is not a cause or contributing factor to homosexuality, bathing suit or no. Poor Hilton posted a pic of Betty White flipping the bird later, saying, “This is what I feel like.”
Luckily, the parents came out in force to support him. One affirmed, “a very proud dad sharing an amazing moment … as a proud dad I enjoy bathtime myself.” Another noted, “If people think there’s something wrong with this picture, they have a sick mind.” And in a moment of sheer internet sanity, one mom said, “I actually find it strange you have a bathing suit on.”
But when should you stop bathing with your kids? This goes to the heart of our squeamishness about nudity and childhood sexuality. One dad told Babble you needed to quit when, “It’s not certain whose pube has floated to the top,” Circle of Moms says, “I think when they start asking questions or get uncomfortable.” Dr. Sears says kindergarten. However, Dr. Ruth, designate authority of all things sexual, claims covering up can wait til puberty. She wins.
Many of the Perez commenters have fond memories of bathing with their parents. “It was standard practice when I grew up,” one commenter said. In what can only be interpreted as a frustrated tone, one mom says what we’re all thinking: “Every parent must have bathed with their own child.”
Gywneth Paltrow, as of 2012, regularly dipped au natural with school-age Apple and Moses. Up until around seven, I remember clamoring to shower with my parents, because showering was cool. This sentiment is apparently shared by my five-year-old, who hopped in for a communal dip last night.
Mostly, I was annoyed that he hogged the hot water. And no, I didn’t wear a bathing suit.
So for once, give gossip boy Perez a break. His kid’s two. He’s having #fun. And the internet will interpret terrible motives to anything, including a father having a blast with his son. Showering together isn’t child abuse or the road to cupcakeville. Just kick the kid out once his pit hair sprouts. And remember: ignore the haters.
1) Perez Hilton