You thought I didn't really notice. But I did. I wanted to high-five you.
Yesterday I had a pair of brothers in my store. One was maybe between 15 and 17. He was a wrestler at the local high school. Kind of tall, stocky and handsome. He had a younger brother, who was maybe about 10 to 12 years old. The only way to describe him was scrawny, neat, and very clean for a boy his age. They were talking about finding a game for the younger one, and he was absolutely insisting it be one with a female character. I don't know how many of y'all play games, but that isn't exactly easy. Eventually, I helped the brothers pick a game called "Mirror's Edge." The youngest was pretty excited about the game, and then he specifically asked me, "Do you have any girl color controllers?" I directed him to the only colored controllers we have, which include pink and purple ones. He grabbed the purple one, and informed me purple was his FAVORITE.
The boys had been taking awhile, so their father eventually came in. He saw the game, and the controller, and started in on the youngest about how he needs to pick something different. Something more manly. Something with guns and fighting, and certainly not a purple controller. He tried to convince him to get the new Zombie game "Dead Island" and the little boy just stood there repeating, "Dad, this is what I want, OK?" Eventually it turned into a full-blown argument complete with Dad threatening to whoop his son if he didn't choose different items.
That's when big brother stepped in. He said to his dad, "It's my money, it's my gift to him. If it's what he wants, I'm getting it for him, and if you're going to hit anyone for it, it's going to be me." Dad just gave his oldest son a strong stern stare-down, and then left the store. Little brother was crying quietly. I walked over and ruffled his hair (yes, this happened all in front of me). I said, "I'm a girl, and I like the color blue, and I like shooting games. There's nothing wrong with what you like. Even if it's different than what people think you should." I smiled, he smiled back (my heart melted!). Big brother then leaned down, kissed little brother on the head, and said, "Don't worry, dude."
They checked out and left, and all I can think is how awesome big brother is, how sweet little brother is, and how Dad ought to be ashamed for trying to make his son any other way.
This piece was originally published on Kristen's blog, www.sweetupndown.tumblr.com.