OK, I'm not pontificating on TV like David Shuster on MSNBC, and therefore when I offend these days, which is often, it's typically an intimate affair. I did, however, work in TV for quite awhile, and I can say unequivocally that 'pimping out' is a phrase used in newsrooms and elsewhere that I always thought had been completely stripped, if you will, of sexual connotation (although, as my beleaguered ex-co-workers will attest, I do have a spectacularly crass lexicon, and my standards might be skewed). I used the phrase so much back then that I have carried it with me to a new life of suburban mommy drudgery, and in fact I find myself pimping out my own toddler quite frequently. Momma treats her boy sweet, buys him some fine, fine Spiderman underwear, gives him his Miralax dose to keep him nice-n-regular, gives him a safe, disinfected, disease-free place to lay his head. Momma expects a little somethin somethin back. And here's what I get.
- I pimp my boy out to go to my sleepy local firehouse. I use him as the adorable excuse for being there, as in "Frank just isn't going get through the day without a tour of the house." That truthfully should translate to "Momma's not going to get through the damn day without seeing a hunky fireman. NOW". Which, as the Clinton bombardiers will quickly recognize, is both objectifying and stereotyping firemen.
- Daddy has the male corollary to this. He pimps our boy out as a way to flirt with young women, without seeming creepy. By frequent mention and the actual presence of our son, he appears warm, paternal and nurturing, rather than old, desperate and perverted.
- I pimp Frank out as my sassy entertainer monkey. For my gay BFF, I taught him to say "I LOVE what you've done with the place!" That's a two-fer of pimping and gay pandering. I also pimped him out by adding his picture here, purely for laughs. He's the baby who looks like a mournful mini-Morrissey, as dubbed by one of the two gorgeous Rachels in my life.
- I pimp Frank out as my all-purpose excuse for looking terrible. "Frank and I have playing hard all morning, oh yeah, we've been doing enrichment games I found on the web. I didn't have a minute to shower!" When, in reality, he's been watching Noggin like I watch Law & Order "stackers", one show stacked on another. And I've been lightly dozing.
- I pimp him out as the reason I watch Oprah. Once I told another mom that I think Oprah is a great role model for Frank (actually true) and lawd knows there are few black people in this monochrome town I live in. But mostly I want to sit with my coffee, and see the ladies that went from gastric bypass to promiscuity and raging alcoholism, and if Frank thinks "Opwah" is his trailblazing black TV auntie, well, so be it.
- I pimp him out as the excuse for being a bit behind on the news. How can I understand the crisis in Chad when my life-force is sucked out of me by my 'spirited' 3 year old? If anyone gives me grief, I just say "you're not valuing my woman-work." That shuts 'em up quick.
- I pimp him out to listen to shockingly bad music I secretly love, and we're not talking ironic love either. The playlist includes "Strike it Up", by Blackbox from the late 80's, and, even worse, Ambrosia. "Oh yeah, Frank loves this weird song, "How Much I Feel", I don't even know where he heard it!"
- I pimp Frank out to cut the bathroom line. "My son is just potty training, would you mind....", giving the impression that Frank is about to let loose in spastic projectile fashion any second. When it's actually Mom with the bladder control problem.
- Daddy points out that I'm pimping Frank right now by writing about pimping him. I endeavor not to use the phrase 'meta' recklessly, but I do indeed think this would be meta-pimping. I just asked Daddy if he was OK with me writing about this utter debasement of our beloved child, and he said "of course. Who do think I am? Hillary Clinton?"
So if David Shuster really wants to find a momma pimping out her kid, I'm hard-core, Shu. Text me. I'll be workin' my boy at story-time at the library.