being a mom

How ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Made Me A Better Mother

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DRAG RACE

When our daughter was 11 I realized the TV shows we’d usually watched after
she went to bed were ones she’d probably enjoy, her tastes and interests so

similar to ours, the final realization of the clone we’d set out to create
years before when we were young and clueless about children. We’d gotten
lucky and we liked and laughed at a lot of the same things so instead of

packing her away for the night we began allowing her stay up to watch The Office and Parks and Recreation with us.

In another year it was my husband who headed off to bed while the two of us
stayed downstairs to binge watch my old favorites:  Monk and Buffy,

Frasier, and Will and Grace.  When people would ask how it was living with
a now-teenager I’d tell them it was actually pretty great, like hanging out
with a college roommate who had spookily similar tastes.  During holiday

breaks we’d stay up until the wee hours sprawled on the sofa under
blankets, *Just one more?  No. Seriously we have to go to bed, I am not
even joking.*  I was totally joking and we’d click play again just because

we could, the “being bad” of it a temporary thing as any mother knows.

It was through Will and Grace that we found RuPaul. We had consumed
massive quantities of that show in a completely random order, our DVR at
one point filled with a hundred episodes.  I’d find a period I felt like
watching and we’d gorge on ten in a row, all of the Gregory Hines episodes,
and then all the ones with Will’s boyfriend Vince.  I had noticed during
our Frasier phase that I’d found a convenient set of shoulders to carry
some of the burden that comes with mothering a tween.  The sex positive
attitude of the show made it clear that people have sex because they want
to have sex, just for the fun of it even, and not always for baby-making
reasons.  There are often consequences to this sex-having, some of it
funny, some of it not funny.  I know I can be a lazy mother but allowing
that seed to be planted by familiar friends on a TV show seemed a more
impactful way to get the message across than one of my endless
driving-in-the-car lectures (at which I excel.)

What began with Frasier only continued with Will and Grace as a whole new
world of sexuality and sexual identity was unlocked.  Anyone who has
watched Will and Grace on Logo knows the frequency with which commercials
for RuPaul’s Drag Race air.  As the premier of season 6 got closer there
was no doubt we would be watching.  That endless loop of Laganja Estranja
in hip high boots calling out to the world “Let’s get sickening!” before
sideways splitting to the floor in a green and yellow tartan heap?  How
could anyone *not* watch that?

I want to say real quick here that I am a snob.  As a general rule I do not
like reality TV.  I think it is often lazy and simple and that it too often
celebrates the worst of humanity.  I am also a middle-class, cisgender
housewife with three kids.  I am super square and kinda boring and
basically just really white bread.  I never thought I was the target
demographic for most things on Logo.  But maybe I am?  I’m not so sure
anymore.  When I would try to geek out with friends over the latest episode
of Drag Race I would often get really confused looks.  *You watch that?*
That *you* encapsulating worlds of assumptions, ones I often make of myself
too.

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