My son has found a passion that isn’t a video game! Hurrah! We’ve tried soccer and circus camp and gymnastics and swimming and ukelele but it was always hard to get him motivated. He did it but he wasn’t excited about it. Until now. He loves…drumroll please…boxing! Not kick boxing or muay tai or karate but old school boxing. Not surprisingly his dad, Wes, loves boxing too and has watched it with Jack since Jack was little. But they found a real boxing gym near by and so he’s been training for three hours a day! His calves were so sore the first week from all the skipping that he was walking funny. But he never complained and was really excited about it.
I show up last week to pick him up with Mel after we’d had a writing meeting. The gym is empty because I was a few minutes late (surprise surprise) and Jack is waiting alone. The gym has a boxing ring and pictures of boxers, weights and mirrors, a water cooler. A little cluttered and smelly, it feels like the set for a Rocky movie. Jack is waiting by his back pack and a short wiry man comes out of the office. “Hi, I’m Jack’s mother.” I say to him. “No you are not! You are too young to be his mother, you must be his sister!”. Then he starts flirting with me and Mel and we both giggle in the uncomfortable way you do when you feel totally creeped out. The guy has the face of a man who has partied hard, to be perfectly honest, he seems a little creepy.
We get back to the car and Mel says, “Maybe you should google him?!”. What do I do? My son finally likes something and it’s with a guy who may or may not be a pervert. Who may or may not be completely inappropriate with my son. Thoughts of Gary Sandusky and Catholic Priests dance through my head. Oh my god! Am I being paranoid or is this an actual intuition?
I talk to Wes. “Do you get a bad vibe from the boxing guy?”. “What? No. Why?” “Well, he flirted with Mel and I. It was really uncomfortable.” “Really? That’s funny. Maybe it’s just his style. I’ll talk to Sarah. She met him first with Jack.” Sarah is Wes’s very beautiful partner. Later on, I talk to Wes, “Did you ask Sarah?” “Yeah, she said, he was totally professional with her. Maybe he’s just got a soft spot for blondes?” We agree that Wes should have a talk with jack. Tell him that he needs to tell to us if anything, anything happens that makes him uncomfortable.
The next time I pick Jack up, the boxing coach approaches me again. “Your son’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He’s working hard but he needs to learn how to wrap his hands. I’ve showed him once but maybe, your husband, he boxed right?, he can show him.” He says ‘husband’ in such a pointed way, I’m embarrassed for him. “Uhm sure. Well he’s not my husband, we’re not together, but I’ll tell him.” “Oh.” pause “You’re with someone though, right?” “Yes.” “Because a woman like you shouldn’t be alone.”
It’s like this guy is a time traveler from the 70’s. This is the stuff I heard people say to my mom, growing up. Has this style of flirting come back with the mustaches? Did I not get the memo?
The last time I pick up Jack, it’s just after getting my hair coloured. I’m nervous that my sexy blow-dry will just put this guy over the edge. I’ve now transitioned from worrying about my son to being utterly self involved. I walk into the gym. Luckily, he’s in his office so I escape, unscathed. This parenting thing, it’s a minefield.