Dollhouse: six girls, two guys, one roof

Ryan Lawyer, staff writer

I am comfortable using the word “tampon.” Comments about the female menstrual cycle do not phase me––not even at the dinner table. PMS is a part of my daily life. This is not because I long for a transgender procedure when I am eighteen… it is because I live with six women. My father and I provide the only drops of testosterone in the vast ocean of estrogen that I call home.

My life with women dates all the way back to the beginning. I was born into a family with two older sisters, a loving father, and a mother without boundaries. When we were little, my sister Nathalie could not pronounce my name, so she called me Boo Boo; then Nathalie spread the idea to the rest of the family. When my younger sister, Jackie, came around, she couldn’t pronounce Boo Boo, so she resorted to the easier, shorter, and seemingly innocent name of “Boob.” Ever since my younger days, Boo Boo and Boob have been used interchangeably.

The women in my life have a history of trying to embarrass me as much as possible. My mother has an exceedingly loud voice that I frequently comment on, and to get back at me, she tends to yell, “Go Boo Boo!” at the top of her lungs at my lacrosse and hockey games for everyone––including other parents and my friends––to hear. Luckily, she can’t say much at football games because there isn’t a lot of cheering for the bench warmers.

When my aunt and cousin, Molly and Abby, came to live with us, the tempo and extent of harassment and embarrassment picked up. My mother has given Abby the job of spying on my girlfriend, Taylor, and me. Abby’s favorite thing to do is to depict the two “unchaperoned fools” (my mother’s name for Taylor and me) kissing. After each masterpiece has been finished, Abby will make an exact replica, tape one on my bedroom door, and mail the other to Taylor’s house for her family to see. And of course my sisters, my aunt, and my mother all help her with her work––providing postage, address assistance and transportation to the post office for my six-year-old chaperone.

Yet after sixteen years of living with women, I can solemnly testify that I have the patience of a shrink when the girls are shopping at the mall. I have learned how to comment on the oddest of hairdos without giving away my true feelings. I realize that listening and commiserating for an extended period of time is far more important than seeking a speedy (or even an obvious) resolution. Most importantly, I know there is only one right answer to the question, “does this outfit make me look fat?”

In short, I live in a house with six mothers––one actual and five self-proclaimed. My mother (the real one) assures me that this will help me later in life as a husband and father. Indeed, I am prepared to say that she is absolutely right. After all, mother knows best––especially when all six of them agree.