Who Plays Housewife?

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Brian and I were being interviewed by a Tokyo-based television station for a segment on gay parents of interracial families. Halfway through, the journalist asked a question that made the translator blush.

She coughed and whispered, "Which of you plays the housewife?"

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"Who does the cooking and cleaning?" she continued. Brian smiled and said, "I want my children to live, so Kevin does all the cooking."

My son Aidan added, "Yeah, Papa can't even cook toast. Daddy cooks spaghetti so he's housewife."


My turn to blush. I had just been busted out to 9 percent of Japan's viewing audience as the June Cleaver of the Island of Lost Boys. What would my fellow deputies think?  What about the school? Would they fire me as assistant coach of the soccer team when they learned the secret of my lemon meringue pie? But it's not like I had ever been the butchest tool in the shed. Why was I so ashamed of wearing the apron in the family?

Maybe as a gay man I felt pressure to be straighter than the straight dads. I had bought into that notion that machismo was the key to happiness. But what if this was wrong? Maybe toughness was the problem with those football players who thought that if they made big money knocking over their co-workers then it was all right to hit their wives. Maybe testosterone was the reason why so many cops need Humvees to feel safe driving around.

Emma Watson recently made a speech saying, "If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won't feel compelled to be submissive."

Let me do my part. It's time to come out again: as the Daddy who is also the Mommy. I'm not yet ready to teach needlepoint, but if I'm strong enough to be gentle, to bake cookies from scratch maybe I can teach the boys to become better men. And it that makes me a housewife as well as a deputy, so be it.

With a Perspective, this is Kevin Fisher-Paulson.

Kevin Fisher-Paulson is a captain with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department, and manages community engagement programs.