I met Batman Bill (Caloviras) several years ago. He emailed me with an incredibly eloquent essay about coaching Girls on the Run. (His nickname was given to him by his team of girls.) This was years ago, when his now teenaged daughter, was in the program. Male Coaches for Girls on the Run continue to be far and few between, but I gotta tell ya…the men who DO coach are incredible role models for the girls and are, just as we all are, on their own journeys to break free from societal stereotypes.
Last week I had the privilege of attending the Girls on the Run 5k in Lancaster, PA, where Batman Bill lives.
Bill was there with his family…each of them were volunteering. His wife, Jessica; his daughter Lianna; and his son Josh were all working diligently with the film crew there to document the experience on video.
Bill is…I shall I say it. A man’s man. He is not a small man…strong in stature…right now a bit on the as he says “I need to run more” size.
Bill and I have communicated over the years. He and his family stopped by the Girls on the Run office a while back, on their way through Charlotte. He and I have emailed and “Facebooked.” Jessica, his fantastic wife and Lianna, his GOTR alum daughter are always posting awesome links on my Facebook page!
So spending time with him and his family in Lancaster was just like hanging out with ole’ friends. We talked, laughed, snapped some photos.
So, it was no surprise when a text from him, showed up on my phone several days later. It was the CONTENT of it that made me laugh, out loud and it goes exactly like this.
Batman Bill: Zoe (his youngest daughter) asked if she cold paint my nails. Every family member in unison said no way. I surprised them all by letting her do her artwork. Even she was surprised, but she will remember it all her life…
Molly: Love this! Send me a pic of you and Zoe with your beautiful painted nails. Makes me smile.
Batman Bill: I will. It was funny. At first when she asked I was thinking to myself “No way in hell.” Then I thought, “What the Hell!” She had a blast. Then in walks Josh (his son) and he says, “Dad I am taking your man card away.” Even at age 10 society has created this machismo thought pattern. Amazing how we are brought up in this macho homophobic way of thinking. I am sick of it and glad I let Zoe paint my nails. And you know what? I am wearing flip flops to the neighborhood Memorial Day barbecue and when I get weird quizzical looks, I can’t wait to explain how much I love my kids and this simple silly thing made a memory on my kid’s brain to last a lifetime. #soworthit.
Molly: YES!!!!!YES!!!! YOU GET IT!!!!
Molly: You Rock. You were already pretty close to the top of my cool dad list. Now you are at the top! Lol
Batman Bill: I just figured you would appreciate a funny story about livin’ outside of our box. You know what really made me let go and let Zoe do this? About three months ago I called on a plant manager of a large manufacturing company. I had met this guy before so we have a good relationship. I walked into his office and his fingernails were painted bright orange. At the end of our meeting I had to ask why. He had acted totally normal, not explaining it when I first walked in or apologized. He had no embarrassment whatsoever. Keep in mind, he worked in a plant with over 100 men and women who answered to him. Talk about gutsy. He said he lost a bet to his 8 year old daughter and so she decided to paint his nails. Now Zoe asked to do my toenails. And wear shoes to work so I am not sure what I would have done if she asked to paint my fingernails. But I did wear flip flops to the cookout so my neighbors could see them! Lol.
There really is not a whole more I can add to this. Perhaps there is a little something trending here? And I’m not talking about painted nails on men. I’m talking about the tenderness of men and a new and inviting world opening up for them. I’m excited to see that the Boy Box is beginning to crack.