Chivalry... if I weren't already gay it would be enough to get me to swear off men. I was talking to Tara yesterday and she too is worried about Giles because his oh-so-noble son is trying to protect him and making a big old mess of things in the process... of course, Giles's paranoia is not helping either. I wonder why is it that even guys who qualify as kind and caring have this thing where they can't sit down and talk about their feelings without letting a whole bunch of macho posturing get in the way.
This whole thing started with Blair's mother's visit. At first Naomi seemed like a lot of fun, it's not that she's a 'bad person' or anything like that, but she is high maintenance and the idea of having her for a mother --and a single mother at that-- does not a pretty picture paint. From what I saw, I suspect that Blair found himself parenting her more often than the other way around... and the fact that I'm describing someone else's mother as unfit is terrifying enough. My mom was never there for me and yet I have to say that compared to Blair I had it good. In fact I think Naomi is a lot more like my mom than anyone would guess, but that's a whole different bag of issues. In the end I guess I turned out fine --for a witch-- just like Blair turned out okay --for a Shaman... so what if we were both expected to grow up Jewish?
The thing is that even though the idea that Blair grew up with Naomi as a mother is not a pretty picture, I don't think that's even the main issue here. I know part of the problem has nothing to do with Naomi at all. She could be Mother Teresa and Giles would still be freaking out... of course Mother Teresa never had children --being a nun and all that-- but that's not the point. The point is that Giles feels guilty because he didn't even know Blair existed until a couple of years ago and now anything that even hints at the fact that his son had a less than perfect childhood is likely to be blown out of proportion. I mean, even though I know about Ripper and some of his less than stellar choices, if I had to use one word to describe Giles it would be 'responsible', and not really big on the whole forgiving thing. He's a nice guy but he sure can carry a grudge, and he is not more forgiving with himself than with anyone else... if anything he's even worse. That means that he's likely to blame himself for every scraped knee Blair ever had growing up, simply because he thinks he should have been there to prevent it in the first place, and I guess that's what this whole thing boils down to.
Giles is blaming himself for everything that ever went wrong in his son's life, while Blair is trying to reassure his father by telling him that nothing went wrong in his life, while Giles is convinced Blair is lying to him in order to protect him, while Blair is insisting that he isn't hiding anything --which is obviously a lie-- which only causes Giles to grow more and more convinced that whatever Blair is hiding is truly awful, which will eventually lead to a situation in which --when Blair finally decides to come clean-- there will be no convincing Giles that Blair is not minimizing the negatives to make him feel better. That is --in a nutshell-- the phenomenon commonly referred to as 'men talking'... of course, Buffy's not a guy and still the whole not-telling-about-being-in-Heaven thingy was sadly reminiscent of this whole mess so maybe it's not just a guy thing after all.
The thing is that we all owe Blair, big time, so maybe this would be a nice opportunity for us to help him for a change. I really don't even want to think about how things would have turned out if Blair hadn't decided to step up to the plate a few times over the past couple of years. I love Giles, but there have been some changes in his attitude toward us that I suspect were not quite spontaneous... like the whole not necessarily waiting for us to mess up quite so badly before telling us that we are on a collision course with disaster. That's an improvement, as is the reduction in the number of mixed messages he sends our way... it's not like he's made up his mind as to whether he should treat us as children or as adults or anything as drastic as that, but at least he is trying to be somewhat consistent.
The truth is that while we don't ever really talk about it, we all know those changes sort of began after Blair showed up and have continued since then. In fact Giles has mellowed down a lot since he met his son, to the point that he no longer freezes whenever Blair hugs him, which is a major change. That used to be so funny and I suspect it wasn't as much a coincidence as Blair would have us believe... it's not like he could not notice it. I think he was just taking advantage of the fact that back then we didn't know him well enough to realize that he was doing it on purpose. I know Blair likes to hug a lot --as oddly enough does Jim, which you really wouldn't guess just by looking at him-- but he is too perceptive not to have noticed his father's discomfort... and as far as I can tell the only semi-reasonable explanation is that he was determined to hug the stuffy-ing out of Giles.
Well, if Blair sort of managed to transfer to us some of those thirty years worth of parenting miles Giles felt he owed his son, then maybe it's time for us to return the favor and transfer some sonning miles his way... I don't think there's such a word as sonning but there should be. I mean, if parents can turn themselves into verbs then sons and daughters should be entitled to do the same thing, anyway I think it's time Blair learned that sometimes it's not his job to parent his parents.