What if your son has his eyes on a dress for his back-to-school outfit next week? Do you let him go for it or gently urge him to pull on pants? If you're like this dad in Germany, you not only give your stamp of approval, you pull on a matching skirt for the morning drop-off. And then sit back and watch a sweet photo of the two of you light up the internet.
In a translated explanation of his decision, dad Nils Pickert said his son had already faced trouble over his penchant for girl's clothing in Berlin and he was worried their move to a small town might intensify the scrutiny.
"I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts. He didn't make friends in doing that in Berlin already and after a lot of contemplation I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself. After all you can't expect a child at pre-school age to have the same ability to assert themselves as an adult. Completely without role model. And so I became that role model..."
Comments have ranged from a Buzzfeed reader saying "Yay for sexual confusion being forced on an innocent child, right?!!!" to "I so love this it made me cry. How wonderful that this man is so in tune with the needs of his child. That he gets it's about the kid not the adult. Can we clone him?" from Joan S. on a Care2 post about the photo.
The widely-shared image comes on the (sparkly?) heels of a recent piece in the New York Times, which looked at "gender-fluid" kids and the ways their parents cope with a huge range of feelings around their boys wearing dresses while trying to support them.
In that piece, one family found a similar – if slightly less bold – wardrobe boost. When a five-year-old gender-fluid New England kid named Alex merely wore hot-pink socks to class, a boy in his class asked, "Are you a girl?"
"Alex told his parents his feelings were so hurt that he couldn't even respond," wrote Ruth Padawer. "In solidarity, his father bought a pair of pink Converse sneakers to wear when he dropped Alex off at school."
It's a trend that may give new meaning to the old nugget: "Clothes maketh the man."