Growing up, I longed to play with Lego. (Lego being the proper pluralization of Lego – not Legos.) We didn’t have much of them, but one year on a family road trip we went to an FAO Schwartz and my grandmother told us she’d buy us anything we wanted. I bolted to the Lego section, as did my brother. We both knew what was up. I pulled out a lot of different sets but after being told over and over that my selections weren’t “for girls”, I proceeded to ask for one of the girly sets with the most bricks. On the drive back home, I converted the fun time “Beach Front Whatever” set into every variation I could think of and played for hours. The set came with a base plate, so it was perfect for building in the back of our minivan.
Jump cut to my adult life, with my husband. We love Lego. We’re known as adult fans of Lego, which makes me feel odd, but there you go. What it means is we have an appreciation for the engineering and amusement that goes into building these sets. Yeah, there’s a lot of Star Wars (see above) but we have other sets too. Look, there are plenty of other adults that dress up like comic book characters or spend time pretending they’re a dwarf roaming through a dungeon. We build Lego. It’s kitschy, it’s cute, it’s our nerd thing.
We’ve given each other Lego sets as gifts. I went to the grand opening of the Lego store in Houston. I still have my master builder certificate for helping build an eight foot tall R2-D2. I once carried a fully constructed Death Star II down the street we lived on from our old apartment to our new one. That walk went better than you’d imagine.
As far as fandoms go, we’re not overly excitable about it. We try to keep it to a dull roar. The display pictured above lives in our basement. At our wedding, Lego was involved, but it was subtle! Our cake topper was Lego. (And our card box, but to be fair that was actually a gift to us.)
I mean, how cute is that?
I could go on about infinite possibilities at your fingertips when you’re building with these bricks. Or the importance of preserving a little bit of childhood. But really this is just about fun. Why wouldn’t you want to play with these and show them off?
Our Lego set building days have slowed down, but as Lego becomes more mainstream – what with that recent and popular Lego movie, as well as many geeky sets coming out… It’s a pretty acceptable time to be a Lego geek, regardless of your gender. If only I could have showed my grandmother this letter from Lego that’s been circulating online lately.
A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls houses.
The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.
I’d like to think this message for boys and girls extends to adults too.