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Friday, February 24, 2006 | Parentally Incorrect
I’m happy to be all man but there are a few times when I think women get the better end of the deal – like with baby showers.
Some of my wife’s friends and family threw her a baby shower this past weekend and she came home in a happy mood with all sorts of cool gifts for the baby (and tons of diapers).
I must admit, I felt a little sorry for myself. How come my wife’s friends and family are willing to throw her a party where she gets to open presents and I get the shaft from my guy friends? Those same guys who put their greedy paws out for cigars the minute Owen slips down that birth canal and starts screaming like a banshee.
I tried to explain my feelings to my wife and, incredibly, she felt I was being selfish.
Plus, she added, the gifts weren’t actually for her but for our new son, Owen (middle name pending).
I’m not sure I agree with that logic. Owen – who is due March 17 – will just be a blubbering blob for the first three months and will not appreciate that his “onesies” are blue or green or if they have monster trucks on them.
But my wife will. Plus, she got to open the gifts while I got diddly squat.
Of course, I shouldn’t be mad at her or her friends or my sisters. I’m mad at a patriarchal system that allows guys to ignore important rituals in their male friends except for bachelor parties.
Maybe it’s because guys don’t really think a kid exists until they’re holding the child in their sweaty palms for the first time. That’s how it felt for me with my daughter, Alexandra. Until she was actually looking at me with those grayish blue eyes that all newborn babies have, the idea I was going to be a father never really hit me.
Some guys – like Kevin Federline – never realize it.
There are some guys who try to be thoughtful when their friend is having a baby but it’s more verbal and not tangible. For instance, a guy’s idea of a baby gift is to hand over a six-pack and say, “Dude, you’re never going to sleep again. And forget about sex.”
Somehow, it’s not as thoughtful as a party like my wife had, with lots of gourmet salads and female fellowship from multiple generations.
I hinted to one guy friend that we were registered at Babies R Us but all he could say was, “Is that like Toys R Us? Are they still misspelling the word ‘are’ as the letter? I hate that. I hate bad spelling.”
I imagine if he reads this, little Owen will be getting a dictionary.
Now, if I were getting married, I’m sure these same “friends” would be gladly throwing a bachelor party because, as I’ve learned, those aren’t really for the bachelor, they’re for his married friends.
Plus, a bachelor party is supposed to represent a single man’s last attempt at “freedom,” so how do you explain a male baby shower?
How about this? Since a baby represents the ending of truly restful sleep for the rest of your life, why don’t guys throw a huge slumber party for their buddies who are about to enter the world of parenthood? It could include party favors like sleep masks, Lunesta and a tryptophan-laced Thanksgiving turkey.
On second thought: I’m not planning on having any more kids so I won’t get to benefit. Maybe we should just stick to the current manly manner rule of merely saying, “Congratulations. Guess you won’t be getting any sleep or any sex.”
Old traditions die hard.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who is looking forward to introducing his as-yet unborn son to such manly rituals as playing Frisbee golf, listening to KISS CDs and eating fatty foods when mother isn’t around.