Consciously attempting to give someone “I’m married” vibes is not something I am used to having to do.
After all, I have so forgettable of a face that even people who are “good with faces” have a hard time remembering meeting me the first time.
But a couple of months ago, there was I minding my own business at Starbucks during my lunch break, reading a book on how to read people, when a college-aged looking girl asked me to watch her laptop while she went to the restroom.
When she returned, with a deadpan delivery, I said something like, “Your laptop is still there, so I must have intimidated any potential laptop thieves.”
That was just my non-boring way of relieving my job duties now that she had returned. But maybe it sent a different message?
Barely a minute later, she dropped her pen, which happened to roll to my direction. So of course, I picked up it and handed it to her, barely even looking her in the eyes, as to make the favor as generic as possible.
Then she started asking questions, like if I was also a student. The thought of someone mistaking me for a 22 year-old caught me off guard. After all, when I turned 22, the year was 2003!
By this point, I knew officially that I needed to bring my left hand to my chin, as to flash my wedding ring to her like a Batman signal. To no avail.
The questions kept coming and she ended up asking me what I did for a living. Sure, I have a day job, but I felt it necessary to go ahead and cut straight to the chase:
“I write a daily blog column for a magazine’s website. It’s called Parents magazine.”
From there, I was able to throw in a “my wife and I” in conjunction to my son.
Whew. It was a relief to finally make that message clear: I’m married.
I was caught off-guard that day. I didn’t want to let the mystery continue for any longer than it needed to. At the same time though, I didn’t want to be rude to the nice and seemingly innocent girl.
It’s a delicate balance of being both direct and subtle in a case like this.
Personally, I don’t expect this to happen again anytime soon. Who knows? Maybe when I’m 42, someone will think I’m 31.
And if that’s the case, I’ll do the classic “left hand to the chin” move, followed by a “my wife and I.”
If that doesn’t work, I think I’ll just pick up my phone and casually give my wife a call right then and there.
Being flattered by a curious stranger who thinks I’m single; well, it does me no good.
There’s nothing good that can come out of me allowing myself to think for a second, “Man, I still got it. This chick digs me.”
That’s one of the many reasons I wear my wedding ring; especially when my wife and son aren’t around.
It’s an instant reminder, as if I needed it, that I already have a beautiful girl who digs me, and I’ve been married to her for over 4 years.
These days, it’s not always enough to give “I’m married” vibes.
Sometimes you have to give the “I’m happily married” vibes instead.
Part of my agenda as the daddy blogger for a major parenting website is to positively re-brand fatherhood; to reinforce the fact that a dad changing his kid’s diaper is not ironic at all and that taking care of his own kid without Mommy around is not babysitting… it’s a man taking care of his own kid.
That’s the world we live in and that’s the generation I’m a part of.
Needless to say, I am not cool with the cartoonish concept of a soon-to-be dad having a drunken party (or the likeness thereof) with his buddies to celebrate his final days of freedom before he inevitably says goodbye to his sex life and his ability to watch football games on his 56 inch TV without being interrupted by his crying infant or nagging wife, which therefore makes his life a 1980′s sitcom hell.
Just to be sure that I’m not exaggerating what Dadchelor Parties are all about, an article on The Huffington Post describes them as an event “where men bring diapers in exchange for beer, while others are more extravagant and involve all day bar-hopping or even a destination weekend. All seem to involve drinking, sporting events, gambling, and more drinking.”
Okay, okay, but what about the non-drunken version of a Dadchelor Party?
What’s wrong with a soon-to-be dad hanging out with a couple of friends to share some beers and smoke some cigars in an effort to invite the days of fatherhood in a more sophisticated fashion?
Well, I guess I don’t have too big of a problem with that, except for the simple fact I don’t know anyone in my version of the real world who would think that’s cool; especially when attached with the phrase Dadchelor Party, Daddymoon, or Manshower.
I have a feeling that my own friends would actually think that having a “Manshower” is not only tacky, but also, uh…
Manshower? Come on, need I say more?
So what am I offering as a legitimate and respectable alternative? I say the kind of man who I would consider cool enough to be my friend would leave me out of the equation all together and instead take his wife on a babymoon.
The phrase “babymoon” is uber trendy, and therefore annoying, and is not a word I will ever speak aloud, but the concept of taking your pregnant wife on a getaway trip before the baby comes is righteous.
My wife and I went on [one of those] before our son was born an then we went on another one about 6 months after he was born.
It’s a good thing; especially for husbands and expecting fathers who, you know, are A) actually responsible adults B) who respect their wives and C) can understand that having a good time doesn’t need to require a hangover afterwards.
But for those soon-to-be dads who would rather flirt with 20 year-old waitresses at bars all weekend while getting “plastered,” and then brag about it the next week on Facebook, all in the name of a Dadchelor Party, you’ve lost your man card.
I don’t feel threatened by how the government defines marriage because I firmly believe in the importance of separating church and state.
Do certain conservative believers in the Christian god have exclusiveness over the right to marriage, as recognized by the American government?
If so, then it’s time to start converting any non-Christian couples before they wed.
There is marriage as recognized by the nation I am a citizen of; then there is marriage as recognized by the particular religious faith I belong to.
Two separate things… and the first one is not something I’m too concerned with.
Though it makes me feel good that my wife took my last name.
It’s actually pretty funny to me when the same people who complain about the Ten Commandments not being displayed in government buildings can not even name all ten of the commandments.
And I always think it’s ridiculous when I hear that “they took prayer out of schools.” No. No they didn’t.
(I’m assuming “they” is referring to Communists and this is the year 1985?)
As the dad of a toddler and the husband of a Christian woman, I pray while holding them both each morning before we go our separate ways for the day. When my son Jack goes to his daycare, I don’t expect them to have prayer for him there.
If I want to teach my son to pray or to learn the Ten Commandments, then it’s my responsibility as his dad to teach him in my home.
I laughed pretty hard recently when I heard a guy complaining about the Presidential support of “legalizing gay marriage,” saying that it threatens the sanctity of marriage and the future of America.
The most obvious reason his viewpoint was invalid is because he unashamedly admits to watching pornography regularly and says there’s nothing wrong with flirting with other women in bars because at the end of the night he’s not going home with them, he’s going home to his wife.
Here’s what I know:
I’m protecting the sanctity of my marriage by loving my wife the best way I know how. That includes not coveting other women, keeping strong and open communication with my wife, spending quality time with her, and being the best dad I can be to our son. Oh, and prayer, too.
But not the kind endorsed by the government… because, you know, the government took away prayer from us.
Here’s the video I stole from a friend on Facebook that inspired this article. Now handing the mic to Julie Borowski:
In our pop culture, we have been conditioned to accept and relate to the cliche that men are constantly on the verge of forgetting their own wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and/or Mother’s Day. At best, men at least need to be reminded of these dates regarding the love of their life and the mother of their children.
The Wal-Mart commercial above features this exact concept. I apologize for the poor quality, but I am assuming Wal-Mart pulled the actual one from YouTube after realizing how it negatively stereotypes men.
I decided to take matters into my own hands in outing this familiar cliche about men. In the attempt to find out if there was any truth to husbands forgetting important dates in regards to their own wife, I asked Twitter and Facebook this question:
“Husbands, have you ever completely forgotten your wife’s birthday or your wedding anniversary? Wives, has your husband ever completely forgotten your birthday or wedding anniversary?”
Guess how many people agreed that this has happened to them?
Instead, I received only comments from wives bragging on their husbands never forgetting these dates and from husbands who said not only would they not forget, but that it’s impossible to forget amidst all the commercialization of these holidays and events.
Here’s the simple truth: Men don’t forget their own wife’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and/or Mother’s Day. That would be sort of impossible.
In fact, I’d say we not only don’t forget, but we can’t forget.
Consider how many thousands of sports stats most men keep stored in their brains. Consider history buffs; most of which seem to be males. Men are wired to remember important numbers and events; regardless of their individual math skills.
I talked to a guy at work about this recently. He responded with, “Yeah, that’s ridiculous. I’ll never forget my ex-wife’s birthday and our anniversary; and I’ve been remarried for a few years now.”
So sure, as a wife, I can see how it can be frustrating when your husband can instantly spit out who won the Super Bowl in 2006, yet forgets to pack the diaper bag before the trip the park.
But even if our short-term memories are crowded by random number-based facts like knowing what year the first Star Wars movie came out (1977) or that at 6′ 4″ Abraham Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President, those important dates regarding our wives and kids are taking up precious space too.
Do men have selective memories? Sure, but I guarantee we select to remember our own wife’s birthday. Not to mention our own, Wal-Mart.
If you have a “Man Cliche” you’d like for me to expose here on The Dadabase, let me know in a comment and I’ll consider writing about it in your honor!
Today I help out a fellow dad whose wife has revoked his ability to help with their kid and the housework… or has she?
“Nick, what advice do you have for me on this? Since our infant child arrived several months ago, my wife complains (or mutters under her breath) on a daily basis that I’m not helpful enough with the baby or the housework, then complains when I do try to help.
She tells me it’s just easier to do it herself. I can’t win! Help me dude!”
Let me guess. Like me, you’ve always been a pretty laid-back guy. You’re friendly. You tend not to let things bother you, for the most part.
I say, that’s a great way to be; except for all the times that being aggressive and proactive come in to play. As a dad and husband, that actually ends up being a lot of the time.
Your wife is ultimately upset, not because she would rather do things herself, but because she’s having to take on the majority of the household duties, including caring for your child.
She needs you to take charge, even if you have to figure it out as you go along.
I get it. You don’t know as much about where the mixing bowl and the pasta strainer belong; nor do you know exactly how to fold the kitchen towels the right way.
You’re a man, so it’s frustrating that you don’t naturally know as much about the world of Home Ec; much less what to do with a crying infant who at this point can not tell you exactly what he or she wants or needs.
I understand how you feel when you say your wife wants you to read her mind. There’s a Colbie Collait song called “Realize” that sums it up for me:
“I can’t spell it out for you. No, it’s never gonna be that simple.”
The #1 item on that nonexistent list of hers is for you to figure out for yourself all the other items on that list.
But isn’t that reading her mind?
Technically, but let me translate this scenario into guy language: Imagine if every time before you and your wife had sex, she said, “The reason I’m doing this is because I know it’s one of the things you want me to do as your wife.”
[Insert screeching brakes sound effect here.]
Regarding your help with the housework and baby, she wants you to show the initiative of making that list yourself, then taking care of those tasks as needed, and not ever referring to this list to begin with. She doesn’t want you to be passive, not instead, proactive.
She wants you to want to figure out what needs to be done; which is the very thing that frustrates you.
It’s like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer is the Moviephone guy and says to George, “Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you selected?”
It may involve some trial and error, but figure out what stuff you can take care while she’s caring for the baby and everything else. Observe what specifically is that “everything else” and add it to the list.
Pretty soon, you’ll have “the list” memorized and make a daily habit of checking off those items naturally by habit.
Washed dishes and emptied dishwasher? Check.
Folded laundry? Check.
Rock the baby to sleep for afternoon nap? Check.
Observed that your wife has stopped complaining about you not helping out enough because you care enough to figure out how to lighten her burden? Check.
Would you like to ask me for “dadvice” to be featured here on The Dadabase?
Just shoot me an email to nickshell1983@hotmail with the word “dadvice” in the subject line so I’ll know it’s not spam. Even if I decide not to use your question as part of my Dadvice franchise, I’ll still at least privately answer you; whether you’re a mom or dad.
Keep in mind it doesn’t have to be about communication in marriage. It could be about organic foods and health remedies, methods on getting your baby to sleep, a re-occurring dream about your kid; just whatever kind of weird parenthood related thing you are wondering about and want this dad’s quirky opinion on.