It’s overwhelmingly touching to have friends and family gather to share in the excitement of an imminent newborn, and to share in relieving the oftentimes alarming cost that comes with that child’s arrival.
So does it make me a bad guy to not want to attend any baby shower, ever?
Not having to attend showers of any variety is supposed to be one of the great benefits of being a man. In exchange for dying sooner, we get to pee standing up, and we never have to sit in a big circle and watch someone open gifts.* I think that’s fair.
*The above stereotyping of a typical baby shower is gleaned from movies I have seen, plus showers described by my wife. Which passes for fact-checking these days.
When I heard that my wife, pregnant, will be having not one but two baby showers, I immediately thought, “How nice of our friends and family.” Then: “I wonder if those free Sunday afternoons fall during March Madness?” (Actual order of those thoughts may have been reversed.)
So imagine my surprise when my wife tells me she expects me to be present, in one form or another, for both of these events. Now, one of them involves me hanging out with other menfolk while the actual shower action happens elsewhere in the house. I guess they want us to be close by in case of, I don’t know, a bear attack. This is fine. But for the other one, I’m right there in the mix, cooing over onesies and playing games.
I tried to bargain. “Can’t I just make an appearance at the end, like I did for the wedding shower?” I asked. That arrangement, I felt, had worked perfectly: I was able to breeze in after the cupcakes were served and the ladies were a little tipsy on chardonnay, tell a few jokes, thank everyone, and flee. The perfect compromise, right?
No such luck this time. My wife made the indisputable point that it’s my baby as well, and that this particular shower is being thrown by my family. So, I’m currently booked for an afternoon of whatever it is that happens at a baby shower.
Here’s a question for the women out there: Do you really want your babydaddy at your shower? Is it important that he share the experience with you? That the homonyms ‘presents’ and ‘presence’ meet by the coffee table? And is it bad form if he keeps his coat on, lingers by the door and noisily jingle his keys the entire time?
Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian. You can follow him on twitter @pauldanielbeer.
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