Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Are dads allowed?

It is nothing short of amazing what a good night's sleep will do to improve things. I went to bed early last night, Bean didn't wake up even once, and I got to sleep a full 9 hours. 9 hours of unfettered sleep! I woke up with my cheeks all pink again and a most excellent ebullient, let-it-slide mood. I forget that deep down I'm the same person I always was whenever I'm well-rested. I even have a sex drive again! Love that.

I got out of the house today, too, though it wasn't to work in the yard. I took Bean to a so-called children's museum in downtown Chapel Hill. It's basically an indoor play place with themes which, of course, doesn't have quite the ring of "museum." The exhibit--or whatever--going on just now was Mister Rogers' neighborhood which frankly wasn't much of a draw. I don't know about the rest of you 70's-era babies, but I thought Mister Rogers was at best boring and at worst creepy. Those puppets? King Friday and Queen Sarah Saturday with god-knows-whose grown-up voice doing weird falsetto behind the curtain? Turn it off, Mama!

But anyways, I took Bean there and she had a blast playing with the plastic sushi in the pretend kitchen--'cause in Chapel Hill we're all ethnic and shit--and trying on fancy capes in the dress-up clothing trunk. So Bean ran around, trashing a space I didn't have to worry about cleaning up while I got to have a real conversation with another parent. But get this--the other grown-up was a dad.

Shocking, I know. No, really. I admit that it's hard for me to get used to there being male stay-at-home parents these days, though I see quite a lot of SAHD's around town. There are even some dad members of the big mothers' club that I joined last year. One of those poor guys asked to join our playgroup a few months back, which I thought would be fine. The other moms weren't o.k. with it because I guess they felt like they might want to talk about tampons or something at some point. One of the moms emailed him back to say that our group was full, but thanks anyway and good luck. They weren't even able to articulate why they didn't want a dad to join us.

I scoff at the other moms in my playgroup, but upon introspection I am no better at all. Honestly, my first reaction today when this guy started talking to me was to turn on my radar to try to detect whether he was hitting on me or not. Even knowing that his twin boys were right there with him and that was the real reason he was there. And yes, even with him mentioning his wife a few times, which I'm pretty sure was his way of letting me know that he wasn't hitting on me. We talked about another local mothers' group that he had joined earlier in the week, which had just kicked him out yesterday, also via polite email. (They were more frank about it at least and told him that after lots of discussion, their female members felt that a man around would impede on the kind of dishing they wanted to be able to do.) But when he asked for my email address later so that we could get our kids together--who are indeed the same age--my immediate thought was, "Is this guy a serial murderer who's going to track me down and stalk me? Is he actually these boys' psycho babysitter and not their dad at all?"

I'm so lame. I think of myself as so enlightened and o.k. with the notion of fathers having equal responsibility for childcare and blah blah blah, but when faced with an actual dad who might want to get our kids together or even start the area's first real, co-ed parents' group I get nervous. I didn't get a single weirdo, creepy vibe from him and still.

(Hey, who noticed that I did not once use the phrase "male member" when discussing men in mothers' clubs? Yeah, that was on purpose.)


Joan said...

Hey you can talk about a male member if you want! I used to always have male friends - in high school, college, and even after I was married as far as my coworkers go. Now I only work with women. It's weird even having to deal with men.

Beth said...

"male member"...ha! Ha!

I have always had guy husband said that men can't be friends with women, that they always want to sleep with her, but I don't think that's true....well, I was friends, but I guess you never know what the guy is really thinking, huh? But, guy friends are cool...I think you should go for it, invite him to your grgoup or just meet at Mr. Roger's Neighborhood again, maybe....