Thursday, January 28, 2010

All that and a bag of chips

[Editors' note - This was originally intended to be a side note @ side bar but it was too long. Not really related to parenthood, but we gave some wiggle room to Daddio this week. Enjoy and as always, thanks for reading.]

When the boys and the girls split up for sex education in fifth grade, what the hell do the teachers say to the girls about what happens if they do not bring an elaborate combination of appetizers or hors d’ouevres when they go to a party? Do they become branded with a hot iron or something? Is their name written down in a book called “Awful women who don’t bring good appetizers to parties so you should hate them forever!” that circulates at secret women’s clubs? Where does this hellish state of anxiety originate from?

Before I can even get the words out about some party that we’ve been invited to, the wife is already scanning recipes on the Internets and polling friends with blanket e-mails from her Blackberry about any recommendations.

Me: [INSERT FRIEND] is having a party next month. It’s gonna be awesome. I wonder if he’ll get an ice luge so that we can -

Wife: WHAT ARE WE GONNA BRING? I can’t do the bread bowl because I think I did that last time they had a party. Maybe I’ll do that shrimp dish that [INSERT FRIEND] made at my girl’s night last month. But oh no, [INSERT FRIEND] was at the same girl’s night and she’ll probably be at the party, so I can’t make that dish.

Me: (wincing noticeably and then groaning loudly) What? Who the hell cares? (exasperated) We’ll just bring booze or a bag of chips. Or something.

Wife: (indignant) We are NOT showing up with a bag (strong intonation on this word, like she was spitting out a piece of spoiled food) of CHIPS! (ending the sentence with serious disgust, as if she was Kate Gosselin describing one of Jon's current girlfriends.)

And so it goes. For every single cookout, birthday party, play date, couples dinner, or even just watching a football game – this conversation inevitably arises in some shape or form.

Granted, before marriage, I wallowed in a Neanderthal state when it came to party etiquette crap. For example, I didn’t know that writing “plus one” on a wedding RSVP even though my invite had no “and guest” on it, was inappropriate. Woops, my bad. Even worse, my go-to trick for any party regardless of the occasion was asking if anyone saw my bulldog before I dropped my pants and ran around on all fours barking to give a description of what he looked like.

So when it came to attending a party at a buddy’s house, I thought showing up with a 12-pack and a bag of Doritos was a nice touch. The furthest thing from my mind was deliberating between picking up pastries from a really cute patisserie in the South End, or buying cookies at Joseph’s Bakery on K Street. I certainly didn’t spend three hours using foreign kitchen appliances to make a complicated fruit dip while obsessing whether the partygoers would like it and then ask 20 questions after the party about how it tasted and whether I saw other people eating it.

What the hell is wrong with bringing a bag of Cool Ranch? Everyone likes the ‘Ritos. They’re like crack mixed with tortilla chips.

Honestly, can someone break it down for me? Is there like a Martha Stewart blackball list of partygoer-food-bringers? If so, I have a feeling I'm on the men's version. By the way, sorry to anyone about the whole adding "plus one" to my wedding invitation! Awkward. Anyone bold enough to confess that I did this to them? Yikes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Going Wookie

A ginormous, curly, pubic-like hair strayed way off course from my right eyebrow this morning. Upon closer inspection, there were probably five or six other renegades similarly deserting their ranks on both sides of the brow. To be honest, the furry eyebrow phenomenon has been an epidemic for me since G was born or probably even earlier. Perhaps the cause is more attributable to my age, but I can’t shake the thought that becoming a dad somehow exacerbated my body hair situation.

In addition to the brows, I’ve sprouted ear hair like a fireworks display over the Charles on the Fourth of July. I pluck em’ but they grow back like weeds. I'm a mess.

Now, the nose hairs aren’t as lush as the ear hairs, but when one goes rogue – it’s a distracting situation for any passersby. Last week, I had a party favor just whistling in the wind beneath my nostril. I roamed around completely oblivious to the straggler dangling around at different angles depending on whether I was inhaling or exhaling. Fortunately, my brother (who is obsessed with spotting ear/nose/brow hair) called me out. My cousin Emily courageously did the honors. Thank you.

Meanwhile, amongst the explosion of facial orifice hair, my facial scruff still pales in comparison to the five o’clock shadow that most of my buddies had in the sophomore year of high school. If I grow out the stache, say five days, my upper lip looks like it’s got dirt on it. The side burns are splotchy. And there’s nothing whatsoever that connects between the tomb stone area and the lamp chop. It’s kind of a Bering Strait in that region. It's pathetic. Just once, I'd like to go Grizzly Adams.

As for south of the border, it’s at least less of a disaster. Granted the trimming is much less frequent than the days pre-wife, but it’s not like I’m a candidate to star in a 70’s porn yet. In other words, I’m not wearing Chewbacca’s undies but I’m not exactly a Bic poster boy.

Speaking of which, how the hell do I ever address the issue of bikini waxing with Greta? Does that fall under mom’s department? Or is that in the “let her learn about it from friends” category? Or do I lean on one of her aunt-like figures to discuss the pros and cons of shaving versus waxing versus Nair?

On one hand, I don’t want G to be at a pool party in junior high with boys and experience a Miranda-in-Mexico-with-Carrie situation. She’ll be ostracized as the muff monster or something else horrible like that. But then again, I would have no clue how to even open the conversation.

G: Dad, I’m going to the Noonans’ pool party next weekend. Don’t worry, Jack and Molly said their mom and dad are gonna be there. But I don’t want you to go. Please stay at home. You’re a freak show and you embarrass me.

Me: Oh okay, have a great time. By the way, did you get a bikini wax?

Eeeeeeekkkkkk! Record screech. That convo’s not happening. Nevermind, I’ve got it.
Be forewarned all you aunty and godmotherly figures to G-sizzle ... when I nod at you and say “Wookie Talk” many years from now, I hope you remember this post. I'm relying on you!

And by the way, between now and then, please tell me if you catch me with a renegade brow/nose/ear hair and I’m clueless to it. Much obliged.