Summer’s creeping up and we all know what that means, right? Weddings showers and baby showers. Is there not a woman out there who looks at her summer calendar and already thinks, “Well guess that date is already spoken for, and that one, and that one…”?
Yes, I meant “woman” because we all know men rarely participate in these events. The question that begs to be asked is “Why the hell not?” Now I know someone’s going to read this and get so anxious to type in the comments section, “Oh, but I’m so egalitarian. My hubs and I had a couples shower.” To that person, I doff my cap! Seriously, that is evidence that some strides are being made. However, I think we can collectively agree that these showers are deeply rooted in the backwoods of heavy traditionalism.
Has anyone else thought about why we do this? Why unquestioned, unchallenged pervasive reaches of traditionalism steal into these big life events. Those presents are not gender specific. Men use blenders. Men use plates and glasses. Men use car seats and strollers. But of course women don’t use power tools, right? When I walked into my own shower and saw a ladder propped up, my MIL said, “Well you know that’s for my son.” Well my sweet tea in the heavens! Of course it is! I use tampons and hair dryers and nail polish, I don’t use ladders!
At most showers, the woman shows up for the whole thing. She has to get dressed up. She has to do the small talk. She has to open the presents while everyone looks on and coos politely. Then at the end, finally your big strong man after his day of golfing, yard work, drinking beer, watching sports, or playing sports saddles up into the estrogen-soaked palace and so graciously and politely picks up and carries all those heavy packages so his dainty wife doesn’t break a fingernail. Once again, the wife looks pretty and the man does the heavy lifting.
Or maybe the husband has come from a man’s party. You know what they do at those? Drink beer, watch sports, and bring diapers. Diapers that the wife probably bought and reminded the husband to bring! Why is there beer at the men’s event and “momosas” at the other? Why are men allowed to hoot and holler while watching the game while women have to be soft and polite, which watching Susie open another packet of onesies? Oh, and if the man couldn’t “baby-sit,” the wife probably had to bring the kiddo along? WHY?
I decided to Google “Couple’s baby shower” and here are some of the most puke-tastic suggestions. I say puke-tastic because there is nothing sublte about the overt, heavy-handed stereotyping of men’s likes and dislikes.
- Make the invitations guy-friendly: Don’t call it a Jack and Jill baby shower. And go easy on the pink.
- If you plan to hand out party favors, realize that most men don’t find the jellybeans in a baby bottle all that adorable.
- Have a cookout BBQ. Any get-together that involves an open flame is definitely a party that men would enjoy!
- A general baby theme is always a great choice, or a sports theme, or other hobby of the husband’s (cars, cowboy, outdoors, john deere, etc.).
- Guys usually enjoy the physical baby shower games .
- Meat is usually a good choice for your co-ed baby shower food (those carnivores!). Definitely have something more hearty than salad and bundt cake.
What message are we sending to the next generation of women every time we participate in these gender-divided events? The burden perpetually falls on us to host them, attend them, buy gifts for them, block out chunks of time for them, dress up for them, and play those games. I don’t know anyone who gets psyched to play baby bingo. If the whole point of a shower is to celebrate a wonderful life milestone, why aren’t we all celebrating together? Why isn’t the husband there and the fathers of the couple and the brothers and the uncles? Isn’t a wedding or a new baby something that everyone is equally nervous and excited about?
And if you’re a single woman, you’re really screwed. If you spend, let’s say $50, on a baby shower and a wedding shower gift, and you attend, let’s say, 15 showers by the time you’re 35. You’ve spent $750!! And your brother has managed to eek by without dropping a dime! I’m calling bullshit on this!
I’m going to a baby shower in a few months. My friend texted me for my address for the invitation. I wanted to reply, “So is my husband coming too?” Can you imagine the uproar if you had to “drag” your husband to one of these baby showers?
I’m not saying these events are a drag. I’m happy for my friends’ happiness. I want to celebrate with them. However, why aren’t men and women celebrating together? Why do men get a total pass on baby showers and a near-pass on wedding showers? My husband sat through my wedding shower and you should’ve heard what his friends had to say about that. Oh poor guy, he really got swindled on that one…
This whole custom is frustrating to me. I can find no reason why I have to attend all these events other than the fact that I was born with a vagina. That’s completely sexist once you start thinking about it.