Awhile ago my wife had the opportunity to introduce a Missouri senator at the Young Professionals group of which she was the chair. She wanted me to attend the event so I packed up our then two month old boy and went to meet her for the luncheon. As soon as I walked in I knew this would not be easy. The addition of a politician made the room charged with people who wanted to say something important and shake a lot of hands. As the senator and his wife were walking around the room she spotted the baby and quickly zeroed in on the chance to kiss it. I glanced awkwardly as I held the car seat. “Hi, glad to meet you. How old is the little one?” she asked. I quickly assessed she was asking about our baby although my wife is technically shorter than I am. “He’s two months” I replied hoping she would move on without touching him. I hated it when people wanted to touch my babies. Germs. “Well, I hope he grows up to be a conservative.” I threw up a little in my mouth at this point. The senator stood silently smiling the whole time. Maybe he had nothing to say, which would be odd for a senator, or maybe he was the Yin to my Yang and thought it was the baby who had the germs. Either way, he remained mysteriously absent from our conversation.
What do I wish he would have said to me? Since he said nothing a polite “Hi” would have been nice. Beyond that I can’t help but imagine that if I had I been the chair of the Young Professionals group the conversation would have been easier. He could have slapped me on the back and congratulated me on putting the stem on the apple and the wives could have conversed about how hard it is to get the baby fat off, or something like that. I don’t know what women talk about. Anyways, even as it was I would have been fine with him slapping my wife on the back and congratulating her on still being fertile. I’m a modern man. But, I am not going to discuss breast feeding with his wife. She’s old and that’s gross. I’ll leave that to the post modern men.
I appreciate that the stay at home dad may not appear to have a lot to bring to the table. But, if I had been the power hungry narcissist in the room I think I would have paid more attention to the people who are thinking outside the box. While my diaper changing skills are probably not important to his political career (at least I hope so), the fact remains that if you are talking to a stay at home dad you are talking a couple, a husband and a wife, who have chosen to live differently. While that may be initially uncomfortable it is worth pursuing. So, the next time you see a man with a baby, think twice. While you don’t stand a chance of converting me to the Conservative side, you will have saved yourself from being the object of an unknown bloggers rants. Take heed.