I hate baby showers. More specifically, I detest being around large groups of women. They smack their lips, gossip, compliment each other on their blouses, their charm bracelets and delicately ask about family affairs while devouring every dripping detail. Surgery stories are swapped, pill brands and doctor’s advice exchanged and everyone secretly ranks themselves against each other. The news gathered up is stored away in their overstuffed purses giving them neck aches and back problems, stalwart, steadfast symbols of their socioeconomic status and success. In the car, they ask their sisters and nieces what they thought of the awful food, the cute decorations and just what the hostess was thinking. I do not exaggerate. Women are subtly, and artfully, vicious. Cue harpies, banshees and the like.
Parties are grand acts and I am the jester, acting the innocent fool and observing it all quietly, hitting up the buffet line for thirds. No wonder Jesus made more wine at the wedding. Maybe it helped him get through it, too.
Parties offer me, as my dear friend mentioned, copy. Material, inspiration, organic fertilizer for writing. I do enjoy giving gifts, supporting people in the next chapter of their life and celebrating an impending birth. I believe in giving and assisting people in loving, thoughtful ways that build them up and help them grow. But why must we do it on a stage with daggers hidden behind our cloaks?
A Few Reasons Why I Hate Baby Showers:
- Men are typically (traditionally) not allowed at baby showers.
- My reply: How did the woman get pregnant? Answer: Male sperm through sex or artificial insemination. Therefore, men should be present, including the to-be father. Show me the studies that underscore a father’s importance in a child’s life, particularly in a little girl’s. And don’t give me the crap about women feeling threatened by men at these gatherings. You can guess my saucy reply to that line.
- The games.
- These can be hit or miss. Sometimes they’re fun and carry the time along. Other times they’re embarrassing and stupid. Stuff paper underneath my shirt and pretend I’m pregnant? No thank you. Guess the chocolate bar squished like poo in a diaper and win a prize? That’s disgusting.
- The angst.
- If you pay close enough attention, you can quickly detect family drama by seeing who’s not there. Corners of eyes are tightened, mothers yell at their daughters in corners and women whisper in the bathrooms while touching up their eye make up. It’s not loving and it’s ridiculous.
- The advice and backhanded compliments:
- All things I’ve heard, either first handed or second handed, at showers: “If you name your kid that, they’ll be gay”; “Aren’t you going to breastfeed?”; “You’re not going to try an all natural labor, are you?”; “Oh, that’s an interesting name…”; “You look so big!” and the ever favorite (heard at church) “Are you sure you’re only having one?”
- Seeing the host exhausted:
- This one tends to bother me differently than the others. There is usually a mother, a grandmother or an aunt, running around with their head chopped off, exhausted, seeing to every detail behind the scenes while wearing heels giving them blisters. They’re working their fingers to the bone after working a 40 hour work week themselves, trying to get their grandchild a good start in life. Only at one shower did I see a group of men helping behind the scenes. I could have kissed them. Women need men and men need women. Can’t it be that simple?
Happy buffet line hopping. May the olive land on your plate and the cracker match your cheese. And don’t forget to bring your writer’s notebook along.
Song: “Skinny Love”, Birdy