Baby Showers Aren’t Just For Women. Or Babies.

By BOB WIRE

Time was, the baby shower was the exclusive domain of the female, and the men were able to enjoy four or five hours of uninterrupted manhood, watching a game on TV, beer in one hand and stogie in the other, while the women work themselves into a frenzy over such things as a bib with a duck on it.

But no more.

Today’s dads are expected to be every bit the soccer mom as the moms, and it begins with the baby shower. (I suppose technically you could say it begins when the guy quits drinking upon learning of the pregnancy, but he soon finds out that her pregnancy is the WORST time for him to quit drinking. Especially during the fourth and fifth trimesters.)

So the daddy-to-be attends the baby shower, which has morphed into a coed affair. I witnessed such an event a couple weekends ago, at the home of a good friend who had, in fact, hosted OUR baby shower some 16 years ago. All the memories of that shindig came flooding back this weekend, as I chuckled into my beer (there’s beer!) while the baby-daddy and his wife opened gift after gift, seeing more and more hard evidence that This Is Really Happening.

The baby-daddy recently turned 30, so he’s no greenhorn. I think the more life you get under your fingernails, the better father you’re apt to be. With experience comes wisdom, with wisdom comes patience, and with patience comes…a PS3 with an extra controller?!? Niiiiice. His buddies had pitched in on the gift, and also threw in a copy of Burnout Paradise, I guess to help the infant perfect his or her drifting technique.

I was forbidden to choose the gift from the Wire family. I had planned on going to Murdoch’s Home and Ranch Supply, because really, aren’t we just getting feed and tack for a baby? I had the “new baby” kit all figured out: a set of spring clamps, two rolls of duct tape, a garden hose, a stainless steel food bowl, and a tarp. Oh, and I would stop by the liquor store for a fifth of Johnny Walker Red. (“Just a few drops, and the crying soon stops!”) But my plans were scuttled, and Barb went out and purchased some more traditional items.

I have to hand it to the young father-to-be’s parents—they really know how to throw a baby shower. Start with a barbecue and a cooler full of beer, and man, a guy would enjoy a quilting bee after that. My job was to simmer the brats in Old Milwaukee before they hit the grill. I thoroughly enjoyed this simple, manly pursuit, and it put me in a receptive mood for all the games that had been lined up.

Drinking with children makes the day go faster.

“URP!! Oh, man, I just crapped mypants.”

One game involve guessing the girth of the mother-to-be by snipping off a length of ribbon. Well, most of us guys reeled off several yards, which probably could wrap around a two-car garage. One cagey guest was disqualified when we noticed he was holding a cloth tape measure while giving the pregnant woman a friendly hug. Cheating bastard.

Another game was the obligatory baby pool. I stuffed a fin into the jar and filled out my slip. When all the slips were filled out, someone thought it would be fun to read all the predictions. When she started reading them off, I began to realize that perhaps I had misunderstood the rules. “Okay, here’s Bob Wire’s slip,” she read. “Date. Well, Bob, you wrote today’s date.”

“I thought it was kind of like a deposit slip?”

“Well, there’s still time.” Much laughter. “Okay. Weight. One hundred ninety-two pounds?” She looked at me like I’d just hocked a loogie in the punch bowl.

“Well,” I said, patting my stomach. “I did have three brats.”

“Not YOUR weight, you idiot, the weight of the baby!” More laughter, but I suspect now they were laughing at me, not with me. “Okay. Let’s see what he wrote for sex: Yes, please.”

Okay, so I lost the baby pool. Maybe they can put the money toward a copy of Tour of Duty.

Once that debacle was over, they moved directly to the gift opening, where the baby daddy was repeatedly required to act excited over the appearance of, say, a three-pack of onesies, or a bottle brush.

At one point he peeled the gift wrap off a box of disposable diapers. Reading the label, he said, “8 to 12 pounds? Man, these things really hold a lot! I’ll bet one diaper will last a couple days.”

On the heels of the disposable diapers came something called the Diaper Genie II, which is an airtight diaper pail. This got the attention of their dog, who was no doubt thinking, at last, a self-serve lunch truck!

While the gifts were being opened, the guests chattered with small talk. I told the elderly woman seated next to me that my wife had given birth to our first child in a pool of warm water.

“Oh, that’s become a very popular method,” she said with a nod of approval.

“Yeah, and it really cleared out the shallow end.” I took a pull off my beer and she excused herself to go get some wine. She never came back.

Finally the baby daddy opened up a little extra gift that I’d slipped in while Barb wasn’t looking. The Johnny Walker Red.

“I think a little taste of that will come in handy,” I said. “Those late nights, with the crying and the gas, and the tantrums and all.”

“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully, hefting the bottle. “And it might work for the baby too.”

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   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blogarchive.

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Bob Wire is medicated and ready to rock.

Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.