When a guy throws a party, this is what you get:
1) Saturated fats in bags adorned with animated characters and words that often end in O (Tostito, Dorito, Cheeto, Frito).
2) A television where athletic men in numbered jerseys are screamed at by unathletic men in numbered jerseys.
3) A metal barrel filled with trash talking, frequent peeing, and singalongs in the key of wounded otter.
Near the end of these parties, a fight breaks out. The men are separated, and are given more liquid inebriant. They come back together and hug it out, rejuvenated by a Fight Club-like adrenalin rush. Somewhere a bro, or a dude, earns his wings.
But here’s the problem: We love these parties. I love these parties. We abort real-life responsibilities for these parties. We lie to our spouses about these parties to make them seem more adult. Yes dear, we talked about how our kids are doing in school. (We actually argued whether the Falcons-Bears game would be more interesting if they pitted actual falcons against actual bears).
No matter what kind of party we’re attending, guys want to turn it into a riotous, rabblerousing shebang. Show me a man at a fancy wedding, and I’ll show you a man with his shirttails hanging out and a sweat thong on the back of his rented tuxedo pants. It’s just in our DNA.
Have you noticed that when a woman mentions throwing a baby shower for a friend, the man within closest proximity says, “Why don’t dads get a baby shower?” Which is another way of saying, “Can I drink because I'm fertile?” The answer is no, bro, because unborn babies and beer pong don’t mix. It’s no surprise that the only male baby shower trend that’s even slightly popular is “chuggies and Huggies.” This is where a bunch of guys give the dad-to-be beer and diapers. I knew a guy in college who showed up to a party with beer and diapers. He didn't want to miss a second of the Super Bowl.
So I found myself a little out of sorts when I joined five other women to throw a couples’ baby shower for my brother Aaron and his girlfriend Katie. There I was, sitting at the initial planning meeting, sticking out like a unicyclist in the Tour de France. They talked about the color scheme, the cake, the décor, the cake’s color scheme. They discussed a theme. A theme?! The only theme party I’d ever thrown was the one where we all used red Solo cups. Way better than the Styrofoam-coffee-cups-stolen-from-work party I threw the year before.
And here’s the thing: the baby shower we threw was amazing, and it was because of the women’s details. Sabrina’s clever moustache theme (Aaron and Katie are having a boy), Misha’s never-ending food presentation (no ‘O’ snacks within a five-mile radius), Suzi's "Name That Bean" guessing game, the tiny moustaches Amanda strategically placed on the bathroom mirrors. It made Aaron and Katie feel special. It made them feel like the party - just like the boy in Katie’s belly - was all their own. Made especially for them.
You will never open Parenting and find a story about the growing trend of male-only baby showers. Because it’s something we will never do for ourselves. We like things simple, i.e. easy, requiring no thought and minimal effort. (Exhibit A: Any bachelor’s apartment.) You can throw a Doritos party for a bunch of dudes. But not for a child.
So next time, suggest a couples’ baby shower: a mix that brings out the best of both genders. It’s attention to detail and genuine thoughtfulness, but with the shirttails hanging out.