A former colleague, Howard Ludwig, writes in his stay-at-home-dad column about some serious insanity overtaking the lifestyle section these days:
A good number of at-home fathers I know dropped their collective jaws last month after reading an article titled “Navigating Play Dates with Stay-at-Home Dads.”
Wilmette-based Make It Better, an online and print publication for families on the North Shore, produced the article. Tips include avoiding play dates with “a dad you find attractive” and asking your husband to chaperone a play date with a stay-at-home dad and his children.
Now, the article was called to my attention by a group of at-home dads, many of whom actively advocate for full-time fathers. Their reaction mirrored my own, which was equal parts astonishment and feeling offended. One of my buddies even referenced the article on his Facebook page and changed his status to read, “I’m too sexy for your play date.”
Like we’re not already paranoid. Now every guy taking his kids to the playground is a potential sex pervert? Christ.
And a CHAPERONE? I get how going blind on tequila with somebody you secretly think is a babe is probably a bad idea, but “HUNNY, come along to the jungle gym with me and the kids so I don’t accidentally make out with Dadster McHottie over by the swings?” Really?
(Also, apparently lesbian moms are not a threat, though you would think, if being around someone who could potentially want to sex you was cause for concern, this would be an issue, too.)
It’s one thing to say to YOURSELF that perhaps the texting with the guy down the street is getting out of hand and you should back it off. It’s another to view even the presence of menfolk as a de facto temptation. The idea that men and women can’t be friends because mere proximity sets off some kind of MUST SCREW NOW beacon needs to die a bloody, painful, most of all quick death. Then we can stake it, cut off its head, bury it at the crossroads, salt the earth, buy a spaceship, and nuke the site from orbit just to be sure.
I hate this trope. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. It’s demeaning to women, it’s demeaning to men, it advances dangerously sexist nonsense about how we’re separate species who can only speak through interpreters, and it teaches us not to trust each other because OMG SEXING. If we don’t think of one another as people, how can we have any expectation of respect?
Yes, high-pressure situations can blur boundaries and yes, people cheat on each other all the time, but none of those situations are occasioned by geography. We’re not guinea pigs, where if you put us in the same aquarium we have to hump.