Monday, June 30, 2008

Real Men Drink Coffee, Not Cosmos

Daddy Groups

Oh, the NYTimes Fashion and Style section. I have such mixed feelings about this part of the paper (is it really fit to print?). It's the section I love to hate - and I do have to admit that I would miss it's navel-gazing "trend" reporting (or, more accurately, trend killing) if it ceased to appear on a weekly basis.

My most recent bemusement came from Andy Newmans's "The Wife's at Work, So...," an article that chronicled the morning meetings of a "breakfast club" of NYC dads who gather after dropping the kids at school while the wife whisks off to work. While work-at-home mums have been meeting and greeting over cups of joe for ages, a new species of fatherly bonding has recently been observed. It seems drop-off dads are friendly folks, too. And that find it beneficial to spend time with their peers talking about the ups-and-downs of family life.

Now, I want to be clear - I am by no means down on parents having grown-up moments, exchanging anecdotes and advice, or others having being supportive. I think it's awesome that these particular dudes found “a way to honor fatherhood in the moment that we’re all engaged in our kids starting out in life together, and to blow off some steam doing it.” And I dig the turn towards dads being more involved - and less stigmatized - as active and equal parents.

But I'm just not sure what is so remarkable about guys drinking coffee together? Is it that boys are supposed to drink beer? Or why the ritual was "Sex"-ed up with a reference to the HBO fab four's cosmo-drinking habit? Would it be equally novel if it was a group of moms and dads? Are playground mothers really so clique-y that they shun the fathers in the after-school pick-up crowd? And why is the end-of-school-see-you-in-September sequence so awkwardly portrayed for these fatherly friends?

I guess I'm just wishing that dads could be, well, dads without it seeming so strange - and headline worthy.


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2 comments:

  1. If this were "normal" in America (or anywhere else) for men, it wouldn't merit any type of write up.

    We have not come so far when it comes to role reversing or with the idea that stay at home parenting is an option for both genders and isn't as remarkable or self-sacrificing as it is simply practical for some people.

    Raising ones own children and still being adults with adult needs are just not mainstream or at least visible in our society yet.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Anniegirl1138. You make me think of another issue that this article does not address: the fact that not all families have the economic option to have one parent stay at home. The need for dual incomes makes a stay-at-home-parenting impossible.

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