This post is most satisfyingly read when lustily narrated in your head by Beyoncé. I’ll give you a minute to go put on some slow jams. Light a candle if you’re feeling fancy. This one goes out to my number one (and only!) husband.
Hey there, Hot Dad.
Did you know that you, along with all the other Hot Dads of the world, have to do approximately nothing to get our attention? That’s right. You have to do little more than exist in the vicinity of your children, and we get hotter than a malfunctioning Lite Brite.
Remember the last time you and I took all the kids out together? I was holding our two oldest on each of my hips, sweating bullets as I went through every trick in the book to distract them and keep up the appearance of having well behaved children? No one really noticed, but that’s totally fine. Seriously! It’s my job, right? Nothing to see here. No big deal that I am owning this situation and basically earning the rights to that #1 Mom mug in this moment — in heels. I live to serve!
But I looked over at you, doing nothing but snapping your gum at the smiling baby in your arms, and then glanced at our surroundings. Women, from all directions, were gazing at you with glimmering, doe-eyed expressions. From little girls to that biddy with the walker, they were spellbound.
They looked at you longingly, like they were watching the hero in a then-comes-baby sequel to any Nicholas Sparks story. (And, for the record, the middle-aged mom was just looking at your butt — but I can respect that.) Then they each came up to you to tell you what a great dad you are.
What IS THAT? (Besides my jealousy.) Listen, I know you’re a great dad. You are. Plus you’re young and virile and an excellent reproducer. You love our children and they love you. But do we really live in a world where, in the 21st century, we’re still driven by these primitive reflexes? Women can vote. We can be leaders in the work force. We are smart, empowered, and independent! But we see any remotely attentive father figure and become puddles of domestic yearning, blinded by his family-making potential?
Considering we’ve had three children in four years, I’ll go with “yes.” Yes, apparently that’s the world we live in. I’m as irritated by it as I am swept up in it.
Hooo boy, did I just see you microwave the kids’ corn of your own volition? Hand me those frozen mini-waffles ’cause it’s getting a little too steamy in here.
Stop the Raffi music — did you just offer to read them an extra bedtime story without skipping every other page? Better make it quick, ’cause I’m thinking of attachment-parenting all over you tonight.
You helped the kids draw a picture…. of ME?
Hold onto your dad hat, ’cause I’m about to do you dirty with an old-fashioned, not-recommended-by-the-AAP spanking.
And sometimes, you even knock it out of the park — like that time you took all the kids grocery shopping while I had brunch with my friends. Swoon.
Sadly, this generally doesn’t work both ways. Sure, I get the occasional nod from a seedy old guy (thanks for the ego boost, pharmacy patron Bernie), but I know you’ve never thought to yourself, Hey girl, get a load of those two….big…sexy….bags under your eyes from being up with the baby for 19 hours. Or, The way you defused that tantrum makes me want to rip off your spit-up-laden shirt and not be totally repulsed by it! And I know that even when I rock the parenting game in public, you will always get more attention, primarily because our society still considers fatherly involvement a novelty.
I can deal with the lack of public praise; I understand that I spend more time with the kids and that’s what people are accustomed to seeing. And at the end of the day, if the attention brought on by our raging Neanderthal hormones encourages you and other men like you to be more nurturing and kind to our children, then I am all for it. But here’s to hoping that paternal participation (say that five times!) in child-rearing won’t always cause such a spectacle. And feel free to tell me how beautiful I am when I’m juggling a toddler and a lasagna or haphazardly throwing the screaming children at you upon your return home from work — just a thought!
As for today, though, it doesn’t take much to impress most of us members of the fairer sex. Whether you’re in the grocery store, in the back yard, or even (especially) at story time at the library — we like what we see. Watching you love the children we love and helping us raise them… well, that’s what makes a dad a Hot Dad.