Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shattering Stereotypes

As my hair stylist draped the smock over me she asked, “So what are we doing today?”

“Cut it short,” I said. “Super short.”

“Really?” She replied. “Is WonderWife™ going to be okay with that?”

I stared at her incredulously. “She doesn’t run her hair choices by me before she gets a hair cut.”

I was truly shocked at the question. This is a woman who’s been cutting my hear for nearly 12 years. I see her more often than some of my friends. She also cuts WW™’s hair. She’s known me before I met my wife. She knows us as a couple. She knows about our relationship. Yet for some reason, she has the misguided perception that I need to get permission on my choice of hair style.

The next morning the kids were getting dressed. Sprout decided on a flower print top with a paisley pattern skirt. Now I’m no fashionista, but even I knew that this was a horrible, garish combo. Yet WonderWife™ and I encourage our kids to dress how they like, even if the outfits are disastrous.

I had plans to take the kids to the aquarium that day. “You know this is going to reflect on me,” I said to WW™.

“What? No it won’t.”

“I’ll be out in the world with two kids by myself. Everyone who sees Sprout’s outfit is going to think that I dressed her.”

“Oh,” said WonderWife™. “Yeah I guess you’re right.”

It’s amazing in this time of dad’s being more involved than ever that the notion of the hen-pecked husband or clueless father still runs rampant today. It’s a stereotype that I work hard to shatter.

So where does this come from? As much as I hate to bag on my beloved television, a lot of this primitive thinking is spoon fed from the magic box. Modern Family is a great show, but Phil Dumphy is an idiot—the prototypical clueless dad who leans on his wife for everything. Commercials are even worse. How about the Yoplait ad where the woman is on the phone talking to her friend about eating Boston Cream Pies while the husband stares into the fridge, directly past the many yogurt containers clearly marked Boston Cream Pie that are stacked up on the shelf at his eye level while attempting to look for the sweets his wife is describing?

This kind of dad discrimination has to stop. Women, look around you. Us guys are not as clueless and inadequate as we’re made out to be. I do not need to ask my wife’s permission to hang out with friends, see a movie, buy clothes or get my hair cut. When I make plans I will often confer with my wife to make sure I haven’t forgotten some errant birthday party. But that is consideration, not permission.

It’s true that WonderWife™ runs the household. It’s true that I may, at times, ask here where the toilet paper is when I know exactly where we keep it. But that’s laziness, not ineptitude. When it comes to the things that matter in our lives, I’m an equal partner. I’m really good at being a husband and father. I am not clueless and I am not a stereotype.

And besides, my wife really likes my hair super short.

11 comments:

SFD said...

Amen.

Dr. J said...

"I do not need to ask my wife’s permission to hang out with friends, see a movie, buy clothes or get my hair cut."

Clearly you have a comfortable couch to sleep on.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

SFD...Thanks.

Dr. J...I'm not taking the bait.

the slackmistress said...

We're too busy making you hold our purse at the clothing store while you dream of going to the monster truck rally to pay attention. :)

(And I have to say that my husband runs all clothing choices by me. But he's colorblind.)

Kristin said...

I look forward to one day having an equal partner. If men were really as inept as pop culture portrays them, I'd probably never marry again.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Slackmistress...Monster trucks? You don't know me very well. I'm more of a Nascar kind of guy.

Kristin...TV says a lot of things. That's why I like the movies. They never exaggerate.

Andrea said...

You know I worry about my kids clothes too. I make up 'outfits' for Chick and put them in gallon plastic bags right down to the underwear and socks. That way I can just say 'pick a bag sweetie, it's all in there' then I don't have to worry, cause lets just say, she's come up with some doozies. Now Thor at 9 1/2 walks out the house to school in blue and orange plaid shorts and an orange and white stripe t-shirt. I've tried to suggest different things. 'But mom they both have orange.'

He's got me there.

Men used to be clueless, but not anymore. Tv doesn't help with the idea that men are only as dumb as they let themselves pretend to be.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Andrea...As much as I hate to say this...stupid TV.

Vancetastic said...

I take issue with this post. I am clueless and proud. ;-)

Actually, I really do think there's something to the cluelessness of husbands. But I think it's really more of a gender difference. I may get flak for saying this, but I think that women are more genetically predisposed to being parents than men. Women are really worried about the kids getting hurt; men are more comfortable with a certain level of risk/rough-housing. Women are really concerned about what their children eat; men will sneak in something forbidden. Women are really worried about sticking to the kids' bedtimes; men will let them stay up later if they are the sole caregiver, as long as it seems easier at the moment.

Whether this means men are "clueless" or "inept," I don't know. It's a different parenting style, but I don't necessarily think it's wrong/worse. I like to think of myself as "realistic" -- as not sweating the small stuff when it comes to parenting. And yes, I generally think this is a more male trait than female trait.

However, DGB, I know from this blog and previous conversations that you are not like the rest of us. ;-)

Vancetastic said...

Having written all that, I just realized that my point is kind of blurred, as I am equating being a husband with being a father. I guess they're all wrapped up together as one in some ways. But I think you'll agree that in popular media, men are presented as clueless on both fronts.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Vance...I don't mean to argue, but I'm not sure I agree. For example, on several occasions WonderWife™ has fed the children ice cream for dinner.