Someone at the park handed me their phone number today. I’m planning on calling them tonight!
If you are a little confused at this point that’s understandable. I am a 35-year-old man with an amazing wife of six years and three awesome kids. Why am I still getting girl’s phone numbers? I never said I was getting a girl’s phone number: the digits I’m getting these days are of fellow stay-at-home dads.
If you thought it was awkward to ask a girl for her phone number in a bar when you were 21, try asking another grown man for his phone number at the playground. It is not just awkward, but a little creepy.
But that is exactly what it has come to. As a stay-at-home dad, you start to have your hangouts: the local park, school playground or zoo. You see other dads at these places too. Most dads with a full-time job are also not able to push their kids on the swings at 10:30 on a Thursday morning, so it quickly becomes apparent who the other stay-at-home dads are.
The interactions with other dads usually start small, with some type of primal grunt in the general direction of the dad. That is most likely the only interaction the two of you will have at that time. If you see each other a couple more times, one of you may even get up enough courage to muster, “Hey, how’s it goin’?” After a few more encounters the conversations begin and usually happen in this order:
- Which ones are yours?
- So how old are your kids?
- Do you stay at home with them full time?
- What did you do before you stayed home with your kids?
- So what does your wife do? (Probably the oddest question of them all.)
After the obligatory questions have been asked and answered, then snap judgements must be made about this guy’s entire family.
Could I really see myself hanging out with this guy?
Do his kids seem a little weird? I’m not sure I want my kids hanging out with somebody’s weird kids.
What if all he is interested in are shotguns and NASCAR? Will we ever have anything to talk about?
What if this guy is really a psycho? I don’t want to invite some psycho to come to my house and hang out with my kids. And I sure hope he’s not a Cubs fan.
After this quick assessment has been made and the dad is deemed acceptable, it’s time to make a move. Want to get our kids together sometime? Deep breath … here goes … “How bout we exchange phone numbers so we can set something up for next week?”
And that’s it. You and your kids have some new friends to play with, even if they are weird, gun-toting, NASCAR loving, psycho Cub fans.
A version of this first appeared on Indy’s Child. Friends on a beach photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
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