|Doyin, Lance, and Dave hanging with Bethenny Frankel|
One morning a few weeks ago, I traded in my usual at-home dad attire of jeans and t-shirt for something more fancy and professional so I could go debunk dad stereotypes. The special occasion was joining two other cool fathers on a panel at the Bethenny Frankel Show. Three dudes: Doyin Richards of “Daddy Doin Work,” who is well known for his viral hands-on dad photo of combing his daughter’s hair with his little one in the carrier, David Lesser of Amateur Idiot / Professional Dad who I’ve known for a while and is also a member of NYC Dads Group, and me.
Encouraged by the prospect of participating in a lively, audience-based conversation on topics that covered can at-home dads be just as good as at-home moms?, are stay-at-home dads becoming the new normal?, is being an at-home dad manly or emasculating?, why is the bar of expectations on fatherhood extremely low?, and should moms feel uncomfortable with a drop-off playdate if dad is in charge?
I was interested in sharing my experience of being an at-home dad for the past five years in the hopes to educate, share my passion, and debunk some stereotypes. I was also scared out of my wits. This was not going to be a calm roundtable discussion where Bethenny asks questions and leads the discussion. Quite the contrary – Bethenny spent the entire segment in the nearly all-female audience passing the microphone around to audience members who were firing away the questions. One producer described this format as “throwing us to the wolves” so needless to say, I had a few knots in my stomach.
What was it like behind the scenes?
For a guy that’s used to navigating NYC via public transportation, it was pretty cool having a car sent in the morning to bring me over to the studio. It was a nice luxury, but my sense is that it served as a safety precaution to ensure that I would arrive on time. They must know that parents with little ones are usually late to everything!
The producers and staff were incredibly friendly and showed us to our waiting room – not your usual oversized ‘Green Room.’ This was a small, nicely furnished space with comfortable seating, a flat-screen tuned to the Bethenny show taping, and stocked with snacks and Skinny Girl beverages.
|Posing with Danica Patrick|
Our waiting room was sandwiched by two other guests on the show who were more interesting than us “dads.” One neighbor was “Mob Wives” and “Big Ang” star Angela “Big Ang” Raiola who was on the first segment discussing her reality shows and plastic surgeries. On the other side was well-known athlete, Danica Patrick. I was starstruck. For someone who is usually confident about asking celebrities to pose in a photo…I had difficulty getting the words out. Awkward. Still, we succeeded in getting a photo.
The most amusing part of the morning was our excursion over to “make-up headquarters.” Yep, all of the dads filed in to get primped, coiffed, and shined by the talented make-up artists. Or anti-shined in my case (oily skin) – see pics below.
Sitting in comfortable stools on the stage and flanked by two other competent, confident, and vocal dads, we were ready for the show. Most of the show was a blur. I remember Dave doing an awesome job sharing a few touching and personal stories about his family. I recall Doyin providing the background and play-by-play of his viral photo as well as sharing his thoughts about being a working dad. I pondered when Bethenny might join us on stage – never happened. Consequently, there were lots of questions from the audience. Beyond that, I’m hoping we presented ourselves well and that the editing team made us look presentable. We’ll let you watch the segments and be the judge.
Finally, after a long morning and noon approaching, the three of us hit the “Red Room.” A sleek, lounge-type space with a bar, and well-stocked with Skinny Girl Vodka. We had a quick beverage before heading home to reality of domestic chores, school pick-up, and spending time with our families.