Of all the tiny “humiliations” suffered by modern man, perhaps none is so painfully awkward as the moment when you find yourself as the only dad at a kids’ event.
The reason why this one hurts a little more is because it usually comes in the form of a sneak attack. You don’t know when you show up at a Gymboree class that the other dads decided to sit this one out. You don’t know when you take your daughter to the roller skating party that it’s gong to be an ‘all mom’ affair. You find out when you walk in the door and then it’s too late to run. You’re trapped for the requisite two hours.
Just in case you find yourself in that unenviable situation, here are a few tips to help you walk away with your dignity intact.
1. Don’t Sing
Sure, it’s tempting. But resist. Unless it’s your own child, or a dear family friend, best to hang back and let the moms handle the melodies. If you feel you absolutely have to join in the fun, do the right thing and lip sync.
2. Skip The Activity
Skating Parties are pretty amazing. But again, you must resist any urge to get heavily involved. You don’t want to show up your kids by performing the party activity better than they can.
For the most part, hang back on the sidelines unless your child forcefully drags you out of your seat. Your masculine form moving at high speeds around a skating or sports-themed party is only going to make the moms and kids nervous.
Unless of course you can do this:
3. Claim Your Turf
Like a dog sniffing around in a patch of grass, find your territory and claim it. Then, don’t get up for anybody. Unless your child approaches you in desperate need of the potty, keep your spot. Even then, if you must abandon post, leave a jacket behind. You’re going to need that piece of real estate to call your own for the next two hours.
4. Micro Small Talk
“Hey, how ya doin’?” is about the extent of any dialogue most moms want to have with you. If a sympathetic woman comes over to make conversation, it’s out of pity. So be a gentleman and release her from the obligation. Don’t lock her up with a soliloquy about your troubles at work. Reciprocate the greeting, then set her free.
5. Bring Something To Read
See this guy? See how happy he is? That’s because he’s got a tablet and a spot. You don’t need much more than that to be happy. Most kids parties take place on Saturdays and Sundays, so you’re justified in checking out and catching up on the week’s events. If you don’t have a tablet, stop off and buy a newspaper, magazine or book ahead of time so you have something to bury your nose in. No one will blame you.
6. In and Out
It’s okay if you’re first one out the door. Everyone will understand. Don’t cut your child’s good-time short or anything, but a little trim off the edges won’t hurt.
You put in the time, you deserve a reward. Even if you enjoyed yourself, your wife is going to be grateful that you took one for the team. So go ahead and cash in. Maybe she lets you have a couple hours to yourself that night. Maybe it’s “thank you” sex. Whatever. You’ve been a good boy. You deserve a treat.