Hello, Readers. Welcome to the 31st (can you believe that?) installment of my Off Season Posts. It’s been an eventful weekend filled with activities on both ends of the imaginary life spectrum. I spent a couple of nights down at the Austin Rodeo and Livestock Show swilling beer, watching bull riding, and devouring giant turkey legs, cotton candy, and various other examples of the wonderfully decadent items known as “festival food.” I’m sure all of you have a version of this wherever you’re from.
The latter part of the weekend involved an attempt to run off all of that delicious festival food with 23,000 of my closest friends in the 35th Annual Capitol 10,000 run through Downtown Austin. It’s 6.2 miles through
and, while it
didn’t feel like it, I actually did very well (I finished in 955th
place out of 23,000). A shout out goes
to my friend Linnea who finished a mere 15 seconds or so behind me despite
having considerably shorter legs. I’m
happy to call that a tie, but we all know who crossed the finish line
first. I’m just saying. I’m a bit sore today, but happy with my
results. I doubt I burned off all of
that carnival cuisine, but perhaps that giant turkey leg is a thing of the
past. Now, let’s get to this week’s
As busy as my weekend was, I still had time to contemplate my next post, but as is usually the case in the Off Season, I was a bit short on a cohesive idea. As I left the race on Sunday the inevitable tightening of my legs began to occur on the ride home. I decided that I needed to stop off at the local pharmacy for some Advil and a giant bottle of water. As I gingerly limped in and made my way to the pharmacy I found myself standing behind two women in line, one of whom was extremely pregnant. I realize that last characterization makes no sense. Being a tad pregnant is like being a bit gay, but you get the picture. She wasn’t as big and bloated as Mama Cass, but she looked ready to burst at any second. I took a step back as an extra precaution.
Ahead of them in line was an old woman I assumed to be Mary Todd Lincoln or perhaps one of her childhood friends. Her prescription was probably delivered via Pony Express. As the pharmacist struggled to explain the benefits and risks of the half dozen or so bottles of pills in front of her I zoned out in favor of the conversation taking place between the knocked up lady and her sidekick. “Is Steve going to get you a push present?” I heard. “I’m not sure,” she answered. “You know she’s our second so we’re just having a ‘sprinkle’ instead of a shower so I don’t think Steve is going to do much this time,” was the response.
“Push Present?” “Sprinkle?”
“Poor Steve,” I thought as I pulled out my iPhone and added a note to self. “Google ‘push present’ and ‘sprinkle.’ Love, Yourself P.S. You’re awesome.”
As I sat there in my truck sipping my giant bottle of spring water I Googled the aforementioned foreign terms. Here’s what I found.
“Baby Sprinkle. Simpler and often smaller than the original Shower, a Sprinkle is an often more intimate gathering for very close friends and family. The gifts tend to be new outfits, diapers, wipes, etc. instead of big gifts like cribs and bedding that can be recycled from the first child. It also includes some gifts for the older sibling to make them feel special. The food and decorations are kept to a minimum, but are enough to still make sure that the party makes the mom-to-be feel special.”
Well, isn’t that “special,” I thought shaking my head in disbelief. All I know is that every time I’m invited to a shower of some sort, I end up taking a bath on the gift. Normally, I like to keep those things in check. Somehow I always end up writing a check.
Attempting to gussy it up and downplay my financial obligation by renaming it and eliminating the big stuff that only grandma and grandpa would buy in the first place from the registry is not fooling anyone. If anything, the “more intimate” nature of the thing arguably expands my financial obligation. A rose by any other name is a rose. So is theft for that matter. What’s it called when the third kid comes along, a Mist? By the time the fourth kid gets here we’ll be attending A Mild Perspiration.
“Push Present. (also known as a "push gift" or "baby bauble") is a present a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in the
in recent years.” United States
“Supposedly grown?” Nice fact checking. Look, I’ll be the first guy to admit that I will never be able to understand what it’s like to grow a human being inside of my body until it’s too big to be there and then push it out the wrong way down a canal 1/3 its size. Just typing that makes the place where my uterus would be if I had one hurt.
However, I’m not biologically capable of doing that either, so you’ll have to cut me some slack. That shouldn’t add up to making me spend a ton of cash as a result of billions of years of evolution. I didn’t invent the cycle of life so why in the hell should I have to get gouged by some greedy jeweler who invented the Push Present? That’s like requiring me to give the pizza guy a month’s pay for delivering a pizza I called and ordered. It all seems a bit unfair to me.
And while I’m thinking about it, where’s my Push Present? After all, if it wasn’t for me pushing it in nine months ago you wouldn’t be pushing it out now. Gestation aside, it takes two to tango and I didn’t get to take 4 months off work and hang around in my pajamas when I was done pushing. Where’s the justice? Annnyyyhooo . . .
Dumbfounded, I began contemplating other invented traditions invented in order to make women feel “special.” In search of some material, I consulted three reliable sources with intimate knowledge about subjects of this nature:
Lincee Ray at (www.ihategreenbeans.com)
Mary Pruitt at (www.putaruffleonit.blogspot.com), and
My Special Lady Friend who has no website but has plenty of fertile friends who end up knocked up on a regular basis. She’s also from Dallas; a place where letter press invitations and save the date cards (two other ridiculous, money wasting requirements for any event these days) go out for weekly office happy hours and trips to the water cooler on break time.
After all of my reliable sources confirmed knowing about Push Presents and Sprinkles I picked their female brains for more conspiracies invented for the sole purpose of coercing unsuspecting men and well meaning women who fear being judged to spend inordinate amounts of money in the name of keeping the Special Ladies in their lives happy. Here’s what I learned.
Birth Photographer. Most hospitals these days will not allow a birth to be filmed thanks to my day profession. However, it is becoming more common for pregnant women to get portraits of themselves in various states of undress during the course of the pregnancy. I’m guessing these aren’t cheap. In addition to that, it’s now also common to get professional portraits made immediately after the birth.
Look, pregnancy is a miracle. It’s beautiful, magical, special, blah, blah, blah. I understand that. However, pregnant women are a lot like finger paintings made by small children. They’re only beautiful if they’re your own. Call me after your shower or sprinkle or whatever and I’ll come visit. I’m not interested in a pictorial representation of your biological changes. Just because Demi Moore does it doesn’t make it cool. If that were true we’d all starve ourselves while killing 15 Red Bulls a day and marry a younger douchebag. If I want to watch a woman gain a ton of weight over a short period of time, I’ll turn on Oprah reruns. Oh, and for what it’s worth, I think I speak for all men when I say that I’d rather have some professional footage of the conception rather than the birth. Next topic.
Meet-A-Versary. This is apparently a relatively new member to the conspiracy calendar. It imposes an obligation upon the man to document the date when he met his special lady in addition to buying her a gift in order to commemorate it down the road. Give.
A. Break. Upon hearing about this one, I
actually got excited until I was told that it was “Meet” and not “Meat.” Me.
What most women don’t know is that every florist in the world is painfully aware of days like this in addition to being ready to gouge poor, defenseless men into paying exorbitant prices for dying flowers. You can put them in your favorite vase with warm water and that white crystal stuff they come with, but eventually that water will turn to green slime and those flowers will die.
Oh, and telling your boyfriend or husband, “I know roses are too expensive, just get me my favorite flower, the (insert name of rare, more expensive flower here).” Unless your favorite flower happens to be the carnation, we’re still on the hook. Dropping a hundred bucks on something we literally have to watch wilt away and die is not a happy event. Come to think of it, that actually might be an accurate representation of most relationships.
Action Stations. This is apparently a new phenomenon at weddings, showers, and other fancy events. Rather than a seated dinner or a buffet there are smaller stations in various parts of the room with different, albeit smaller, courses. The idea is to spread the guests around the venue and make the lines shorter. Well, that’s what they tell you anyway. The idea is actually to up sell you 5 different courses at a higher price in addition to forcing your guests to stand around the room with a drink in one hand and a tiny plate loaded with crab cakes, deviled eggs, and prime rib in the other desperately trying to figure out how in the hell to eat it. I actually got excited about this one too until I figured out what it was. I was planning on having a couple of Action Stations at my Meat-a-versary, if you know what I mean.
“Hosted by.” This is a big deal among women and it’s something that I, as a rational thinking male, can never comprehend. However, because I care about all of you, I’ll try and elaborate. Apparently, getting one’s name on the aforementioned letterpress invitation next to the words “hosted by” is a huge deal for some women and a prohibitively expensive, royal pain in the ass for others.
It’s safe to say that the woman listed first on the invite as a co-hostess is hated with an unmatched passion by the women’s names following hers. For the past few months she’s evolved like a gestating fetus (see what I did there?) from a smiley, friendly, helpful team player into a money grubbing, tax and spend, control freak with the disposition of Napoleon Bonaparte. The women after her on the letterpress invite have been brow beaten with every detail of whatever party is set to occur from where it will occur, what they will be wearing, how their hair should look, and what to bring. The pain each woman feels is directly proportionate to her rank from right to left on the “hosted by” list. Trust me, the last girl on that list regrets ever befriending the guest of honor during rush at the Kappa house in college or whatever.
Man, I’m glad I’m a man. By way of example, I’m headed to Vegas next month with 5 of my closest friends. I sent 1 email and got 4 back with flight information. I sent another email after booking the hotel and got 4 back saying we’d even up on the cost when they arrived in Vegas. Letterpress invites, my ass.
Well, there it is. This week’s off season rant. I’m sure you’ll all chime in with your own conspiracies and I’d love to hear them. Over the top engagements, destination bachelorette parties that cost a ton, upgrading the engagement and wedding ring, and ridiculous milestone birthday parties are others I didn’t get to. I’m curious to hear what y’all have to say. Until then, have a great week. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be working on the letterpress save the date invites to my Meat-a-versary. DP