Saturday, April 25, 2009

Baby Showers

Among the constant burdens women endure in American society is the obligation to attend baby showers. No one I know actually likes attending baby showers. They are long. They require us to wear pastel dresses. They are filled with awkward silences and small talk about the weather. At baby showers, we find ourselves exclaiming bizarre and otherworldly things like, "Oh my gosh, a stainless steel diaper genie with motion detectors!" and "It pumps your breasts in only twenty minutes?"

Worse, baby showers invariably involve shower games -- strange and unentertaining contests that no one would ever do but for baby showers. For example, we place paper plates on top or our heads and attempt to draw a happy family. Or, we estimate the girth of the woman of honor with a roll of toilet paper. I've even sniffed baby food that's been spooned into a baby diaper in order to identify the flavor.

Each baby shower, then, incurs at least the following moron tax:
1) up to three hours of wearing a pastel Ann Taylor dress that makes me look matronly and gives me kankles;
2) hearing myself spew inane chit chat because I am so awkward and introverted that bland pleasantries is all I can muster with strangers;
3) losing a beautiful weekend afternoon;
4) ingesting 600 extra fat calories; and
5) coming face to face with my paralyzing indecision between suffering parenthood and growing old alone.

This is all moron tax because it is all avoidable. I can choose not to attend baby showers -- I know full well what awaits me there -- yet I still go. Indeed, my liability for moron tax should be rightly tripled because I even perpetuate these tortures by hosting baby showers myself and insisting that others friends have them, too. Admittedly, this makes no sense. Why do I do it?

The best I can say is that this is the only thing I can think to do to support my pregnant friends on their difficult road ahead. And there is a part of me that thinks that the pack of onesies I buy for them may buy me a small share of the vast and immense joy that expecting mothers feel for their future. Expecting parents become possessed with a certain faith that everything will be just fine, and it radiates from them like sunshine. Even if it's delusional, it's beautiful and, at least momentarily, greatly comforting.

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