Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Surprise

14 clever quips

Two packages arrived at our doorstep a few weeks ago that had me giving thanks well before the cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes hit the table this past Thursday.

The first package: a box of wine.

Not that $3.99 cube sitting on a shelf at the 7-Eleven between the fried pork rinds and the dusty orange bottles of STP Super Concentrated Gas Treatment. That’s “box wine,” Goober!

No, this was an actual case of the bottled fermented grape. Stopped up with real corks and wax ‘n‘ stuff. This normally would have meant little to me, the resident beer drinker of Uncool Estates. Besides, My Love had joined an online wine club earlier in the year and cases of malbecs and fruit de loops had been showing up at our place periodically.

This case, however, was the fifth to arrive at our door in the past two weeks. In fact, the last time a case arrived even the FedEx man who delivered it raised his eyebrows and inquired about My Love’s imbibing habits.

Even stranger, My Love has been laying off the vino of late. She had been letting cases pile up so she could work on her goal of living a healthier life through better eating, more exercise and putting the usual kibosh on any suggestion I throw her way especially if it now involves whipped cream and pure Vermont maple syrup.

Package No. 2: Now this is what got my mind right back in the gutter and rolling around in the glorious filth.

This package, the unassuming brown corrugated kind about two shoeboxes in width, bore the return address of … an online costume store.

Hmm … Halloween has already passed …

Store probably had big clearance sales …

Well, some of you have been around here long enough to know what visions of sugar-walled goodness danced in my head. Go ahead, take a guess.

READER 1: “I know! Discounted saucy pirate wench outfit!”

READER 2: “No, no! It’s a cut-priced frilly French maid!”

READER 3: “I’ve got it! Bargain-basement beer wench!”

(Oops – never got around to writing about that last one, did I? Looks like I finally have a completely legitimate reason to post this Oktoberfest photo of Kim Kardashian:

Oktoberfest Kim Kardashian beer wench

Look at the size of those pretzel loops! Is there anything Kim can’t do? You know, besides productively contribute to society?)

That’s right, friends, I was pretty certain My Love was stocking up for the bender to all benders … and letting me be the beneficiary.

Bless me and thank you, O Mysterious and Magically Delicious Powers That Be, for providing a bounty of trimmings to make for a most glorious feast (in the locked privacy of our room) this season!

But that was many days and icy showers ago.

So here it was, Thanksgiving Day. The turkey gobbled up, the coffee brewing and pumpkin pie warming. Sure, I was thankful for many things, most prominently my being able to wear elastic waistband track pants for the next three days but, golly, I felt a little cheated after letting my imagination run wild for most of the month.

And then, when I least expected it, the mystery of the second box revealed itself – not only to me, but also my incredibly embarrassed children and hysterical parents.

Down the stairs of our home came My Love, looking regal in this:

turkey costume

I could use some of that wine about now.

* * *

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and that you’ll give a little more thanks that in two days I’m shaving off my Movember mustache. You can help celebrate by donating to fight prostate and testicular cancer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hairy Thanksgiving

20 clever quips

When my upper lip was asked to join the Movember cause, I said “yes” without hesitation … and also without remembering that I have never before had a standalone soup strainer. This excludes the one I painted on when I went to a Halloween party as Groucho Marx in 1996.

Not that my pasty face hasn't been obscured before. It bore a goatee a few times in my life, notably when that look made its big comeback in the mid-1990s. Even at its frenzied height of fashion hipness, I had the forethought to shave it off before my wedding so as not to forever link the day of my most blessed union with a "what was I thinking" fashion faux pas.

I also sported a full beard for a bit in college. At least I did until I came home for a long weekend freshman year and The Mother of All Uncoolness hid the keys to my car until I used one of the dozen disposable razors she had strategically taped all over our house.

Which is why I can’t wait until Thanksgiving when I open the door for her and she sees this:

day 22 movemberME: Happy Th--

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: Good God. Get that thing off your face!

ME: You don’t like?

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: Go shave. Now.

ME: Can’t. Growing it for charity. I’m rais--

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: No turkey for you until you MARCH upstairs and cut that thing off. Trim under your armpits, too. You won’t sweat so much.

ME: What? Hey, I cooked the turkey. And this is my house. I’m …

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: And get rid of that dog. Your grandfather would be appalled that there was a dog in the house. Especially a bald one.

ME: Grandpa’s been dead for 20 years. And this is my hou-

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: That’s it. We’re leaving. Here, take the pie. You’ve ruined my holiday.

ME (yelling down the walkway): You forgot the whipped cream!!

* * *

Remember, friends, I’m itching for a cause. Please donate to fight prostate and testicular cancer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movember Moustache Resistance, Parts 1 and 2

27 clever quips

Things have been getting a bit hairy under my lip of late, so this weekend I outed myself publicly.

day-7-village-people (This look lasted all of 5 minutes. That’s how long it took me to steady my hand from the convulsions of laughter I experienced after seeing myself in the mirror.)

“I’m growing a moustache to raise awareness about men’s health issues,” I told the parents of Thing 2’s soccer teammates. I handed them slips of paper with the URL for my Movember donation page because doing things like that help you achieve your goals of:

  • Helping raise money for research into prostate and testicular cancer, and
  • Preventing people from alerting the authorities that a man with suspicious looking facial hair is hanging around at youth sporting events.

“Are you going to a Movember party at the end of the month?” asked one father.

“Not as of right now. You actually have heard of Movember?” I said.

“Yes. Some guys I know did this last year,” he said.

“How come you’re not growing a ‘stache?”

He eyed a women I suspect to be his wife.

Luckily for him, she had her back to us.

Unluckily, though, for any poor bastards who get cancer of the prostate or the man sack.

+ + +

After setting down my racket bag at my weekly tennis match, I handed my doubles partner one of my Movember cards.

“I’m growing a moustache to raise awareness about men’s health issues,” I said to him, a man in possession of some form of facial growth for the 20-plus years I’ve known him. I expected some compassion, some understanding, and definitely some sympathy for my nascent soup strainer.

Instead …

“AWARENESS OF MEN’S HEALTH ISSUES?!! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT! ALL THESE HEALTH STUDIES ARE DONE ON MEN! WE NEED MORE AWARENESS OF WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES!!”

(Capital letters alone do not do justice to the volume and air of shock in his voice. Or to the looks from the people on the court next to us.)

“Um, we did just spent an entire month in a world painted pink for breast cancer awareness.,” I said. “That campaign is pretty pervasive, so …”

“BAH! MEN’S HEALTH ISSUES! LIKE WHAT!!”

“Uh, prostate cancer. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are to be diagnosed with …”

“PROSTATE CANCER! THAT’S SO TREATABLE. C’MON!”

Now, I was not about to be sucked into a debate over the merits of one cancer versus another (as if cancer has merits – it all sucks, for cryin’ out loud – it’s CANCER!). So I listened to him go on more about biases in medical research toward men’s issues, how Major League Baseball had raised money for prostate cancer research this year and the like, and tried to figure out why this was a point of contention with him outside of the fact – and it is a fact evident if you knew this guy for 20 minutes, let alone 20 years – that my doubles partner will argue with any one over any thing any time.

“OK, fine,” I said. “Then don’t donate and just ignore all my on-court scratching today.”

We then proceeded to beat the other team 6-0, 6-2.

My moustache may not stop cancer, but it kills my tennis opponents’ rallies.

day-7-three-musketeers + + +

Don’t forget to donate, even if it’s just a $5, to me and my DadCentric mates as we grow ‘em this Movember!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sex, Blogging Conferences and Knowing Your Place

24 clever quips

Let’s talk sex.

Gender, actually. (I know. I’m disappointed, too.)

When I was making the rounds at BlogHer ‘10, handing out Pepsi Refresh / Cure JM voting cards and stepping through the throngs of fawning females treating me like I was a stray puppy, I met a woman.

A woman who worked for the federal government.

The “federal government source for women’s health information,” to be precise.

And she wanted to interview … me?

“Dude – I mean, Ms. – I’m a dude,” I said. “Really.”

Thankfully, didn’t I get mad, go into a rage and DM her proof of that fact on Twitter. That can cause a heap of problems these days.

(And, really, guys: distributing unsolicited photos of your shortcomings is plainly not cool. Ever. Distributing solicited ones generally isn’t smart either, doofuses. Not even to your spouse or significant other.)

No, she said, even though I was a man politely navigating my way around a den of Self-Empowered XX Chromosomes, I had a unique perspective and information about a health issue that affects young females significantly more than young males.

Her audience, she said, could learn something and they’d appreciate hearing my point of view.

Sure, she could have held out to talk to My Love, the woman who leads the foundation seeking a cure for the disease and the mastermind of our ambitious agenda to make the public aware of the need to make juvenile myositis a memory.

But face it, could you resist a stray puppy? Could you?

uncool-puppy-dog-look

(There’s your Day 3 Movember moustache update! Please support me and the DadCentric crew as we grow ‘em to show ‘em our support for men’s health issues.)

So we exchanged business cards, and later we exchanged questions and answers. I think it was a win-win. Please read the interview.

* * *

Much of the above is my tongue-in-cheekiness about a recent public debate I’ve been in this week about men at “women’s conferences” with one blogger that carried over to another blogger who discussed the need for homogenous groups to occasionally rally together, celebrate themselves and support each other. I respect their opinions even though I don’t fully agree with some of the arguments. Please read them and weigh in (I have comments included at the end of each of their posts.)

Given that, I feel compelled to highlight one gender role question from my interview and response that probably doesn’t add to the debate, but at least may make you smile:

Q. What about other stay-at-home moms, do you think they ever treat you differently?

ME: Some seem a little wary of me, and I think it is somewhat understandable. I'm invading what has been traditionally been their territory, so obviously they are going to a bit suspicious of a guy volunteering at a bake sale in the middle of a school day or hanging around the ballet school on a Saturday morning. But if you let that bother you constantly then you're probably not cut out to be an at-home dad. You need to either: 1) smile, introduce yourself and try to be a constructive part of the group; 2) suck it up and carry on; or 3) make alternative arrangements. That said, I've also met many stay-at-home moms and work-at-home moms who think it is the greatest thing in the world that I do what they do. Of course, that may be some sort of revenge thing.

Cheers … and peace. We all need each other these days.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Give Cash for My ‘Stache This Movember

15 clever quips

the john oates moustacheCancer sucks no matter who gets it, but the facts are particularly scary for us guys.

For example, 1 in 2 men are likely to be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their life compared with 1 in 3 women.

And while enormous amounts of pink are spilled annually publicizing breast cancer awareness for women, did you realize a man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer?

Dang it, dudes – we need to level the playing field!

E-qual-ity! E-qual-ity!

While anyone can pin a ribbon on his or her chest to show support for a cause, only a man (and maybe certain Eastern European female bodybuilders) can proudly wear said ribbon under his nose – in the form of a moustache.

That is why some of the more facial-hair adept members of DadCentric and I will be sprouting ‘staches this month in support of “Movember” – an international movement to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically cancer affecting men.

(Allegedly “Mo” is slang for moustache. That’s news to me, but this whole thing was started by Australians and, as you know from those Foster’s beer commercials, the Aussies have a different way of saying everything.)

movember day 1 uncool Here’s what you can do help this worthy cause:

DONATE: Give a few bucks to support the growth between my nose and upper lip. Just visit my Always Home and Uncool Mo Page, and click the big ol’ “Donate to Me” button.

Funds raised benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG - the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

GROW YOUR OWN: If you are facial hair proficient, join the DadCentric team! Sign up as a Mo Bro, then shave your face clean and get raising some whiskers and money for the cause.

BE A MO SISTA: If you are of the female persuasion but not an Eastern European female bodybuilder, then you can’t grow a mustache. However, you can still support Team DadCentric by raising funds and spreading the word about men’s health issues by signing up as a Mo Sista.

Watch for semi-regular updates on my blog and on my Always Home and Uncool Mo Page. Meanwhile, tell me this:

What type of moustache should I aim for?

Derek_Smalls moustaches The Derek Smalls?

earl hickey moustacheThe Earl Hickey?

poirot_moustacheThe Pointy Poirot?

tom selleck magnum P.I.The Magnum P.I.?

imagePerhaps, the Anna Lefler?

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