My first step was to join the male equivalent, an Expectant Dads message board. I quickly found out that was different from Sarah’s. The men, unlike the women on Sarah’s good little Stepford Wives group, cut across all lines of age, education, ethnicity, and interest level in All Things Baby. And it is a freakshow. A 100 percent technicolor circus spectacle.
Some of these guys know nothing and are in honest need of guidance.
Others are there because it’s a safe place to badmouth their wife.
Others are Professional Dad Geeks who continue to loiter online long after their babies are born, like the Matthew McConaughey character in Dazed and Confused who hangs out at high school long after he’s graduated.
The messages are diverse and unpredictable. Many of their stories reek of pathos. There are in vitro failure sob stories; there are “I got my 16-year-old girlfriend pregnant” horror stories; tales from men who want babies and can’t have them; tales from men who don’t want the babies they’re about to have; tales of husbands who are worried because the wife has been in hospital vomiting blood for five days; tales of couples who can’t stand the sight of each other and are still having a baby because they don’t believe in abortion; men whose wives refuse to tell them if the baby is theirs. It’s like watching a Maury Povich marathon.
A recent message:
“It has been a difficult month or so, I had cardiac issues and had to be hospitalized just prior to the miscarriage, now I have a computer virus and my computer wont work right, and I was in a car wreck with a uninsured motorist today. It’s starting to overwhelm . . .”
I’m a little concerned about my financial situation. I’m out of work and legally blind, I do collect SSD and my wife can’t work. We are trying to get help paying our back rent of at least 1 grand.
Well, I went to Hangers prosthetics today, and to my surprise, in comes my new leg! Does it hurt? Yes! It’s like breaking in a new pair of shoes. I had 2 job interviews today also, which both seem pretty promising! I hope I get the one with Blockbuster though!
Before you can wipe away the tears and PayPal these sad sacks some cash, you move on to the next post: a goofy lament about how a guy’s tranny went out in his Celica, and he needed to get stuff for baby #2, so he began driving his back-up car: A 1966, 23-foot long, gold Cadillac hearse. (“Beautiful thing . . . 472 motor . . . but no back seat. So here I was, driving to the mall . . . to the playground . . . everywhere . . . in this hearse . . . with baby #1 beside me.”)
The lifers, who have been posting messages for years, drop schmaltzy wisdom left and right (“It’s normal to feel like an end is coming. It is. But what a beginning!”). And, as the wise old veterans of fatherhood, they love to scare the crap out of rookies with horror stories about the rarest of occurrences. For example: “Once your baby is born, keep a lookout for fiery green sparks in his diaper caused by friction. It’s called triboluminescence, and it really happens!” Yeah, it happens. Every twenty years or so.
And because it’s all guys, there is a lot of sex talk. Amidst all the weeping over miscarriages and abortions and mothers who want the fathers out of their lives, some guys still have the temerity to use the boards as a forum to complain that they aren’t getting any. Instead of bragging about how much tail they’re all getting, they’re whining about how pathetic their sex lives have become. And the guy who gets laid the least talks the loudest. It’s like hanging out in a locker room in bizarro world. (“Oh, yeah? I get less tail than a neutered shih tzu.”) I have yet to post a message.