It is not that I would describe myself as the manliest of men or a particularly Alpha male. I mean, while I like most of the rugged sports like hockey or football (except MMA – I just can’t get into that one for some reason) and always enjoy a good action movie, I have also always appreciated the other side of things like an unusual work of art or reading a variety of literature, with the exception of romance novels (at least for now...). I have tried to think of myself as someone who balances an appreciation for all that the feminine side of the species brings to the table meanwhile maintaining a good dose of testosterone.
I’m fully aware it’s not a competition, but with the birth of our second daughter this past year and the passing of the only other male presence in the house, our faithful old dog Tassie, I have definitely noticed the balance of power has shifted. I can already see that the older our kids get, the more things are going to sway towards female-centred activities like dance classes, ballet, ringette, and so on. Funny enough, the question I find I’m asking myself is not what can I do to inject more masculinity into this family but rather, is more along the lines of how far this is going to go and will that even bother me?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that lots of girls and women love watching and playing sports like hockey and football. I have been trying to convince Cate for almost two years that she wants to play hockey. She says she does but I think it’s kind of like when you tell the slightly senile old man something nice just to shut him up. The conversation usually goes:
Dad: “Cate, look the Senators are on TV”
Cate: “Cool, can I go put on my pink Sens jersey”
Dad: “Sure. Cate – are you going to start skating this year and play some Timbits hockey when you turn 4”Cate: “Okay….Dad – can we change the channel? I want to watch a girl show.”
I guess what it seems to be coming down to is wondering whether this change is more related to reaching a point in my life where I can accept the fact that the interests of my family are more important than my own likes and dislikes. Maybe it’s not really about masculine or feminine activities, rather, maybe it’s about wanting to do things that I know my wife and kids are going to enjoy and trying not to assign a gender.
I know society went through that whole metrosexual thing a few years back, but I’m not sure that I’m ever going to be okay with letting my daughters give me a makeover or paint my nails. Further, if we decide to have another child who ends up being a girl (it’s almost guaranteed at this point), I am still reserving the right to create some sort of “man cave” in the basement. Overall, I think I have come to the conclusion that I’m okay with my own increasing estrogenization.
For all the other Dads out there living in a house of women, or Moms living in a house of men - What do you think? How have you handled this challenge?
For the rest of you who haven’t faced this challenge yet - is this even still a big deal in the world we live in?
P.S. This blog has been edited by a woman before being posted.