Friends and family have been waiting for years to see me act like an adult, so why as I’m about to have a baby and embark on the most grown up thing I’ll ever do, am I suddenly expected to celebrate like a little girl? Because it’s baby shower time ladies and gentlemen–the rite of passage that follows drunken bachelorette parties and sober marriages.
If you think women have come a long way, try suggesting to your friends options for baby showers other than the norm. I don’t like baby showers and nobody I know likes baby showers, except for the women who put them on and get a sick thrill from seeing their pregnant friends suffer. So my plan for my baby party was one last round of adult time set for a Saturday night with drinks, dancing, friends of both sexes, no games and no gift opening hour. But it turns out my instincts were wrong. A few months before my due date I learned that to have a baby a woman must become one.
According to American tradition, pregnant women are supposed to turn eight, play games, eat cupcakes topped with plastic toys and open gifts before the sun goes down as a way to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. To fully immerse yourself back into childhood, your baby shower must involve your closest girlfriends and zero boys. This is because women are innately built to act like children as opposed to men. In contrast to my own experiences in an all girls high school and living with seven other women for three years, it turns out that when women gather in a group they instinctually desire bright pastel party decor and game-packed itineraries to get to know one another. And at baby showers they can’t help but talk the way kids think adults talk by bringing up generic topics of conversation that cover all things baby. This focus in discussion may seem narrow and boring to the unfeminine eye, but with recent training I’ve discovered it has loads of possibilities. When talking about babies, you can talk about other people’s babies, what you’re hoping your baby will be like and the things that are cute about babies like their wittle hands and wittle feet. The topic of pregnancy is a crowd pleaser too; everyone wants to know if you had morning sickness and if you can feel the baby kicking. I just educated myself on breastfeeding, so now I can talk breast pumps, hands free bras for pumping and ask other moms how to do it. Then of course cute baby clothes…please I’m a woman, that’s all I’m supposed to be talking about anyway right? Clothes and fashion–now just a miniature version. Being a kid is great!
For years I had felt guilty for not being more mature, but this looming baby shower showed me that my real problem was that I just wasn’t being immature enough. Going out to clubs, drinking, playing video games now and then and not being more serious about everything around me is just basic teenager to early twenties kind of never-growin’-up stuff. That’s for babies! What our culture really wants is for women to go for the gold and stunt ourselves all the way back to elementary school days to act like sweet naive little pumpkins who prefer punch and cupcakes to whiskey and cupcakes whether they like it or not. And who better to propagate this belief than women themselves? Women make sure other women don’t make the mistake of throwing a party they really want. Girlfriends are always the first to gasp when you suggest you may host your own shower, or fake distress at the thought of no games. Baby showers are the time for women to stop thinking of themselves and forget what brought them to a pregnant state in the first place–raunchy adult sex. From here on out, puritanical views of womanhood and life are key to what will lead to successful parenting, and it’s thanks to our fellow ladies that we can continue this tradition of making women who have already suffered months of body changes and nausea, suffer a little more for the sake of tradition. Face it, if baby showers weren’t worth doing in the first place, then why is it that men never made it a tradition of their own.