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Floral Diaper Bags and Manhood
by Charles W. Dowdy

I carry a floral diaper bag.

I realize this is something I should be ashamed of, but as part of my fatherhood nine-step program I’m supposed to admit these things. Not that I really need to admit it to anyone since I carry this bag everywhere. T-Ball games. Vacation Bible School recitals. Trips to the park.

It’s a soft floral pattern. A floral pattern that adds fluidity to male joints, takes the baritone out of the male voice and prevents any public crotch scratching whatsoever.

The bag’s design is also a problem. The handles are too long to hold like you would, say, a briefcase, and just long enough to fit over your shoulder, like say, a carry on, except it is floral, and it looks kind of like a purse. So what I described earlier as a floral diaper bag was the last bit of male pride speaking -- since any passerby could not know it was a diaper bag unless I dumped the contents out for each and every person I saw. To them I am carrying a big floral purse.

There are ways for men to combat this.

Sometimes when we are at long events featuring one of our children, people will comment on what a good, loving father I am as I patiently hold another squirming child for hours at a time. That’s because I do not want to put that child down. Then I will only have the floral purse. At least holding the child I’m flashing my floral bag credentials, kind of like a badge with a stinkee poo-poo.

But to some men, holding the kid alone is too much. To these men, the floral purse is not even an option.

You know the kind of men I’m talking about. They are the man’s men. If these men have to physically transport their child from one location to another, they tuck the kid under their arm as if they are toting the pigskin.

When the same child cries in public, these men employ esteem building phrases like, “Suck it up boy; only girls cry.” Or they might say, “You keep squalling and you’re going to end up like that guy over there carrying that purse with flowers on it.”

While it is impossible to attach one vocation to all men of this nature, I do know for a fact that a large percentage of them are hunters.

These hunters are fathers who voluntarily sit in the cold and rain at obscene hours of the day so they MIGHT have a chance to build on their nurturing instincts by KILLING something.

This begs two questions right off the bat:
1. Can a deer really distinguish between camouflage and Ralph Lauren?
2. If the answer to previous question is “yes,” then what’s the point of putting all that camouflage on if you’re going to put a bright orange vest over it? Like the deer are saying:

Ed: “Don’t look now but I think that’s a hunter in that tree stand over there!”
Frank: “Ed, you fool, that’s a bright orange vest holding that rifle, not a hunter.”
Ed: “Are you sure?”
Frank: “If it’ll make you feel better, let’s go over there and sniff it.”

What really amazes me is that these fathers have the courage to leave their wives at home with young children while they go out to the “camp,” where they must play cards and fraternize with their fellow man until all hours of the night while they wait for that limited opportunity to go out and kill something. Then they can show up at home and present their bedraggled, exhausted wife with . . . MEAT.

The Japanese figured all of this out way before us. That’s why they came up with -- the video camera. This testosterone saving invention lets camera laden fathers without the killing instinct focus on the child on stage and still look manly despite their other children at their feet, leaving those children unattended to chase balls in the street or play with explosives all in the name of capturing little Tommy as a camel in the Christmas program with sub-par lighting and sound quality that sounds like Barry Manilow getting a root canal.

After all, being a father and maintaining some sense of male pride is not about killing something or questionable sound quality in a Christmas program. It is about an acceptable distraction. It is about distracting you from that very thing that would embarrass you, fatherhood.

I wonder if they make a diaper bag in a nice camouflage pattern.


Charles Dowdy is the father of four and the husband of one. He’s a freelance columnist for several Mississippi newspapers. Editors may contact him at cwdowdyjr@yahoo.com.

For more stories by Charles Dowdy, visit these USADS pages:
Goodby, Debt; Hello, Ricecakes
The Waiting Room War Zone
Small Towns and the 3 Second Intersection Rule
President Bush, Sponge Bob, and a Banana
The Twins Journal
Teeball Dad
Whatcha Doin'?
Amending the Neighborhood Constitution
Pregnant Dad
Double Trouble: Cross-eyed Twins


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