Charles W. Dowdy
by Charles W. Dowdy
It was only after the fourth baby shower in one month that I began to suspect my wife was up to no good. The population in our town was not exploding. You would have thought we lived in China for all the baby showers she had been attending.
Something was going on and I was going to find out what it was. Straight out confrontation is for wimps. I like to be one hundred percent certain I’m right before I accuse my wife of anything, otherwise she gets really mad.
So I pretended to feed the children just like always as she slipped down the hall to begin her “cleaning” period. This is the period prior to a social event where my wife must completely reconstruct her appearance. There is a lot of plucking and holding things in front of mirrors. There is spraying and, almost without fail, the emergency, last second ironing. This process takes a minimum of forty-five minutes. Apparently this is a stressful endeavor. If we try to go into the bedroom with her during this process she’ll say something like, “Can’t Mommy have AT LEAST five minutes alone before I HAVE to go to this party?”
Like she HAS to go. Is that what this world has come to? Some guy on the other side of town is feeling amorous one night and four months later every mother in a three county area has to stop what they are doing and shower this woman with gifts?
When my wife appeared from the cloud of hairspray and perfume I was ready. No sooner was her car out of the driveway then I had all four children loaded into the other car. Invitation in hand, we set out to see what my wife was really up to.
“How can you be so sure Mommy is already here?” my daughter asked when we found the address, the street crowded with other cars.
I said nothing, merely pointing to the vehicle that looked like it had been parallel parked by Helen Keller.
“Aha,” I said, when I could finally see the house.
“I think they had another party at this very same house a few weeks ago.”
“Is that illegal?” my eldest son asked.
I turned to the sea of little faces in the back seat. “You know how freaked out your mother gets the week before people come to her house?”
Heads nodded gravely. We’ll have some serious therapy issues associated with those weeks.
“You think any mother in the world is going to have more than one party in a single month?” I said.
“You know what I think this house is,” I told my children. “This is some kind of communal baby shower party house, cooperatively owned by mothers all over town. It’s like a hunting camp with panty hose. There’s no party in there. They’re probably sitting around watching reality television.”
Then the depth of this betrayal sunk in. Perhaps it wasn’t just baby showers.
I knew there was something funny about that party for the new doctor last week. Everybody was acting so suspicious. At first I thought it was that whole thing about my zipper being undone. But now I know what it was. The women goofed. A party for a doctor? It was a curveball to the baby shower routine. Men were not supposed to want to go to that. And when a few of us showed up, they panicked. That was no doctor and his wife, those two were probably some transients they picked up off the interstate at the last second.
I was mad enough to confront my wife then and there but we were running late for the seven o’clock episode of Barney and the twins can get ornery if they don’t get enough of the purple dinosaur.
After some time to think about it, I decided knowledge in this case might be better than confrontation. Just by watching and listening I learned so much. Hosts have to be early to the showers but when they get to the host’s house everything is always already done. There is phantom hosting, where your wife leaves early like she is a host when in fact she is not. Then there is the time of the party itself. Wary fathers should check the invitation to make sure the party time she is telling you is the actual party time.
Instead of addressing this with my wife, forcing sneaky women everywhere to adapt new tactics, I decided to learn all the ways mothers scheme to escape their children and share that with other men.
I could tell them about it while we’re at the hunting camp.
Charles Dowdy lives in south Mississippi with his beautiful wife, four kids, and a menagerie of furry things. He’s in the radio business, but also writes a weekly column for several newspapers. He loves to hear from editors. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org -- especially if you’re an editor.
Want to read more of Dowdy’s stories? Check out the USADS HUMOR SECTION for a long list of hilarious articles. Or try these:
The Waiting Room War Zone
Baby Room Racket
Tennis with the inlaws
All of the above will take you to even more Dowdy articles. We promise!
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