Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dad: A Night Out with Susan

To get a jump start on our Christmas shopping for Susan, Mary Jane and I decided to take Susan out on the town one night last week for a family outing to the toy store and then dinner. The night started at Toys R Us so we could get some ideas for Christmas presents (for her). I had a lot of fun until Mary shouted at me from three aisles over that it was time to go and she and Susan were leaving without me. I tried to tell her about the Hot Wheels ramp I found that Susan would just LOVE, but she wasn’t convinced so off we went to dinner. This is where the night got interesting.

There are a few things you never want to hear while you’re eating. Usually anything involving bodily functions, politics or Skip Bayless’ stance on anything is off limits. Apparently, our waitress at this fine dining establishment (that will remain nameless, because I actually like the place) didn’t get the memo.

Skip Bayless is not welcome at our dinner table. Or on our television.
As most babies do, Susan attracts a lot of attention when we take her out. Most people love smiling babies, and it’s always nice when people say how adorable Susan is. Some stop to talk for longer than others (and touch Susan, which is another issue that you have to deal with as a parent), but most realize that there are normal social boundaries in place when it comes to talking with complete strangers. When we got to the restaurant, our waitress – a mother of two, as we learned, who looked to be around our age – came over to take our drink orders... or at least that’s what we thought. Instead, she saw Susan and started talking. And talking. And talking until she took the conversation here:

“Then when my second one was about 2, I told my guy ‘uh-uh, no more, you’re gettin’ snipped.” And she laughed. Ha...ha?

My cheeseburger almost came through my nose. I cut my eye at MJ and could tell she was a little uncomfortable with the comment, but she’s too nice to say anything so she just smiled gave a fake laugh (at least I hope it was a fake laugh). After the waitress said that, all I could picture was a giant pair of scissors chasing after me like that giant boulder in Indiana Jones. I really didn’t want to hear any more of what this woman (OUR SERVER, mind you) had to say on the subject, so I tried to go to my happy place and tune her out.


My happy place is where I go when I’m in an uncomfortable situation, which 98 percent of the time is in the dentist chair. It’s a lot like Adam Sandler’s happy place in Happy Gilmore, except mine usually involves baseball or trying to remember the entire plot of The Princess Bride. I’ve used this since high school. I try to block out whatever’s going on (tooth drilling, “turn your head and cough”, a lecture from my overly-intense 9th grade history teacher Mr. Hobgood, etc.) and instead focus entirely on whatever mental task it is that will distract me. In this particular instance, I was trying to name the first 30 Goosebumps books in order. I got as far as Say Cheese and Die (#4) before I saw out of the corner of my eye the waitress making scissor fingers while saying “snip snip” over and over.

I stared blankly at Mary Jane, hoping she would pick up on the telepathic cries for help that I was throwing at her brain like Kris Medlen fastballs. After mentally shouting at her to OMG STOP SMILING AND LAUGHING BECAUSE YOU ARE ONLY ENCOURAGING HER AND IF SUSAN DOESN’T START CRYING SOON I WILL, the conversation kept on. Thankfully it moved away from the topic of male severance, but what came next wasn’t much better.

“I just knew with the second one ‘cuz I’m pretty regular, and as soon as I was late on my next cycle, I was pretty sure,” she said.

I’ve gone through 4th grade sex ed, so I know the code words ladies use for talking about menstruation. It didn’t take me long to figure out that our waitress hadn’t lost her bicycle. 

Not what she was talking about.

I’ll say that at this point in my 28 years of living (and 4+ years of marriage), I’m mature enough to talk about these things, but there's a time and a place, and that time is not at dinner and the place is not at a restaurant. Also this woman was OUR WAITRESS, and not like a waitress who is actually your friend and hooks you up with free soup and spinach dip. No, we had never seen this woman before in our lives. But we had a baby, and so did she, so apparently that means that you can share whatever you want because of some mutual motherhood bond. What to Expect said nothing about that, nor did it tell me to bring a set of ear muffs for when I bring Susan out in public so that I don’t hear what will become commonplace conversations about vasectomies and menstruation. If the helpful sales woman at Best Buy starts talking about episiotomies, I’m never leaving my house again.

Susan would go on to attract much more attention throughout the night, but from a mostly normal group of people who engaged in what I consider socially acceptable conversation with us. I don’t know if the waitress sensed my unease, but she didn’t bother us a whole lot after that. This isn’t the first time that Susan has brought some strange conversation upon us, but it’s the first time since she was born. MJ will tell you that strangers used to try and rub her belly when she was pregnant, and I’m sure she got her fill of awkward pregnancy comparison stories, too. I’m just glad it doesn’t work that way for guys, because I really don’t want to hear from anybody about what they saw in the delivery room. What happens in the stirrups should stay in the stirrups.

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