Trying Out: Baby Shower (Week Thirty-Nine)
I once made the mistake of attending a wedding shower. It was not the most awkward experience of all time. However I was hardly comfortable. To be fair, the ladies knew I was a fan of this woman. Yet, had I been offered the opportunity again, I would politely decline.
With that last, traditionally all-female event in mind, I had some trepidation about RSVP-ing to a baby shower. I have no babies. I feel no strong calling to have babies. (Babies and I actually get along quite well. They go to sleep for me and I do not freak out for them. After about four hours, we both become a bit restless and are ready for someone different.) I do not have babies on my brain; or any other part of my body.
The invitation made it clear that this was a family affair. “Bring the kids. Bring the pets. Oh, and bring the spouse too.” The couple is hardly in their twenties. Most of their friends were families, or on their way to that classification. It seemed unlikely that there would be much squealing, ooh-ing, or diaper-games.
It was more like a barbecue. Small families lingered around couches indoors and a small backyard. Typical pregnancy questions were asked (“When’s your last day?” “How are you feeling?” “Are you getting enough sleep?”), but many people were busy keeping track of their own children.
The main activity was drawing on onesies. The organizers had, for some crazy reason, decided that newborns are messy. Huh. With that in mind, they asked the couple’s friend to take some fabric pens and personalize a onesie or two for the unborn blob. (The gender of the baby was never revealed. So I am sticking with, “blob”.)
That was how I occupied myself for an hour and a half. I am no great artist. I have terrible hand-writing. In order to keep my doodling clear, I used a stencil. To keep my letters readable, I wrote. Very. Slow. -ly. Myriad pens later, with some scribbling here and there to try to hide my mistakes, and my project was done. Two or three turtles danced on the front, declaring that, “Sometimes you gotta BOOGIE out of your shell.” And on the back I provided a public service message. In large letters I wrote, “As a courtesy, please return this baby cleaner than you found it. Thanx.”
The “Thanx” was used instead of “Thanks” because I did not have room for two-letters. A small cat’s head was drawn at the bottom. Had I left the head as a simple outline, it would have been fine. But no. I had to try and add whiskers. And fill in the outline. Which resulted in an amorphous black blob. So, in an area that had almost no free space left (we were well into bottom-territory on said onesie), I did my best to draw a torso, legs, and tail so that they would be able to guess that; yes, in point of fact, that is supposed to be a cat.
That cannot say that I lacked for effort. Other onesies looked better and cuter, sure. I maintain that they were all labors of love. (Get it? Zing!)
If nothing else, the attention I gave to drawing meant I did not have to engage in forced conversation. I chatted here and there as we worked on our onesies around the picnic table. Comments were given and polite dialog was exchanged. Working on a project I can do. Chatting up twenty or thirty people that I have seen for ten minutes once? Considerably more effort is required from me.
The couple made the rounds. I had something to do. All went well. I finished my project, hugged my friend, and wished her well. In all this, I never saw anything pink or power blue.
It was far less awkward than the previous all-lady affair. In a small gathering of five or so people, I could have dazzled. Yet the only folks I trying to win over were the happy couple. They already know I love them. Once the effort had been made, I was quite fine going home to my cat and books and being myself.