Emasculation on a Butterfly Wing

Exciting update: I wasn’t the only dad at Arlo’s creatures class yesterday. I don’t want to jinx it, but I think the new guy and I had some decent vibes going. We did a cool head nod, and it seemed like his son was around Arlo’s age, so maybe if he’s at the next class, I’ll ask for his phone number and we can do a play date and listen to music and talk or whatever.

My biggest struggle this week was dealing with all the moms’ bare feet. They always wear some kind of slip-on sandal, and think it’s fun and super caj to kick ’em off before settling in for play time. Can everyone just leave their shoes on please? It’s really distracting. I don’t want to see your french manicure. I mean, I do, but I also don’t. It’s confusing and disorienting for me, and I need people to respect that. Are women allergic to socks? I can’t remember the last time a saw a mom wearing socks. The other dad left his socks on, and that’s why I know that we’re destined to start a band together.

Yesterday’s class was all about pretending to be butterflies. We were each given two gigantic scarves to aid in our transformation. First step: the cocoon. Arlo seemed dubious as I wrapped him in an orange scarf; I guess he’s not all that familiar with this specific insect’s complicated life cycle. But instructions are instructions, so I told him, “It’s just like getting wrapped in a towel after bath.” That got him totally on board. Then the instructor, Ms. Susan, asked all the children to “wiggle out” of their cocoons, “like butterflies being born.” Arlo just looked at me with a blank face and said, “No wiggle,” so I unwrapped him, sat back down, and stared at all the moms’ feet some more. Why is it so difficult to stop looking at something that annoys me so much? I even thought about sticking around after class to watch them  put their shoes back on, like I’m OCD and need that kind of closure on uncomfortable situations.

After thirty seconds or so, I was able to shake it off and focus on watching some of the kids struggle to birth themselves from their scarves. After they were all free, Ms. Susan announced, “now you are all butterflies! Fly butterfly. Fly!”, and we all flew about the room propelled by our beautiful flowing scarf wings. The whole situation was very Stevie Nicks.

I couldn’t even make eye contact with my potential dude friend. We understood that perhaps later, when things were a little less flamboyant, we might have a chance to connect in some way. But not here. Not while flapping scarves. “Hey, wanna get a beer after this butterfly thing is over?” Neither of us was willing to take that leap.

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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