Is Being a Dad Turning Me Straight?

February 25, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED, LGBT STUFF

It’s late February, and once again there’s ice and snow on the ground. And once again I’m hauling my kid to the mall to burn off energy (and preserve my sanity) in that germ-infested swarm known as the Play Area. As soon as we step off the bottom step to the mall’s lower level, JJ immediately charges in the direction of the indoor plastic playground. Out of instinct—and fear of him running headfirst into an adult crotch—I start the awkward walk-jog of an exhausted, out-of-shape dad in hopes of snatching him from the jaws of danger or a lawsuit. I haven’t shaved or bathed (it’s Sunday – when cleanliness is far from godliness), and I’m wearing a slight variation of the clothes I’d worn the previous day. I’m blending in quite nicely with the other beleaguered parents, walk-jogging through the mall like suburban zombies.

is being a dad turning me straight

Suddenly, from the American Eagle Outfitters, emerge a couple of friends from the gay men’s chorus I sing with. And it’s not just any couple of friends, but the couple who’d been voted “Cutest Couple” at our annual end of year party. Nice guys, full of energy and sunshine and OH SO VERY YOUNG.

Of course they had showered and shaved and are wearing something simple yet smart and put together. I stop for a brief bit of small talk, curious as to why they are in my mall, so far from the city and all things young, cute and gay.

Turns out they are on their way to a play at a local theater, and had run in to get some sandals for a weekend trip to South Beach. I’ve been holding JJ’s hand during this conversation, but soon he wriggles his clammy little paw out of mine and continues his mad dash for the play area. I quickly apologize, bid my friends a good trip, and take off after my kid.

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This exchange, while brief and uneventful, was significant in that it brought together two different worlds, bridged my past and my present, and illuminated the stark contrast between these young, gay lads and myself. We share a gender, an orientation, a chorus and a community, but our lives couldn’t be more different. They were on their way to the see a Broadway musical, dressing (and smelling) nice, shopping for their mid-winter, tropical vacation. I was in sweats chasing a screaming preschooler through a mall. As I pondered this event further, I wondered to myself in horror: Was being a dad turning me straight?


I no longer go to my gossipy, orgasmic shampoo-giving stylist. I now get my hair cut by an old, Greek barber within walking distance of my house. In contrast to the non-stop chatter of a salon, I think my barber said “have a good afternoon” to me once. And the few seconds of shave cream on the back of my neck before he uses the straight razor is pleasantly warm, but hardly orgasmic.
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turning me straight - tshirts
On the weekends (and most weekdays) I wear the same 3 or 4 grey t-shirts, a black hoodie and sneakers.
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turning me straight - The Sports
EXHIBIT C: Sometimes I leave the house in a baseball cap—not as a fashion statement, but because I have bedhead.
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Turning Me Straight - laundry
I let the house get messy. Not Hoarders-level messy, but my dreams of being featured in Southern Living have long since been abandoned.
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turning me straight - potty jokes
There’s been a drastic rise in the number of poop jokes, poop discussions, poop-related purchases and other scatological shit scattered throughout my day.
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EXHIBIT F: I also have a lot of conversations about boogers and chicken butts.
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EXHIBIT G: I’m learning way more about dinosaurs than I ever wanted to know in 10 million trillion years.
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Sometimes I leave the house wearing a black belt with brown shoes.
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EXHIBIT I: I stopped wearing a watch. I don’t have an expensive collection—but as one of the few allowable man-ccessories, I took pride in the several cool timepieces I had. I started going watchless when feeding JJ as an infant, so as not to scratch him or get them barfed on. Now I don’t wear them because none of them go with a grey t-shirt and black hoodie.
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I stopped wearing cologne. I used to wear it almost every day, even if I was just going to be working from home. A guy likes to smell special, even for himself. Now it just seems to be a waste, as it’s spent the last few years competing with the aromas of formula, puke, Desitin, syrup, mac & cheese, pee and poop.
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EXHIBIT K: I hang out in the mall on weekends.
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While the evidence certainly points to my reorientation, now that I’ve had some time to sit with this list, ponder my life and live my “straight” existence a little longer, I realize that I haven’t switched teams after all. I’ve just become a dad.

So why does it have to be gay versus straight? That’s the thing – it doesn’t. All parents of every orientation and family makeup need to stick together through the simultaneous battles being waged against us by A) the ravages of time and B) the diabolical minds of our children.

We need to pool our resources, share each others’ burdens and learn from one another’s experiences. Alert a fellow parent when it’s time to bathe, change clothes or switch out that black belt for a brown one. Give each other a spritz of cologne to mask the fog of baby farts. Let your neighbor know if you see them leaving the house stained with puke or peanut butter.

As long as we have each others’ backs, we can make it through parenthood — if not in style, then at least not covered in shit.

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24 responses to “Is Being a Dad Turning Me Straight?”

  1. Sharisse says:

    This is your funniest post EVER. I’m laughing so hard. If fatherhood has turned you straight – then single motherhood has turned me into a dad. ( I won’t even tell you some of the stuff I do – too embarrassed- even for me) My nickname in his scout troop is “Single Dad”. I used to ALWAYS wear makeup – even to the grocery. This morning I didn’t even comb my hair for carpool.

    We are just out of the young/cute/hip circle – for a while. Let’s meetup as soon as those youngins go to college. and preferable NOT in a mall.

  2. Lisa says:

    I love this post! I am a shell of my prebaby self and while I would change some of it I see my babies and I don’t care that I’m still wearing yoga pants even though I haven’t been to yoga in 4 years and I can’t remember sometimes if I washed my hair or just got it wet…

  3. Sharisse says:

    Lisa – Yoga pants are formal wear in my house.

  4. Doug says:

    This was a great blog. As a gay stay at home dad, I can sooooo relate. Alas!. And I wouldn’t trade it for a weekend in New York…..well……..hmmmm…..

  5. Best thing I’ve read in many, many days.
    I think you’re still safe for now — just don’t join a bowling league. I’d hate to have to come and confiscate your Gay ID card.

    • Brent Almond says:

      Wow, that’s high praise coming from you, Mr. Pirate!

      And I hate to admit it here before you and the whole internet, but I was in a gay bowling league for a couple of years long before I was a parent. Am I in trouble? Would it help if I told you I had a bowling league drag name? 🙂

  6. Great writing here, Brent! I think we all feel the disconnect from our younger, cleaner friends when we begin this journey as Parenting Partners. Fortunately, we then get to feel a new connection with our children, our family as a whole and our friends with children. For me, the relationship growing that has occurred between myself and my own parents stands out as something new. I think (and hope) that I will come circle and be able to reconnect with some of my single or childless friends once the poop flinging years are over. Fist bump from a straight friend, who would have taken offense at the poor dressed and smelly stereotypes if they weren’t spot-on. Haha, sharing this over at DOTR.

  7. Jason Greene says:

    I’m a straight dad and I can so relate. Once upon a time I also wore cologne and made sure I was ready in case I happened to save a modeling agent’s life. Now I wear hoodies and whatever else was next to the bed when I woke up in the morning. It isn’t pretty, but it is life.

    Love the various poop remarks.

  8. Welcome to the land of heteros. Our bichez be crazy too! Great read, Sir!

  9. Jack says:

    Hah, loved it. Poop jokes never get old, or maybe I never did. 😉

  10. David Kepley says:

    That’s really funny! I totally relate to running into people you know from the life you lived. There’s that pang of envy and then that rush of joy for your current situation. Wonderful, foggy-baby-fart joy.

  11. Darrell says:

    Brent, I shared your story and added this comment to my share;

    “I have to admit, while reading Designer Daddy’s latest piece I was a little miffed and felt a little puzzled until his conclusion which summed up exactly what I was thinking as I read this. Yes, I was ready to call him out on this, but he already did that himself.

    (Because, just quietly, I can relate to many of the things on his list except for the black belt with brown shoes. Seriously Brent, have some dignity).”

    And seriously, as I was reading I felt angered and, well not betrayed, but, I don’t know, I just felt angry with you. I was upset that you were distancing a straight dad from a gay dad when I see so many similarities between you, and me, and many of the guys in this group.

    And I see it as a good thing that you got me angry. Firstly, you painted a picture that could have been describing some of my Saturday mornings with my sons. I was there. I was running/walking in the opposite direction towards that plastic playground.

    And then you made it gay…

    But you rescued it (and how much of a fuckwit do I feel for not thinking you would do that?) But that’s the sign of a great piece of writing. I know you. I know your cause. And yet, maybe it’s because I went to bed past midnight again last night, and was woken just after 6am, and I have only had one coffee, and well, I was sucked in to the descriptive nature of your opening lines…

    Nice work Brent. Nice work.

  12. OneOfUs! OneOfUs! OneOfUs! No, not that us-you’re the tired exhausted just this close to the end of your gotta go to work tomorrow for God’s sake rope Dad that we all are (or in my case-was). Only thing that’s changed with you, Brother Brent, is that overwhelming sense of love and responsibility for a little one’s life. Nothing more. Of course, that’s pretty much everything. Shalom.

  13. Love the post, Brent!

    I can’t use my becoming a dad as an excuse for my fashion and house cleanliness, sadly– my pre-dadhood fashion was just as bad before as it is now. I wear things way past the time they should be shredded, evidenced by the fraying edges of pants and shirts.

    I wonder what your opinion is of the gay couple on Modern Family?

  14. Denise says:

    Don’t worry, once the kiddo is school age you’ll get more time to pull yourself together.

  15. Mary says:

    Great post! As a single mom who kept the 45 pounds of baby weight and have added another 35 on to that, it was nice to read this post. It made me feel less bad about myself! (and I don’t mean that as a slam on you – you just reminded me that being a parent is HARD, and a single parent is too!)

    I’d love your Greek barber (not just because, like Sharisse, I have a think for Greek/Mediterranean looking guys), but my hair stylists wants to talk talk talk… and, I have a 3.5 year old. I answer questions at work all day and then answer questions at home all evening… when I go get my hair did? I just want to sit and not have to talk or think… but i do want the orgasmic hair washing experience! ( I don’t think you can get total silence AND orgasmic hair washing… they seem mutually exclusive, darn it!)

    Anyway, thank you for the laugh!! This was great!

  16. […] wordsmith to me. Listen, when you go to his site to read this, look at his piece called “Is Being a Dad Turning Me Straight” it is very funny. In fact stay a while and look […]

  17. […] The social media conglomerate BlogHer recently honored Almond as a “Voice of the Year” for one of his posts. He wrote about being at the mall — disheveled, exhausted, chasing his toddler — when he ran into a young, gay couple he knew. They were the guys his gay men’s chorus had voted “cutest couple,” well dressed and heading to a play. Almond wondered, “Is Being a Dad Turning Me Straight?” […]

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