I found out that someone from work is having a baby shower.
I would rather be put in a guillotine or have hot tar poured over me than be put in the middle of a gaggle of giggly women all oooohing and ahhhing over itsy bitsy clothing and telling war stories about how their own children were born, ripping a gaping hole in them wide enough that you could drive a beer truck through. Then there are the games ... the worst of which I've had to endure involved handing out miniature diapers. The person who had fake "poo" (at least I hope it was fake) in their diaper won a prize. I have to say that not having any poo in my diaper was prize enough for me, thank you very much.
Because the shower is at work, during working hours, I have no way to use my usual avoidance techniques, which usually include coming down with a mysterious 24-hour infectious disease or having a relative conveniently die. At work, they usually require proof of either of these, which throws a wrench in my plans unless I can get a leper to pee in a cup for me or produce a corpse that looks like my grandmother.
The worst part is I don't know this woman very well. I have endured baby showers for good friends in the past, mostly because I know that it is difficult sometimes to be my friend and I figure I owe them at least some suffering for having to put up with me constantly whining about my pants being too tight.
But even in those cases, I wasn't GOOD at the whole thing.
First there is the shopping. Not only have I never given birth myself, but babies freak me out because they are so damn helpless and USELESS ... with their little lolling heads flopping right and then left. How can anyone handle the pressure of being RESPONSIBLE for that? If you combine my ignorance with my paralyzing fear, I'm left pretty much completely oblivious as to what a baby would need besides a neck brace ... and I can't seem to ever find those.
I've been known to wander a baby department for HOURS .. the dread in my belly growing with each passing minute as I realize I may NEVER be able to buy a suitable gift no matter how long I stay. I don't even UNDERSTAND most of what the merchandise is used for. Those tiny shoes, for example -- the kid can't walk when they are that small, why do they need shoes? I spent one confusing hour with something called a "onesy" in one hand and a "twosy" in the other, trying to break the mysterious code. The sizes made no sense to me either, especially when a sales girl explained that 6 months actually means 3 months, and a year equals about 9 months. What the hell?
I could get a stuffed animal ... one of the few things that I understand because after an hour of being in the baby department I usually want a teddy bear to cling to as I curl up in the fetal position in the corner of the store and suck my thumb. But my maternal friends have warned me that some plush toys may choke a baby if their eyes are too small, loose, or covered in led. MORE shit to worry about! How do mothers do it?
I usually end up breaking down and begging the sales person to pick out something for me, throwing wads of cash in her direction in my desperate frenzy. I then bolt from the store looking for the nearest bar before I hyperventilate.
But the shopping, unfortunately isn't the worst part.
The shower itself, with little doilies and pastels covering every surface, is the real hell. Everyone in attendance seems to be vying for an award on who can touch the pregnant woman's belly the most - like she's a walking Buddha doll. There's a lot of hormones, a lot of crying and hugging and biological clocks ticking. Talk almost always revolves around enemas, spinal blocks and vaginal tearing. A few of us non-mommies take refuse in a corner, unable to relate to the conversations of the veteran mommies, who swap stories about boogers and vomit, binkies and breast feeding. One of us non-mommies, most likely me, may even bring a flask to try to numb us from the deluge of baby talk.
Then the games begin. If it isn't poopy diapers, it's "the clothes pin game." Everybody gets a clothespin and if you hear someone say the word "baby" anytime during the shower, you get their clothespin. The person who has the most clothespins at the end, wins. I KILL at this game, by the way.
There's usually party favors ... little porcelain baby bottles, perhaps, that serve absolutely NO purpose in life. And there's a cake, usually also with a diaper theme or something equally unappetizing.
At the end of such a shower, I'm usually spent ... emotionally drained and psychologically scarred. I have faced my fear but I have yet to conquer it. I take comfort sometimes in the fact that I know my friend now OWES ME. And believe me, I'll make sure the payoff is a BITCH.
But I'm uncertain as to what the silver lining of this shower will be. I may score points with my coworkers; I may even get one step closer to being able to figure out a "onesy" from a "twosy."
But I'll tell yah one thing ... if I get the poopy diaper, I'm outta there.