Stripper poles should not be a part of a home. If you own one and I’ve offended you I apologize (sorry mom), but I personally can’t imagine explaining it to my daughters. This new exercise fad serves as a reminder of all the stuff I’ve pushed aside as a responsible parent.
If I didn’t have kids I’d listen to more obscene radio morning show DJ’s with names like Crap Boy & Charlie (oh Crap Boy, you’re so funny and relatable). I’d pee with the door open. I could once again pick my nose anywhere in the house without a little voice nagging, “Put it in a Kleenex dad!” My computer’s music library wouldn’t have all the bad-titled songs “X’ed” out. And I would have a stripper pole. Twelve of them. Less for exercise and more for structural integrity… but yeah.
Come to think of it I’ve been style-shedding for quite some time. Getting married was the first blow. Suddenly my framed Aerosmith poster wasn’t good enough for the living room. Or the basement. Or the frame itself (Dear S. Tyler: I’m sorry*). Gone were the shot glasses above the TV. Everything I gave up was replaced in equal proportion by either a candle or another pillow.
*In a wildly unrelated side story that just crossed my mind: When I was 22 I loved Aerosmith. Borderline unhealthy admiration. Anyway, I was at a dance club trying my damndest to talk to/dance with/touch the shoulder of any girl who’d allow it. One took an interest and danced several songs with me until the DJ played a Run DMC Walk This Way remix. She yelled, “That’s awesome, I love Aerosmith.” My heart leapt. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a plastic embossed card with the wings logo on it and yelled back, “Me too, I’m in the fan club!” The remainder of the night I danced alone.
The change keeps coming in waves. My shower used to simply house soap, shampoo and a razor. Those items all multiplied and had smelly little babies that exfoliate, scrub, and silken. My shower has evolved into its current form… an explosion of rubber ducks, foam alphabet letters and Nick Jr. paraphernalia.
Everywhere I look I see things I’ve either given up or altered for the sake of my wife and kids. Why do we do it… as men, that is? Why we change for our spouses is easy – sex. A high percentage of living room Aerosmith posters directly correlate to a low percentage of boobies.
But why change for our children? They don’t care how badly we decorate. They don’t see the radio morning shows’ raunchy content as negative. They just soak it all up and shape their lives around it. Therein lays the answer.
We dads modify our behavior in hope of being better men, thus creating a better environment for our kids to be shaped. We give up or suppress the ugly in order to grow more beauty. Sure, some of the vices we enjoy as adults are fun and tough to give up, but one look at those innocent, inquisitive eyes and you’d sacrifice anything for them.
I’m a little winded by all this sappiness. I could stand to exercise. You got a pole at your place I can use? I’ll bring my own Aerosmith mix tape.
Nathan Bright is a 30-something stay-at-home dad who resides near St. Louis, MO. He is a husband to an amazing woman and father to a doubly amazing 2 year old little girl. His blessed home is scheduled to be even more blessed in March, as Nathan and his wife will welcome a second daughter to their family. When Nathan is not blogging for The Daddy’s Den, he writes and illustrates his own children’s books. Available for purchase immediately is Maddi Patti and her Stay-at-Home-Daddy.