Why this column? Why now?
Do men even read columns about being fathers? Well no, not often. But it’s not our fault. First off, men barely have time to keep up with what NBA player is accused of raping what teenager, much less sit down with a cup a coffee and digest a stirring article by a bevy of academic and medical experts on 7th grade ADHD issues.
Plus the Wall Street Journal is sitting there looming, and any management-to-be type knows if he can’t quote from the center column of that day’s Journal, it’s best to remain hidden in the bathroom stall all morning.
“Frank didn’t know about the center column today!”
“Really, so what’s he been reading, parenting books?”
“I don’t know but when we can find him, we’re shipping him off to Duluth.”
Then there’s the whole issue of the advice thing. Does any man—besides someone too deeply in touch with his feminine side—seek relationship help from another man? Men have no problem writing into Men’s Health complaining their arms don’t look like they’re in the Special Forces, or they’ll write and ask the Car Guy if the Dodge Ram or Ford F10 has more towing power, but these are relatively new occurrences and it’s clear those men have exhausted every potential solution before submitting to the humiliation of seeking guidance.
True, men might ask another guy how to hit a hanging curve ball. Or they might recruit a neighbor who has a blowtorch if installing a garbage disposal. And they might call a fireman to learn how to put out a fire ignited by a blowtorch. But most guy-to-guy things deal with sports, smart phones, and business deals and are typically discussed over a beer, in a golf cart, or in a gym. And men do not refer to this as seeking advice. This is called guy talk. Women have never learned the difference.
But there are times when even most men feel so helpless, they actually seek advice. Like when men buy a diamond ring, we talk to our very closest friends to see if:
A. They’ve done this before?
B. How much did they spend?
C. Who’d did they buy it from?
D. Was it worth it?
But spending money is an extreme measure. Men will walk over hot coals, we will ask for directions, we will even willingly “share our feelings” with other men if it means we can save money.