Cold shoulder, anyone?

by doodaddy on March 2, 2007

Dads on the playground get all sorts of reactions, the best of which is, of course, to treat us no differently than you might treat any other parent or caregiver. That seems to be too much to ask. Today, I add to my ever-growing catalog of freaky mommy types:

The Ignorer

Our playground is famous in town for being friendly, and I try to live up to that reputation by engaging with as many people as possible. Today, though, was one of those days where nearly every mommy or nanny (yep, only dad, again) was already in a chatty group when we arrived. Most weren’t actively excluding me, they were just enjoying the people they already knew and feeling comfortable. Fine.

One group in particular, though, was aggressively closed. Boobaby took me to the swings, right where these three were playing, and the moms actually turned their backs when I said “good morning,” continuing their conversation as if no one had said anything. Later, Boo and I ran into a British mom and baby we know well and we played some ball. Two of the ignorers had left by this point, but the third one, it turns out, was British, too. She struck up my friend in conversation about all that British stuff, and as often as I gamely tried to participate, she shut me out. It was like one of those conversations on I Love Lucy when Ricky and Lucy aren’t talking to each other, so they have to make Ethel pass messages. “Tell Ricky I won’t speak to him until he buys me that dress!” “Tell Loocy ‘Ai-ai-ai-ai-ai’!”

The funny thing is that I don’t think that Ignorers do it on purpose. There’s just something about dads on weekdays that is a little too strange for this type. It’s not a ubiquitous thing, but it’s common enough that I do have to steel myself or risk being taken by surprise.

I just don’t know why people are ever unfriendly, when being friendly is so much more pleasant.

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in animals,oddparents,playground,stay-at-home dad ·

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat March 7, 2007 at 9:07 am

I 100% agree with you. I have been at home with my two kids for almost two years and other Moms can be rude. My wife came with me to drop my son off at pre-school last month. Before I had a chance to take my hat and gloves off, she was in a conversation with these two other mothers that hadn’t given me the time of day. I mentioned it to my wife and she just assumed that they were always that friendly. No such luck.


doodaddy March 7, 2007 at 1:07 pm

The odd thing to me is how actively friendly I am, and I still get this attitude. I suppose this sort of thing happens with “outsiders” in any situation: we have to try doubly hard to get the same level of respect.


Lindyloo April 11, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Just found your blog and had to comment. I don’t think it’s just a dad thing. I had it happen in a baby group I went to. It’s a cliquey thing. They probably did it in HS too. If you’re a SAHD or your not wearing the cool/yummy/sporty mummy outfit they just freeze you out. It’s pretty brutal. I kept at it as I too pride myself in being inclusive and wasn’t going to be beaten by these women. Unfortunatly I was. I decided I wasn’t going to pay money to feel like crap. I’ve bumped into them in different baby groups and if they’re alone and have no one else to talk to they come over and chat. Being the nasty biotch that I am I just look at them and walk away. BAD, I know I just can’t help it.


doodaddy April 11, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Oh, lindy, you’re so baaaad! No, seriously, there are enough “cool” folks around now that I’m never too ostracized. Those early months, though, until I was more of a “known quantity” at the park — whew!

I’ve always tried to live according to something I read when I was about 11: “You could see that they were ready to be friends with anyone who was friendly and didn’t give a fig for anyone who wasn’t.”

That’s who I’ve always tried (not always successfully!) to be!

P.S.: TEN POINTS if you can remember the source of that quote!


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