I’d Rather Be Pluralized

by doodaddy on October 9, 2008

Please tell me I’m overreacting.

We have a new Music Together teacher. The “hello” song (for those of you uninitiated to this particular cult) has a verse that goes:

Hello to the mommies!
Hello to the daddies!
Hello to the nannies!

If there are no nannies, we skip that line; if there are grandmas or grandpas or babas there that day, we sing to them, too.

All five teachers we’ve known have pluralized the daddy line, even though I’m usually the only one. I sense the underlying philosophy: don’t single anyone out; we’re the supportive grownups and the class is not about us.

Our new teacher, though, makes a point of singing

“Hello to the DADDY!

Seriously, just like that, bold face and everything.

I wouldn’t make such a big deal of this except that the teacher’s constantly calling me out. “Sing, Doodaddy! Do a solo dance, Doodaddy! It’s so great how you sing along, Doodaddy!” She even commented the first time we met on how Boo must have my wife’s eyes, which is a) not true (they appear to have come from her extraterrestrial lover), and b) while one is in the basement of one of the most gay-friendly churches in a neighborhood of gay families in the middle of a rainbow town, it’s a bit quick to assume that I’m married to a woman. Even if I am.

I’m not the only goofy, participatory adult in the class — I’m just the only male. I love being praised as much as the next person, but there’s too much of that “You’re doing a great job for a dad” implied in the extra attention. It’s complimentary, but also irritatingly exclusive.

I feel a more authentic compliment in being treated just like anyone else. Well, anyone else who’s kinda goofy. So next time, instead of “Hello to the DADDY!” maybe I’ll ask her to sing a little more particularly:

“Hello, all you GOOFY PEOPLE!”
“Hello to all you DRAMA MAJORS!”
“Hello to all you PEOPLE WHO DON’T MIND EXHIBITING THEIR LACK OF ABILITY TO CARRY A TUNE OR DANCE IN FRONT OF OTHER ADULTS!”

And if she does? Now, that would rock.

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tagged as in dancing,whining ·

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rattling the Kettle October 9, 2008 at 7:06 am

I think she was hitting on you.

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sugarplumsmom October 9, 2008 at 10:07 am

Yeah maybe she was trying to find out if you are a single dad.. since so few dad’s participate in those activities. My husband came to Sugarplum’s first dance class… and sugarplum made friends with a little girl whose dad was there for the first 2 classes.. and now it’s just us mom’s that are there. I’ve seen one other dad one time. Calling you out is intended as a compliment simply because you are there and you are doing a fantastic job with boobaby.

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doodaddy October 9, 2008 at 11:26 am

@sugarplumsmom – Oh, sure, I know it was intended as a compliment, but it’s like saying to a woman “Wow, *you* can hang a picture????” Plus, at the time I wasn’t really doing anything special apart from being male. I’d much rather just blend in.

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doodaddy October 9, 2008 at 11:26 am

@Rattling the Kettle – Ooooh, you think so? That would be a first!

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sugarplumsmom October 9, 2008 at 12:02 pm

@doodaddy – I know… all I meant was that it’s just doubtful that you’ll simply blend in, simply because you’re the dad and it’s just not that common.. but it should be.

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AMR October 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm

“Sing Doodaddy! Do a little solo dance, Doodaddy.” All words better said in the privacy of the home by a woman with a sultry voice (followed by Meg Ryan-like screams of passion).

Though I wonder how sultry anyone could ever make “Doodaddy” sound.

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doodaddy October 10, 2008 at 1:15 am

@sugarplumsmom – Yeah, I know. I still think that there’s a virtue in not calling people out for things they can’t help. Like, you know — “Wow, you’re really bald!” — that kind of thing…

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doodaddy October 10, 2008 at 1:16 am

@AMR – Oh, I bet even Doodaddy could sound pretty good, spoken by, say, Lauren Bacall. My real name, though? Not a chance — it’s a geek’s name, completely.

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Jerri Ann October 10, 2008 at 10:06 am

Ut oh, see, now I’ll never get him to that paperbag pumpkin painting thing by 1 pm because he’ll feel all stigmatized (is that the right word, I promise I’m not near as dumb as it seems).

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doodaddy October 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

@Jerri Ann – There is no stigma in painting paper bag pumpkins. The only stigma would be in not painting paper bag pumpkins.

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Polly October 14, 2008 at 10:31 am

I’m with you, sir. I think we create the space for the world we want to live in, by referring to what is currently unusual as utterly ordinary. Since utterly ordinary is what we’re working towards.

I thrilled to the line “Hello to the Babas,” which our Music Together sang out when we were in the class. The plural made me feel not singled out, but just one of the many who could be there. Which is more or less true, and hopefully truer and truer.

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doodaddy October 15, 2008 at 6:06 pm

@Polly – Preeee-cisely! We had a baba one session, too (she actually went by “mama” while her wife was “mommy” — confusing at first, but not to their son!) so we sang “hello to the mommies” and “hello to the mamas.” It was subtle but beautiful.

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