I think I’m beginning to understand why there’s no more dads on parent leave around here. Being a full time dad makes you much more isolated than a full time mum. The parent group I’m going to consist of me and six mums and it’s the same at the baby cafés I’m attending. The mums also go for walks, have coffee, play dates and lunches together. You could argue that I should just join them, and if I asked I don’t think they would turn me down, however I’m a bit concerned of what their husbands would think of that. I’m not sure they would appreciate some random man going for walks, have coffee, play dates and lunches with their wife. The other day I saw one of the mums from the parent group in the store together with her baby and husband. I saw them in the corner of my eye and decided to act as if I hadn’t seen them, but she saw me and said hello in a happy “I know you really well and haven’t seen you in a while” kind of voice. I greeted her back in a less enthusiastic voice and when I looked up I saw her husband, standing slightly behind her, looking at me in a “who the hell are you and why the hell do you know my wife” kind of way. I have met him once before on a parent group barbecue, but apparently he didn’t recognize me right away and I didn’t stay to find out if he did eventually. The only reason this is an issue at all is because of the cardinal rule for men, the rule stating that you never should spend more time with a woman than you do with her man. This is a rule I’ve been aware of for quite some time now. My best friends are a couple, but since I came out the husband no longer approves of me talking to his wife as much as I did before. I used to call her whenever I wanted to tell them both something, but today I call him instead. When I meet them both I greet him first and then her instead of the other way around. It’s just small adjustments like that and I don’t mind. I just see it as me having to learn the rules and regulations for men in this society and having my best friend teaching me is a privilege. By complying to the rules I don’t have to be afraid of making a fool out of myself later on when I interact with people.
But finding one of the unwritten rules for men I obviously got curious and went on a quest to find other rules. I soon stumble over “the bro code”, known from the TV show “How I met your mother”. I think this code of conduct is more for young single guys, but the only rules for older men I’ve found is “gentlemen rules” and they are more about being polite to people around you. As far as I can see they don’t exclude each other in more than a few rules regarding how to treat women as potential partners. But then again there’s a difference between how boys and men behave in those situations. In my opinion the rules can be sorted in two basic categories; fear of being seen as gay and the fear of being seen as a female.
So, here I give you the rules for dudes as interpreted by me.
Cardinal rule: Don’t spend more time with a woman than you do with her man, even if it’s pre- or post relationship.
Breaking rules: You’re allowed to break the rules as long as no one finds out.
The “I’m not gay-rules“:
- Hugs are for really close friends only.
- Don’t look another man in the eyes for too long.
- Don’t interact in public restrooms or in the locker room unless you are really good friends.
- Don’t look at male gymnastics, figure skating or dance. Do look at female counterparts.
- Don’t share your food with another guy.
- Don’t share a bed with another guy if there’s still room on the floor.
- Two guys don’t go to a theatre, movie or restaurant together. If you’re three dudes it’s a different story.
The “I’m not a girl-rules”
- Don’t ask for help.
- Don’t whine.
- Don’t gossip.
- Don’t tell anyone of your hobbies. They’ll probably sound really dorky to others.
- A boy don’t watch chick-flicks if he can avoid it.
- Don’t be vain.
- Don’t show emotions unless it’s sports related.
The list can go on forever, but I think you got the picture 😉