The baby shower—that often stodgy affair featuring room-temperature cuisine followed by a lengthy gift-opening session during which the mom-to-be oohs and aahs over all the things she forced the guests to buy her—is getting a makeover by an unexpected force: the bro.
As reported over the weekend by Mashable, lifestyle pornography network Pinterest announced that posts of ideas for man-only showers, or what they call “Dadchelor Parties,” rose by 149 percent in 2015. Pins for such affairs tend to recommend dude-friendly concepts, often involving card-playing, meat, and beer. One popular theme is “Huggies and Chuggies,” which are parties where the host provides the beer and the guests bring diapers. Another is “Poker and Pampers,” which is pretty much the same concept, but adds gambling to the mix.
Over the same time period, pins for coed showers increased by 255 percent. While less fratty in spirit, ideas for these parties tend to have more in common with the Dadchelor than they do with the traditional woman-only version. There are a lot of suggestions for barbeques—or the rather troubling term Baby-Qs—as well as inspiration for burger and beer affairs.
While I’d personally no more prefer spending my Sunday afternoon at a Dadchelor party than I would eating tea sandwiches at ladies-only baby shower, I’m glad to see that they’re catching on. The elements of the dad shower might all seem traditionally masculine, but importantly, they’re being used to mark a moment that is not. The transition to parenthood was for too long seen as something that primarily happens to mothers, and, as such, only moms were in need of traditions to help make the process feel more manageable. But now that dads are taking on larger roles in their children’s lives, they, too, also want formalize their passage into fatherhood. To that, I say bring on the Huggies and Chuggies!
The other laudable aspect of the Dadchelor is the way they are focused on pleasure as opposed to only preparing the dad-to-be for the day-to-day drudgery of paternal responsibilities. This offers a stark contrast to baby showers for women that, with the all requisite unwrapping of and discussions around baby stuff, are easily dominated by the how-tos of motherhood rather than with marking the joyful life change a child ideally represents. While all those conversations about swaddles, diapers, and sleep-training are important to have, they can also easily feel like a wake for the mother's previous freedoms. Pregnant women should take a cue from these dads and use the shower as an opportunity to enjoy themselves and celebrate, albeit with less beer. After all, once the baby comes along, finding time for a drink with friends tends to be a little more difficult.