The Gay Toronto House Party

Image result for karen mean girls

I am at a house party in Cabbagetown, Toronto, hosted by a delightful young gay couple I met at my gym on Yonge & Something. I am wearing jeans, a black tank top, and a paddy cap.

A red-haired woman asks me the second question everyone always asks in Toronto. The first question is what’s your name. Then they pretend you don’t have an accent and avoid asking you where you come from because they once read an op-ed written by a frothy thought-policemaperson about how you’re a cryptofascist for othering others by questioning their origin.

And they go straight to asking you what you do for a living because Canadians are the greatest people in the world, but they still need to know where you rank in the grand scheme of things.

So I tell her the truth — that I am the Editor in Chief of Arthritis Monthly magazine. I say it like that, capitalizing Editor and Chief because job titles should always be capitalized in Toronto.

To this she oohs and aahs and how-interestings. Yes, it is quite interesting, but also very challenging, I say. It’s not easy to fill up an entire magazine with fresh arthritis-related content every single month plus the special summer issue.

The red-haired woman is single and middle-aged and gorgeous and wants to tell me about all the boys she’s slept with in the past three months. I pretend to listen but my mind is elsewhere, thinking as I am of the next Arthritis Monthly centerfold spread — two blank pages with an old lady crumpled into a tiny twisted heap in the bottom right corner.

One of the hosts is snorting coke off the abs of a shirtless Portuguese waiter. He turns to me and says, “you can’t smoke in the house”.

Then I wake up.

The Gay Man’s Guide To Straight People’s Babies

There comes a time in every gay man’s life, usually around his thirties, when he is confronted with other people’s babies. If you find yourself elbow-deep in friends’ and relatives’ super fertile life stages, and and feeling a bit lost, read on.

There comes a time in every gay man’s life, usually around his thirties, when he is confronted with other people’s babies.

It comes slowly, then suddenly: a Facebook announcement or two, then a sibling’s phone call, then seventy thousand people seemingly agreeing to repopulate a continent at the same time. If you find yourself elbow-deep in friends’ and relatives’ super fertile life stages, and feeling a bit lost, this guide is for you.

— The Baby Announcement. “We are pregnant!”, says your favourite straight couple, and they are thrilled, and so are you! You jump, you hug, maybe you cry a little? You look deeply into your straights’ eyes (all four of them) and you say “This is going to be amazing!”.

Not so fast. Not everything about babies is wonderful and powdery and fragrant, and it’s important to be informed about the consequences this will have for your life. For starters, and I cannot stress this enough, you’ll be shocked at the amount of focus this baby is going to pull: it will steal your thunder at Halloween parties. It will soil its diaper in the middle of your anecdote. And there’s nothing you can do – not even your zombie stewardess costume can compete with Baby Wonder Woman and you know it.

Think about this for a bit. You are going to be very quiet at work the next day.

– The Sonogram. First seen around the third-month mark (your mileage may vary), you will be confronted with a grainy mess in black and white. This is an image of the inside of your friend’s uterus. Rumor has it that the baby is in there too. If you sucked at playing Where’s Waldo and hated those terrible 3D trick image books that you are supposed to stare at while crossing your eyes, you will love the sonogram stage.

Let’s play Spot The Fetus!

You know when you are ravenously hungry but you don’t have anything in your fridge because you have been working too much and forgot to do the shopping, so you pop down to the corner store and buy a can of lentil soup and it’s the last one on the shelf and it’s kinda dusty, and then you go home and you microwave it in a bowl and then you look at it?

The baby is the sausage.

Don’t worry if you still can’t see it as the parents will point it out to you. What they insist is the baby will look to you like a blistered toe, but you must keep this observation to yourself and adopt the Sonogram Face: simply picture yourself smelling a delicious batch of freshly baked cupcakes. Aha? See? That’s the face. You’ve got this.

– The Pregnancy. With all the mainstream focus relentlessly placed on the mother, people often neglect to tell you that during your friend’s pregnancy, as a gay man, your body is going to change. Not only is she going to be cancelling a lot of joint artisanal vegan Pilates sessions or whatever, but she’s always going to be tired. At some point, getting your pregnant couple friends to stay up past eleven is going to be a huge imposition even though it’s barely dinner time for you (no? just me?). You are either going to be getting a lot more sleep, or a lot more drunk by your lonesome. Which, you know, it’s a free country.

– Picking Baby Names. Save yourself the trouble and stop suggesting awesome names like Sebastian and Vincent because you all know they’re going to name it after a grandparent. And not even a grandparent with a cool name like Dorian or Rambo, but one named Norman.

– New Glossary: Replace commonly used terms like ‘brunch’ or ‘theatre tickets’ with ‘placenta’, ‘mastitis’, ‘epidural’, and my personal favourite: ‘mucus plug’. (never ever google this)

– The Birth: It’s best not to ask questions. You can’t handle the answers. Just show up three days later with a bottle of vodka and a carton of cigarettes for the mother like I did once some form of fluffy toy animal and your Sonogram Face on.

– Baby Gifts. Baby gifts are a minefield. The colours. The politics. Is pink okay for a girl? Is pink okay for a boy? Is a copy of Heather Has Two Mommies too premature for a pre-verbal child? Does this stuffed giraffe violate fundamental principles of animal ethics?

The good news is that, while you may fret about such unquestionably important things, the baby’s parents haven’t slept, showered or eaten a warm meal in a week and therefore would not care at this stage if you gave their child a box of live ammunition and a copy of Hustler if it meant that you finally went away and left them alone with the consequences of their poor choices baby.

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This has been your Gay Man’s Guide To Straight People’s Babies, learning as we go along. Coming up soon, The Gay Man’s Guide To Parent’s Demanding Grandchildren Because Being Gay Is No Longer An Excuse.