Baby showers are the most groan-inducing, eye-rolling events on anyone’s calendar. They’re the white wine spritzers of social events, but often without even the wine. Frilly experiences where awkwardness runs high, people feel absurd playing stupid games, and the squealing hits high decibels.
Let’s change that, shall we?
Let’s throw a big gay baby shower an event everyone wants to attend.
Baby showers are a very specific tradition that exploded in popularity during the 40’s and 50’s with the baby boom generation. They were meant to help very young parents get over the hurdles of having to buy All. The. Things. for the little (expensive) bundle of joy preparing to
ruin enhance their lives.
But unless it’s your very first baby shower and you’re 24 years old, most everyone wants to avoid these events.
And since gay men aren’t normally having children (planned or otherwise) in their early 20’s, their parenting path tends to be a bit more planned.
So do we need to throw a big gay baby shower? Probably not.
But do we want to throw a big gay baby shower party for the hell of it? Hells yes.
And should we go ahead and cash in on our friends’ generosity and get free shit in the process? Hells-to-the-yassss.
But does it need to be the just-past-virginal, pastel party with balloons and tons of baby breath?
Let’s upgrade a baby shower for the gay set, shall we?
- Forget tradition – Why does it need to be in the early afternoon? Who the hell wants to have a party in the early afternoon? (Unless it’s brunch, in that case – it’s more acceptable to drink moderately and expect to have a productive day.) But why not have an evening party? Make it a birth – DAY party. Ambience, acceptable music levels, munchies, etc. Make it a party. And a party does not happen at noon.
- Games – why not turn your baby shower soiree into a game night? And playing traditional baby shower games feels a whole lot different when lights are low, drinks are flowing, and music’s blaring, rather than everyone acting on their best behavior at 1pm dressed in taffeta. There’s these games and they lend themselves to some fun laughs. But it could easily turn into a game night for all involved, and why not?
- Foods – who doesn’t want to get their Martha Stewart on and make a spread beyond chips and salsa? Might as well turn the party into a potluck (though guests are already bringing gifts, so maybe re-think that.) You can make a spread grazing boards (assuming we’re over our germaphobia post-covid), a big-ass salad tossed with olive oil and salt, some cupcakes and call it a day (or night). People want to be together, they don’t need your best Barefoot Contessa. (Though she made a book just for this, too.)
- Decorations – when the sun goes down, decorations matter even less, let’s be honest. Though it’s silly, having a simple display that marks the occasion makes it special. Spring for the $20 set and keep it centered on a table of cupcakes. It’s cheesy but meaningful and sort of a rite of passage. People want to document that they were there. A balloon or two in the background of the selfie is fun.
- Or make it really grown-up. Why settle for G-rated traditions? Though your gay friends probably didn’t consummate their babies in the traditional way, sex was definitely involved. This could be the perfect time to go raunchy and racy. Babies come from sex and sex is human. So why not?
- Guests – Obviously ask the parents-to-be whom they’d like to invite. One special consideration: did they have a third person involved with the pregnancy? A surrogate carrier? Someone from whom they’re adopting? This might be a beautiful way of celebrating this new family, but definitely check with the parents.
- Gifts – of course gift-giving is the genesis of the baby shower tradition. But let’s be real: beyond diapers, food, a bed and a diaper bag (the best diaper bag for dads, that is), parents don’t need THAT much. So Starbucks cards and bottles of wine for the new parents would be just as appreciated. One lovely gift is simply books – best books for babies and especially supportive books of gay parents. How about books that show children the plethora of ways to love another person or be gay yourself? Building up a baby library brings meaning to the parents.
- Just bring joy, no obligations – make it fun. We’re grown-ups and don’t need to invite people just to make them feel included…especially if they’re archaic backwards thinkers like these poor fools.
- Most important – if you’re hosting, make sure you’re in charge. Don’t get too drunk and HAVE. A. SCHEDULE. Give those who really just want to drop by the chance to get out. Start on time. If you’ve a schedule (game time, presents time, little speeches, unveiling of some kind of cake) make it all happen within ninety minutes. If people want to linger and dance the night away, great. But chances are you’ve still got adults (ahem) with adult responsibilities (not to mention parents with parental responsibilities) who want to see the action but need to get on with their day. So have a schedule, be on time, and then laissez les bon temps roulez.
So, yeah – throw a big gay baby shower should be a truly fun affair. Forget tradition and make it your own. No reason not to make yours a celebration of love and joy and…truly lit.