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The Game of Life

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Casting Call
Survivor: Surburbia

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.
Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.
There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
*keep his assigned house clean
*correct all homework and complete science projects
*cook
*do laundry
*pay a list of ‘pretend’ bills with not enough money.

In addition, each contestant will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays, anniversaries, and other life events of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time–no emailing.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor’s appointment, a dentist appointment, and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.
Each man will be responsible for the following:
*decorating his own assigned house
*planting flowers outside
*keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television once the kids are asleep AND all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelery, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches,
and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, house of worship, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them , brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information:
*each child’s birthday
*height
*weight
*shoe size
*clothes size
* doctor’s name, phone number, and chart number
*each child’s weight at birth,
*length at birth
*time of birth
*length of labour
*each child’s favourite colour
*middle name
*favourite snack
*favourite song
*favourite drink
*favourite toy
*biggest fear
*what they want to be when they grow up

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.
The last man wins only if…
he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment’s notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right To be called Mother!

Ok so there isn’t really going to be a version of Survivor like the one described above. And before you guys start shooting off dagger-filled comments about how much you help out at home, let me acknowledge that lots of dads are really great about participating in the child-rearing of their kids. But the reality is that the burden typically falls to the mom. Even when mom works outside the home. Full time.

As I sit here waiting for pasta to cool so that it can go into lunch boxes for tomorrow, I wonder why it is that after working a 13-hour day, I was the one who had to make a quick stop at the grocery store and then get the lunches packed and backpacks ready so that the incidence of screaming is statistically lowered in the pre-departure rush.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday, 15 September 2008 12:44 am

    , I wonder why it is that after working a 13-hour day, I was the one who had to make a quick stop at the grocery store and then get the lunches packed and backpacks ready so that the incidence of screaming is statistically lowered in the pre-departure rush.

    That is addressed in the third paragraph of the Ketuba.

  2. Steve permalink
    Monday, 15 September 2008 4:45 pm

    I dont want to downplay your role as a mother or wife or breadwinner, nor do I want to downplay other mother, wife or breadwinner for that matter. What I do want to point out though, is your post, although cute and endearing and probably spot-on in your home as it may be, is sexist – had a man written something in the same style with the roles reversed, you would want his head on a spike.

    Yes, plenty of men take for granted the work, love, sweat and tears their wives spend raising their families, but lets not, for one moment, assume the burden belongs solely to the fairer sex.

    Plenty of men (myself included!) have taken on the role of ‘stay at home’ or ‘work from home’ dads – many without the help of mother’s helpers or nannies – and manage to do all of the things you state in your post, with the possible exception of the makeup and jewelry (and I bet there are dads who do that, too!)

    In this day and age, it is hard to make a point about sexual equality without actually ‘proving one’s point’ and being sexist ourselves.

    I, for one, am a work-from-home dad who cars for my daughter during the day, takes care of the house, dry cleaning, shopping, etc., and manage to also remember all of the important milestones you mention above.

    And I know there are many, many other men just like me all over our country.

    My point is, I’m not terribly offended, just wondering what you were trying to get at with your essay. It seems you are making the point that it is you who has to do these things (along with an extra trip to the grocery store) as opposed to your husband.

    Well, none of us is perfect.

  3. Monday, 15 September 2008 8:11 pm

    steve – i’m not sure it’s about sexism but just roles in the household.

    my own husband is a stay-home/work-home dad but i’m still the one who does the bulk of the cooking, shopping, laundry, etc.

    i think it’s just life.

  4. Steve permalink
    Tuesday, 16 September 2008 5:06 am

    Phyllis, what you don’t get is the general tone present in reverse sexism. As much as I would agree that many men don’t help out as much, the notion that ‘I think it’s just life’ is, inherently, sexist. Many men DON’T help out enough. Many do.

    Imagine If I said “yeah, many women work and then come home and do a lot of helping around the house, but for the most part, men go to work, women stay home, paint their nails, spend the man’s money and watch soap operas. It’s just life”

    Heads would roll.

    And yes, the statement I made IS true for some households. Probably a lot of them.

    Yet it is sexist to make a statement like this. Because it places a gender-based stereotype out there. Even though for some people, the statement is 100% true.

    Thats why it has become wrong (I wont say ‘politically correct, because that whole notion is absurd) to make statements like:

    The Irish are drunks and fight a lot
    Black people are uneducated and steal
    Jews are cheap and don’t tip well
    Italians are hairy and are all in the Mob
    Indians all speak funny and work at convenience stores
    Southerners are inbred and drive pick up trucks

    These statements are absolutely unacceptable – even though for SOME people, they may be true. I have a friend who is jewish (just as I am) and yet he is as cheap as can be – and yes, he tips poorly! Yet even though the statement is true, when discussing him, it is an abomination to go around saying that jews are cheap.

    But again, men are still a group that its funny to make stereotypes about.

    Reverse sexism is ugly. Just like any mean spirited stereotyping.

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