You have never heard two people protest a shower as much as we did. No, we don’t want anyone to get us gifts. No, we don’t need anything. Yes, we can buy it ourselves. No, we don’t want you to spend your money. No, we don’t want games. Yes, we know that people expect it. No, we don’t need a cake. Or balloons. Or sparkling cider. No, we don’t want to make our colleagues feel like they have to come, have to bring something. No, we don’t want to ask people to send something when we can’t throw a party to thank them. Yes, we mean it.
I don’t think we’re that unusual. I’ve heard so many people say that they didn’t want to play the games and didn’t want to be the center of attention that I didn’t think we’d be depriving people of the experience. Of course, people love babies and want to celebrate their arrival, and we’d never say no to a gift, we just didn’t want to explicitly ask for them. We didn’t have a bridal shower either, but the gifts showed up after we sent announcements. Those gifts were lovely and appreciated and a complete surprise. I thought a baby might be more of the same.
Despite our protestations, we ended up with two showers. One, virtual, came at the hands of my sister who hand-made invites and send them to family and friends who can’t be with us (since almost all of our friends and family are more long-distance than driving distance). We insisted that she ask only for our friends to send advice, but then she tacked that registry info on there anyway. Although I feel a little shameful about it, I’ll admit that the gifts we’ve received have been an enormous help. The other shower, a work event, we consented to only after a word of advice from a close colleague. He recommended that we take a second look at the shower from an activist point of view. Although we work in a relatively liberal pocket of the state, a gay baby shower is a happy, voluntary celebration that both gives people the chance to eat cake and quietly demonstrates that gay couples are just like straight couples in so many ways – they laugh, celebrate, toast, hug, open gifts and have children. In the end, I felt like having not having a shower would make us feel more different and that’s not the goal.
Regardless of our shower whining, we had a beautiful celebration. There were platters of fruit and cheese (thank god someone else wants to feed my wife’s melon habit), a lovely cake, many, many gifts and a few dozen happy folks. I am constantly in awe of how honored I am to work in this place, with these people, as cheesy as that sounds. Now, to work on the unbagging. Does anyone want a free gift bag?