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Baby Magnet

by Stephen Lautens


May 16, 2003

It’s taken me more than forty years, but I’ve finally discovered what women find irresistible in a man. Unfortunately, that thing is a baby.

A man out in public on his own with a baby has always attracted a crowd of female admirers. Desperate men have been borrowing babies for ages as a way to meet women. It’s supposed to show our caring and nurturing side, especially when we demonstrate that we know how to hold them the right way up.

Of course it helps to have a cute baby. I don’t care what anyone says, all babies are not cute. I saw one the other day at the grocery store that looked like it belonged in a collection of troll dolls, or jumping out of the oven and chasing Karen Black around the kitchen with a knife. No - all babies are not created equal. Ugly babies will get you sympathy, but not a date.

Even attractive babies can spoil a good thing by acting like - well - babies. It helps to guarantee the baby’s cuteness out in public by making a deal with him beforehand. I promise my son that if he is good and adorable when we’re out, he can throw his choice of my music CDs in the toilet when we get home. The joke’s really on him, though. I know he was going was going to throw them in anyway when we get back.

But men borrowing babies just to score with the ladies should beware. There are a number of ways women can tell if a man really is a caring and nurturing hands-on dad or if the baby seat in the back of the Camero is just a prop.

Just like people check for wedding rings in a singles bar, you can tell a real dad because his right index finger is constantly stained a bright white from applying zinc diaper rash cream. You can scrub all you want, but that finger is going to stay white until your kid is out of diapers, or in college, whichever comes first.

Another way to tell a real dad from some shady baby-borrower is a real dad can actually fold and unfold a stroller with one hand. All baby equipment requires a degree in advanced engineering to use. Not only do the pictures in the instructions look nothing like the model you bought, everything seems to require at least three hands to open or close. Real fathers can kick a stroller in the sweet spot to make it snap open. That alone will get you admiring glances.

Finally, genuine fathers have learned how to carry more things than an Iraqi looter. Books, cookies, pacifiers, and emergency diapers are all kept within easy reach for the sudden screaming meltdown. You can spot a rent-a-dad on the make when he can’t produce a jar of Cheerios, and none of his clothes have smears of drool, formula or worse on them.

Of course, the one problem with a baby magnet is that if it is your own child, chances are you’re already married and you should really stop looking for dates. And although when we’re out with the offspring we real fathers find the attention we get from the ladies very flattering, there’s one other big problem. If you are a real father, should anyone ever come on to you you’re just too darn tired to do anything more than smile.

© Stephen Lautens 2003

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