I wouldn’t exactly call my son’s conception an accident. I mean, I didn’t trip and fall into The Bride’s vagina. However, it was a surprise. In fact, I was unaware we were even trying to make a
person. Granted, The Bride had been making many more sexual
advances than normal, but I attributed her newfound sexual assertiveness to the better than average hair days I was having as a result of a humidity-free, California winter.
As it turns out, The Bride was much more interested in my DNA
than my hair, and a few weeks into our torrid winter love affair,
everything became illuminated.
I was pouring myself an adult beverage when The Bride came out
of the bathroom with blood lust in her eyes. As soon as I saw her, I knew I was in you’re sleeping at a hotel kind of trouble.
“You suck at marriage!” she yelled.
“I know, and I’m sorry,” I said. Those five words have served me well in our relationship.
“I can’t take it anymore!” screamed The Bride.
“Umm, sweetheart, I know I should probably know this,” I said, treading carefully. “But, umm, why exactly do I suck at marriage?”
The Bride’s jaw dropped open the way a boa constrictor unhinges its jaws right before devouring its prey. She let out an unearthly primordial scream, cocked her arm back, and began firing toiletries
at me like Roger Clemens’ fastballs. The toothpaste whizzed past my ear and splattered against the wall.
“You left the cap off the toothpaste, you used my towel, and you
peed on the toilet seat! Again!”
After a bottle of hair conditioner hurtled past my head and
exploded against the front door, I knew I wasn’t dealing with the average, garden-variety, menstruation-inspired outburst. I’d left the toilet seat up exactly 41,238 times since we’d been married, and though it always irritated her, this over-the-top, violent expression of anger was out of character for my little Filipina bride.
“Are you pregnant?” I asked. The words came out of my mouth
before I had time to process the consequences of them.
“I’m not pregnant! This is not hormone related anger! I’m angry because you’re an inconsiderate ape-man!”
“I know, and I’m sorry,” I said.
Life would be easier if I tattooed this on my forehead.
I decided to go jogging to give The Bride time to cool down.
When I returned, an hour later, I found her in the living room,
crying, with our wedding album splayed open on her lap.
This was a very bad sign.
I considered turning around, running into the ocean, and drowning myself.
“Matthew, I’m pregnant,” she said, holding out the pregnancy test
for me to see.
The Earth stopped rotating and stood still on its axis, freezing
time. I was in a state of stupefied paralysis, completely unable to
form words with my mouth. Only my inner voice seemed to be
Hug her, you idiot!
So, I listened to my inner voice. I hugged her and smiled, and
then hugged her again because that’s what a man’s supposed to do
when his wife tells him she’s pregnant, and I didn’t want to be the
jerk who says, “How did this happen?”
But on the inside that’s precisely what I was thinking.
When The Bride and I were dating, she told me she wanted five
kids. I wanted a kid, too. One kid. Sometime in the indefinite future.
Recently, I’d warmed up to the idea of preparing to think about the possibility of eventually setting a time to have a discussion about
the pros and cons of making a baby.
But I wasn’t ready just yet.
Our conversations about kids always stayed superficial. They felt
similar to our conversations about moving to Africa to start a charity
for impoverished children. Both topics were fun to talk about, but
we’d probably never get around to doing either. In fact, the only
concrete plan I was aware of was an April backpacking trip through
Europe, and though I knew this would be a bad time to bring it up, when I finally regained the ability to speak, the first thing I said
was, “So, I guess Europe’s out?”
It’s not that I don’t like kids, I do. However, I am an adventure-
seeking, ocean enthusiast that needs an alarm to wake by 10 AM. You don’t give a guy like me a baby. I can’t even remember to park
my car on the opposite side of the street every Tuesday for street sweeping. How could I possibly take care of another living human person? Besides, our lifestyle wasn’t conducive to parenthood. We were too busy going out with friends and consuming large quantities
of alcohol as a means to numbing all the mental anguish that the
institution of marriage brings upon one’s life.
The Bride expressed that she was surprised to have gotten
pregnant only two weeks since she’d gone off the pill. When she said this, I was struck by the realization that I didn’t remember having a conversation about her quitting the pill. She insists the conversation happened and most likely it did. I imagine the declaration was woven somewhere into the fabric of her daily
nagging, so it probably went in one ear and out the other.
“Matt, take out the trash. Matt, pick up some eggs after work.
Matt, I’m getting off the pill. Matt, your mother called.”
I love The Bride very much. However, for the sake of my own sanity, I have to tune her out at times. But I’m not the only one in our home with selective hearing. The Bride stopped listening to me right after I said, “I do.” Sometimes, when I catch her in the act of pretending to listen, I’ll say something random like, “Honey, there’s a baby raccoon dressed up as a pirate performing fellatio on
Optimus Prime outside our window.”
“That’s nice, Matthew.”
Anyway, after I felt I’d shared the appropriate number of hugs with the woman whom I’d impregnated, I excused myself, stepped into my home office, and had a proper freak-out.
I was slightly calmer when I returned to the living room. “What do you think of the name Kiefer?” she asked, smiling.
“I think it’s silly to pick a name so soon. The embryo is still smaller than gnat poop.”
Many weeks later, we had an ultrasound and the doctor declared that we’d be having a baby boy. I was relieved. Because of all the alcohol and drugs I’d consumed in my youth, I feared something crazy was growing in her uterus, like maybe some kind of mutant
lizard baby, or something resembling Sigourney Weaver’s offspring in Alien, or maybe something really terrifying, like a Civil War re-
After learning the baby’s gender, I wanted to go out and celebrate before coming home to recreate the miracle of our creation. The Bride had different ideas. She brought home a pregnancy book and kept me up half the night dropping knowledge on me, such as the
fact that it would require a total 75,000 calories to create our baby, and the fact that his first bones would be generated around day
The factoids were interesting, but I had really been hoping for a more adult themed celebration. The little ball-buster hadn’t even reached the second trimester and he was already cock-blocking me. Little did I know that cock-blocking would become his greatest skill.
I was pretending to listen as The Bride described the development
of fetal fingernails when suddenly she dropped the book excitedly
and said: “I got it! Let’s name him Keller.”
Keller, so that’s your name. Just remember, pal—I saw her first.
Once we gave him a name, the idea of having a baby felt a little more real, which made it both more exciting and scarier. It seems
silly now, but at the time, I was afraid that a baby would cause me to
lose my edge. I’m a free-thinking seeker who believes in equality
and love and the magical healing powers that are generated when
one kisses a pretty girl in a sundress on a warm afternoon. I worried that fatherhood would change me into a suit-wearing dork who coached soccer and joined the Elks Club.
I hoped it would be possible to remain true to myself, become best buddies with my son, and also be a good father. I believed it
was possible. But, really, what did I know?
Nothing. I knew nothing. So, I needed to read up and educate
myself about fatherhood. I wasn’t interested in reading self-help books because most self-help authors are damaged people who are one bad day away from joining the Zombie Apocalypse and eating
their neighbor’s faces off. What I wanted to read was a book about fatherhood written by a normal dad who felt the same kind of
trepidation I was feeling.
Pregnancy revolves around the woman, and rightfully so. However, it also affects the man. We have to learn how to deal with
becoming second-rate citizens in our own homes, the cessation of
our sex lives, and the pregnancy hormones that change our loved
ones into rabid, carnivorous beasts who sustain themselves on the
souls of men.
At Barnes & Noble, I found books written by doctors, and I found book after book written by women about breastfeeding, asshole
husbands, and postpartum depression, but I found nothing written
by a normal dad about being a dad. So, I decided to write my own book, one that would offer an honest accounting of raising a
newborn, warts and all, so that the next time a scared, expecting
father walked into a bookstore, he’d be able to find a book written by a regular guy who had also been scared shitless.
Listen, fellas, fatherhood is a crazy ride. At times, you’re going to want to sneak out the back door, drive to Mexico, assume the name
Marco Villanueva, start a marijuana farm and surround yourself
with sexy, 6-foot-tall supermodel bodyguards like a militant Middle
Eastern dictator. However, you won’t do this. Why not? Because
fatherhood is the most wonderful experience of your life (or at least
this is what you will tell people when you think your wife might be listening).
But seriously, fatherhood is pretty amazing. And fellas, just remember—after it all shakes out, you’re going to be okay.
If this post made you giggle, then please follow:
This is the first chapter from my second book, “Daddy Versus The Suck Monster” – you can buy it on Amazon for $.99 if you enjoy this sort of thing. Click below: