Man School: Parenting Advice From Guys Who Want to Take Pictures of Your Genitals
by Carrie Hill Wilner
I’ve established that the richest source of parenting advice is guys who are trying to pick you up. Their first question — so they can calibrate their advice to be as helpful as possible — is usually “boy or girl?” We have a girl, and as guys hitting on you/giving you parenting advice are quick to point out, raising her means we’ll have to confront some issues we wouldn’t have to with a boy. For example, murdering people. That’s something we’ll have to do:
Mortimer, my husband, assures me that this guy who offered him some freelance work seemed totally reputable. I doubt that in light of the rest of this story, but whatever, imagine Neville Brody himself was like, “Mortimer, nice facial hair! I have a really tough typography problem I’d like your assistance with, why don’t you stop by my Soho office and we’ll discuss whether I pay you a million dollars, or, alternately, I know how to fly and could teach you that.” He shows up at this guy’s office; it’s got high windows and roll-y chairs and secretaries and a plant and all that. They chitchat politely before talking about the work, and Morty mentions oh my kid crawled/puked/bit dog/whatever she’s up to that week.
Guy’s like, “oh, cute! Boy or girl?” Girl. Guy nods knowingly, casts a sideways glance, enlightens: “Well, girls are easier when they’re little, but oh man, when she’s a teenager! You’re gonna have to sit on the porch with your shotgun when she’s a teenager. Gonna have to shoot those boyfriends.”
My own personal mom’s family is from a place where people might actually have a porch and/or a gun, and I always thought the point of cleaning the gun on the porch was just to scare the high school boys, but good point, if you kill one, you scare him real bad, and also all the other guys and also everyone, so your daughter will definitely be safe.
After a bit of this manly banter, they get around to talking about the project this guy needed help with. Basically, this guy was writing a book about other people’s penises? So if he could jut take a picture of your dick and you could talk for a while about how you feel about it — your dick, that is — that would be great, thanks?
I guess getting shanghaied by dick-book guys is one thing we won’t have to raise our daughter to deal with. Whatever, still love that he had an office he was using for this.
Carrie Hill Wilner’s dream job is head consultant on a Martian initiative to develop an Earth-themed theme park.
Mortimer Lebigre is a graphic designer who lives in New York and a man-school graduate.