The Shower

 "This is what grownups do all the time!" - Truman Capps, age 11. 

As a child, most of my impressions of adulthood didn’t come from my parents. Sure, my Mom and Dad were (and are!) my role models, but when I wondered what sort of person I’d be once I started living on my own I never pictured myself doing any of the things that my parents did – largely because they were married and had a child, which were two mistakes I never saw myself making.

To get a sense for what young, unmarried adults did I turned to TV sitcoms, where I quickly learned that adult life is primarily a series of goofy social events interspersed with boning all of your friends and working occasionally. As you can imagine, adulthood has been a big fat disappointment so far, although today I was fortunate enough to check one of the sitcom benchmarks off my list this afternoon.

(For the record, I didn’t bone any of my friends, so if that’s why you’re still reading you can leave now. Rest assured, though, that as soon as I do bone one of my friends the first thing I’m going to do is write an update about it.)

One of my friends’ girlfriends is pregnant and I was invited to the baby shower. This is pretty much the most grownup social event a person can attend because it pretty much requires you to know someone who has the biological capacity to be pregnant and the economic capacity to want to stay that way.

It’s also something I was really only familiar with through television. I had never been to a baby shower before, but Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer had. There was a baby shower on The Office, 7th Heaven, and Friends*. Having never been to a baby shower before, I assumed I’d have a lot of comical back-and-forth about what to get the baby, attend the shower, take part in the hijinx, and be done in less than 22 minutes. All told, I wasn’t too concerned.

*DISCLAIMER: Friends blows.

I was at brunch* with my friends Kristin and Sabba this morning when I casually mentioned that I was attending a baby shower in the afternoon. 

“Aww,” Sabba said as our food arrived. “What did you get?”

“Oh, I got the eggs benedict waffle.” I said, snatching up my knife and fork as the waiter set the plate in front of me.

“No, idiot, what did you get for the shower?”

I shrugged, preparing to shovel poached eggs, lox, and waffle into my mouth. “I don’t know. I was just going to swing by Target on the way over and pick something up.”

Sabba and Kristin both looked at one another in a brief, exasperated panic.

“No you’re not.” Kristin said. “We’re going to Target after this and I’m helping you pick out a baby shower gift and also some V-neck T-shirts because I think you’d look really good in a…”

So about an hour later Kristin and I were at the Burbank Target, where we discovered that there was no record of a registry for the baby shower. This fucked up my plan to look up the registry, buy the cheapest item, and be done in five minutes.

“Now what?” I asked, panic rising in my voice.

“Now we go pick out a gift ourselves.”

I immediately realized that I was way out of my element trying to buy a gift for someone who hadn’t even been born yet.

I’m bad enough at buying gifts for my adult friends who I’ve known for years, and here I was trying to buy something for a person who isn’t even a person yet, depending on which state legislature you ask. That’s a lot to handle. It’s also kind of weird shopping for a gift and knowing that the recipient will probably piss, shit, and vomit on it at some point – possibly all three at the same time.*

*I’ve bought people 21st birthday presents before, though, so this wasn’t my first time dealing with that situation.

Kristin led me to the ‘Baby’ section of Target – a place so far removed from anything I could ever want or need in my life that I hadn’t even known it existed until that moment – and we began to browse.

“Baby detergent.” Kristin said, stopping and pointing at a row of laundry detergent bottles with babies’ faces on them.

“Why do babies get their own kind of detergent?” I asked. “How much can you do to laundry soap to make it baby friendly?”

Kristin ignored me – she usually does, which is why we’ve been friends for so long – and grabbed two jugs of detergent: One blue with a boy’s face on it, and one pink with a girl’s.

“Is the baby a boy or a girl?”

“It’s a girl – but why does it even matter? It’s laundry detergent! I’m pretty sure liquid soap doesn’t give a hoot what gender you are. At least, mine doesn’t. Unless… Well, we all know I’m not the expert on domestic tasks. Maybe I inadvertently bought the wrong detergent for myself and now my clothes aren’t as clean as they could be for the money I’m paying.”

By the time I’d followed this idea through to its logical conclusion, we were standing in the checkout line with a bottle of pink baby detergent, along with three Mossimo V-neck T-shirts that I was being told to wear.

“Hold up, hold up.” I said. “I’m bringing someone detergent as a gift. People are going to be showing up with strollers and PlaySkool stuff, and I’m going to walk in with a bottle of detergent in a fancy bag. This is going to look like a prank.”

“Do you know anybody with a baby?” Kristin asked. “Because I do. Babies shit constantly, and baby clothes aren’t disposable. They’re going to be doing laundry a lot, and they’re going to be going through a lot of detergent. They can never have too much of this stuff.”

That’s the real adulthood lesson of the day – there comes a time that it’s actually a good idea to buy people what they need instead of what they want.

Ultimately, the shower itself was a great time – good food, wonderful people, and several gift bags that were significantly smaller than mine. Still, I made a point of leaving before they opened the gifts, because my mother’s feminist upbringing led me to believe that you shouldn’t give a woman cleaning supplies as a gift and stick around to watch the fireworks.
Truman Capps also got her a $25 Target gift card, but it wouldn’t have been as funny to include that in the body text.