I’ve learned a lot about parenting since Daughter Doin’ Work came into my life, but I clearly have a lot to learn about many other things. The most embarrassing example of this centers around the picture you’re looking at right now. Let me explain how this is such an epic fail.
About a month ago, Mommy Doin’ Work and I discovered a nationwide contest for “America’s Hottest Dad.” We both thought it would be a good idea for me to enter, but for completely different reasons. I wanted to enter because it would help boost my fragile self-esteem. MDW wanted to pimp me out to win the grand-prize (a family cruise). Two different roads to the same destination, I guess. After completing the quick questionnaire, we needed to submit a picture of me. This is how the conversation went down:
Me: “What if you take a picture of me holding the baby with my shirt off?”
MDW: “Um…you think that’s a good idea?”
Me: “Sure it is. It’s an ‘America’s Hottest Dad’ contest. What else would I do?”
MDW: “Let’s just be clear on this. If you use a shirtless picture, the only way you’re going to win is if all of the judges are gay men. If they’re women – especially mothers – you’re screwed.”
Me: “What do you suggest, Ms. Know It All? A picture of me and the baby going down a slide at the playground, or something?”
MDW: “That’s actually the best idea you’ve had in a while.”
Me: “What’s hot about that?”
MDW: “You don’t get it, do you?”
Me: “Of course I get it. What are you talking about?”
MDW: “This is a hot dad contest, so you should use a picture that shows your ability as a father. Mothers aren’t going to dig the whole shirtless thing while holding our daughter…it’s weird. If you insist on showing some skin – why don’t you ditch the baby, get some gold teeth, put a boom box on your shoulder and I’ll enter you in ‘Compton’s Chocolate Cuties’ contest instead? I bet you’d win that.”
MDW: “I thought so.”
Me: “Just take a picture of me shirtless, OK? You’ll be eating your words in a couple of weeks.”
MDW: “If I’m right about this, you’re going to owe me big time – and trust me, this will not end well for you.”
Me: “We’ll see about that.”
After she begrudgingly took the shirtless photograph, I smiled and realized that all I had to do is submit the completed questionnaire with the picture and wait for the votes to roll in.
Later on that evening, we ate dinner together as a family, I gave Daughter Doin’ Work a bath, read her “Green Eggs and Ham” twice, worked on some puzzles together, sang some songs, and put her to bed. After I helped wash the dishes, I decided to check to see if my picture was added to the online poll for fans to vote. Each dad on the website had two buttons next to their picture: “Hot” and “Not Hot.” Once a button was clicked, it would show the percentages for both categories – and I figured that I had to be running at a clip of 90% Hot to 10% Not Hot, right?
As a matter of fact, after a few hundred votes it was 13% Hot and 87% Not Hot. How could this be?? I told MDW, and she glared at me with her infamous “You fucking idiot. Why don’t you ever listen to me??” look. I countered with my astute hypothesis that most of the Not Hot votes must’ve come from the haters going after all of the “good-looking ones.” I assured her that the voting would turn around in my favor overnight. She rolled her eyes in disgust and went to bed. In the middle of the night, I could’ve sworn I caught her using her iPad to Google “How to kill your husband and make it look like an accident” but she denies it to this day. I remain skeptical.
When I woke up the next morning, I figured that the numbers probably shifted considerably in my favor but I went with a conservative estimate. If the voting was 50% Hot – 50% Not Hot, I’d be good with it. Looks like I wasn’t going to be “good.”
It was 3% Hot and 97% Not Hot. I repeat – 3% Hot and 97% NOT EFFING HOT.
To make matters worse, a few minutes later I received a text from Grandma Doin’ Work (my mom) and she boasted that she voted for me over 60 times.
I’m not really sure what’s worse: Having 97% of people in an online poll think I’m not hot, or knowing that of the 3% of votes that listed me as hot, 2.9999% of them came from the woman who gave birth to me.
After punching myself in the face repeatedly, I slowly made the death march with my tail between my legs and conceded the loss to MDW. And yes, I had to listen to the inevitable 15-minute ITYS (I told you so) speech that wives love to deliver to their husbands when they screw up. Unlike previous ITYS speeches, she mentioned something that actually hit home, “Remember what you did after you entered the contest? You read stories to our baby, you played with her, you bathed her, you sang to her, and washed the dishes. The irony is that’s what makes you a hot dad – not your pecs or your abs. If I took a picture of you just being your normal self around our baby, it would’ve gotten you a ton of votes. You’re such an attentive, loving, emotionally involved, hard-working man who loves us and those are the most important qualities of any father. I know that I’m new to motherhood, but I bet you that most moms will agree with me.”
Boy, did I ever feel stupid after that.
Also during her ITYS speech, she explained that probably most of the men who received “Hot” votes were average-looking guys doing cute things with their children like (wait for it) holding their children as they went down the slide at the playground. And guess what? She was absolutely right…again.
To add to that thought, I asked a few of my mommy friends what makes their husbands hot, and here are the universal themes:
- Great with the kids
- Helps out around the house
- Always puts his family first
- Physical appearance was mentioned only as an afterthought
Oh, remember when MDW mentioned that I would owe her “big time” and it would “end badly” for me if she was right about all this? Well, I have a riddle for you.
Who has two thumbs, didn’t take his wife’s advice, and has to sit through “Magic Mike” because of it? You guessed it. “This guy” **thumbs to chest**
Double-down on damn, please.
Nothing says “I told you so” quite like suffering through a movie that includes Channing Tatum and his band of merry muscle men dancing around shirtless for damn near two hours. Hell, if I didn’t know any better, I’d probably believe that my wife planned this outcome all along.
Wait a minute…..