I took my son to the park this morning. We played in the sand. He dug his naked toes into the cool sand over and over, saying “Wow!” as is his wont. My son speaks only in interjections. What the hell, he’s nineteen months old. He has more words (including “Da!” and “Ma!”), but he offers them up sparingly, only when he wants to say them. No prompting will get more than a waggle or a nod of the head. I realize that he’d most likely be branded a late talker at this point, and maybe that’s the case, but I know it’s not because he’s got any kind of issue. He knows the words we say. He understands us. The little dude just doesn’t want to say them. He’d much rather give me a sly little grin, shake his head, and run off laughing maniacally.
Yes, my son is a smartass. A chip off the old block. Just like his old man and his mommy. And possibly an evil genius. But you should see his muscles.
I’m a stay-at-home dad. You heard me. Mr. Mom. And it’s awesome. I’ve been with my son almost every single day since he was born. I’m also an actor (big surprise in LA, right?) and a playwright, trying to make a living doing something I love. My wife and I decided that this arrangement was the best way to raise our child, and I couldn’t be happier. Every day I learn something new about, with, and from my son. I get to watch a beautiful little mind take shape, and I get to take an active role in turning him into a man.
My wife brings home the bacon, I fry it up in a pan. Some people would think that makes me less of a man, but the truth is, it has given me an entirely new sense of what manhood means to me and a deeper appreciation of how men bond and grow. And lest you think it’s just because I’m lazy, let me assure you there is method to this madness, a rationale (more than one, actually) that makes this role reversal worth it. Not only do my wife and I know exactly who is raising our son, but the flexibility of the schedule that he and I now have allows me to pursue my chosen career with freedom and diligence, neither of which I would have had in my younger, childless days. That’s right – having a kid has made it easier for me to be an actor in Los Angeles.
Just thought I’d share that with you. Stick around and I’ll rub your nose in how great it is to be a dad in other ways, and I’ll prove that raising a child is one of the manliest things a male can do.
So who am I? Short list: Actor. Playwright. Stay-At-Home Dad. Fitness enthusiast (not Athlete. Not yet). Beer Lover. Not a Foodie, but I like to eat. Spicy stuff, mostly. Smartass. Comics fan. Carpenter, plumber, all-round handyman – I can fix damn near anything that breaks in my house. I like to dress my son in badass skull & crossbones hoodies. I’m gonna talk about all of these things and more, and maybe you’ll have something to say in return. Bring it.
Why DadMen? Because there aren’t many daddy blogs in the world, and I thought I’d write one. Because some people consider being a stay-at-home father to be a less-than-masculine pursuit. Because it might be fun. Because I thought “DadMen” was too good a title to waste. Because I want to discuss the concepts of manhood and fatherhood and how they have evolved and continue to evolve, and how they are entwined. Because I want to let LA dads know about cool stuff they can do with their sons and daughters and I want them to let me know as well. Book reviews, playdates, fun stuff, recipes, thoughtful discourse on the meaning of life, the best jokes from three-year-olds – Let’s hear it all.
Specifically, I felt like sharing my experience as a father and a man in the City of Angels, throwing my mind against the wall and seeing what sticks. The concept of manhood has come into vogue again (whether or not it ever should have gone out is up for debate), and I felt like throwing my hat in the ring and reminding the world that fatherhood is an important, if not integral, part of being a man, and that the other concepts and ideas that help define manhood and fatherhood are worth talking about, exploring, dissecting, bashing, trashing, ridiculing, exalting, and post-post-post-modernizing. I know that most people would say that this goes without saying, but you know what? If you stopped saying all the things that go without saying, sooner or later, they’d just be gone. You gotta say ’em every once in a while or else no one will know what they hell they ever were. So there.
I’m gonna take my cue from some of my heroes: comedians, intellectuals, artists, blue-and-white-collar working men, thinkers and doers of all stripes, but a short list:
George Carlin. Sam Shepard. Ernest Hemingway. Bill Hicks. Samuel Beckett. Leonidas. Richard Pryor. Grant Morrison. Arthur Miller. Stephen King. Clint Eastwood. Richard Dawkins. Philip Dick. Billy Connolly. Garth Ennis. Neil Gaiman. Einstein. Terry Pratchett. Gandhi. MLK. Lewis Black. Warren Buffett. Malcolm X. Dylan Thomas. Emerson. Heinlein. Alan Moore. Jim Henson. Warren Ellis. Che Guevara. Thoreau. Tony Horton. Nietzsche. Twain. Shakespeare. Monty Python. Johnny and Ryder Brooks, my own personal connections to fatherhood. Fathers, some. Males, all. The reasons I am who I am and I do what I do.
So this is gonna be lots of things: Thoughts. Ideas. Poop jokes. Beer. Discpline. Laughs. Rants. Opinions. Information. Open to interpretation. Open to ridicule. Laden with sarcasm. If you like it, let me know. If you don’t like it, let me know. If you’ve got something to contribute, let me know. Just spell it right and make it worth reading is all I ask. Big pet peeve of mine, spelling. If you can’t get it right, I’ll probably delete you. Just a warning upfront. You gotta have standards.
Oh, and just this evening, Ryder added two more words to his vocab: “Spider!” and “Bat!” Halloween is worth talking about.