A few days ago, I called a very good friend of mine “Johnny” –- father of two -– who is both hilarious and completely trustworthy with anything we discuss. Embarrassing stories, good jokes, serious personal issues, you name it and Johnny can engage in meaningful and always hilarious dialogue. Plus, I owed him a call because he left me a joking voice message a week ago telling me to call him back to discuss the fact that he is “looking at an investment property in an old folks home” and to “call me back ASAP.” This guy is nuts. But he has always been very smart and sometimes even cocky about the trickier parts of manhood.
I wanted to ask “Johnny” (with a very serious tone) if he knew much about what sometimes happens to men as they accompany the expectant mom on the journey of pregnancy, and in tonight’s case, what Thomas was going through. Now I assumed that since “Johnny” has traveled down the road of pregnancy twice as an accomplice, he would absolutely know that a man’s hormones were at risk of changing and that he could gain weight, sleep terribly, have morning sickness – sympathetic pregnancy symptoms. This was also a loaded question, because before “Johnny’s” first baby was born, I was witness to him putting on a solid 25 pounds, and I remember him as being irritable, and most of all, I knew that he was supremely educated about this. “My man boob era? Of course, I know this phase.” As expected.
Now since I knew that I had him in a very comfortable point in our conversation, and I could sense a few overconfident make-fun-of-Daron comments coming my way, I hit him with a question that was the real reason for my call: “Time out. Separate topic. I doubt you do, but are you familiar with what a merkin is?” Silence followed… and then, “What the hell are you talking about?” Got him! I finally one-upped “Johnny” and it felt good. If I’m being honest, when Rosie brought up the merkin topic (or Queen Victoria’s toupee as described tonight) to me after dinner last week, I absolutely 100% played along as if I knew what this merkin thing really was. But I was as clueless as “Johnny” was when asked. Thankfully, she figured I knew what it was and I actually managed to change the topic so quickly that she couldn’t quiz me on it. I also seemed to entirely lose my self-confidence, because I felt like I missed a chapter in boyhood, college, or even manhood when I should’ve learned about Ms. Merkin.
But “Johnny” proved that it wasn’t just me, other men out there have never heard of this crazy accessory. Also, as Thomas proved, soon-to-be dads may not know a thing about sympathetic pregnancies either. Why would they prior to having kids?
Why is it that even as men approach mid-life, there is so much about women that remains a mystery?