Z: Am I a girl?
She: No more than usual.
Z: Compared to how I used to be, I’m really very manly.
She: You shave.
Z: I know, right?
She: Where’s this coming from?
Z: The 30,000 sixth-grade graduation events we attended this week. Other than graduation itself, I was the only dad present at all the other celebrations.
She: Come to think of it, you did stick out as one who lacked estrogen.
Z: I was the only bull amid the daisies. A steely hulk in the company of magnolias. A …
She: Yeah. Like that. Especially at the pool party, where — aside from the kids — there must have been at least 20 moms and you.
Z: Where did all the men go? Are they so easily frightened by a sixth-grade pool party?
She: One dad did show up for our after-graduation lunch.
Z: We were sitting at two tables — one filled with boys, and the other with all moms, grandmas and me. He came late and sat at the table with the boys.
She: His loss.
Z: Am I missing something? Was there some secret message that went out telling all the dads that they weren’t supposed to go to these things? Did all those men meet at a bar somewhere?
Z: Yes. That was probably it.
She: I don’t always describe you as particularly evolved, but you are very comfortable in the company of women.
Z: Why wouldn’t I be?
She: No reason, but a lot of men run for their lives when they see a bunch of women together.
Z: I’ve never understood that.
She: No, as a straight guy who did a lot of musical theater, you probably don’t.
Z: Seriously, why would a guy want to wrestle on a sweaty mat with a bunch of sweaty other guys when he could dance around stage with a bunch of hot girls?
She: When you put it that way. But is that what was happening at the pool party? I missed that part.
Z: Besides, women are a much better audience for my jokes.
She: It’s true — some of those giggles you get are probably actual laughter as opposed to nervous sniggers.
Z: Plus, I get huge points for being the only dad manly enough to hang out with all the moms.
She: Huge points from who? Koss pretty much ignores us whenever his friends are around and I’m usually too busy talking to the other moms to pay attention to you.
Z: The moms are so impressed that I showed up and their husbands didn’t that they totally appreciate my jokes. Nothing makes for a better audience than a woman who’s comparing you favorably to her no-good husband who’s probably home on the couch spilling potato chips and watching the Golf Channel.
She: Sound strategy. So this is why you attend these events? To get laughs?
Z: Yup. It used to be to get dates, but that would be awkward now.
She: Maybe that’s why none of the other dads are showing up. They know there’s no payoff.
Z: Not to get sincere on your butt — and this is purely peripheral — but I also kind of like seeing my kid at these things. There’s something about observing him in his natural habitat that I get a kick out of. Sometimes, like at graduation events, it even makes me a little misty.
She: Ha! I was wrong. You are a girl.
Z: Yes, dear.