Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dapper Dad

Dear Chuck,

I have recently started noticing a new breed of predator… I’ve been out and about quite a lot over the party season as you can imagine and saw it happening on more than one occasion – a man chatting up a woman while he had his kids in tow. I’m just wondering, is this fair game?



Dear Helen,

A very timely question! Just this past weekend Chuck was at a local area café with his book club posse discussing The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald and lampooning the work of Dan Brown as mass produced tripe when one of Chuck’s fellow female clubbers commented on how cute a middle aged chap looked while assisting his two young sons aged approximately 2 and 4 with their scrambled eggs and babycinco’s.

Not one easily swayed by such things, but intrigued by women getting gooey in the loins over male behaviour, Chuck casually glanced up and over to where this bloke was playing the role of superdad. There he was, smartly attired in his navy blue Ralph Lauren polo, collar ever so casually popped. His salt and pepper hair delicately teased to give him the “I’m too busy with my boys to care too much about my hairdo” hairdo and an expensive pair of leather loafers on his feet. Judging by his outfit and lack of wedding ring, this guy was single and touched up just in case he happened to bump into any available schmoo that may cross his path on a Sunday morning.

Of course this intrigued Chuck, who mentally checked himself out of the book club meeting (the rest of the crew were sick of Chuck’s incredible insight into Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism anyway) and dialled his attention on to the dapper dad. Now that Chuck was hooked, things like how the boys were dressed started to stand out. Both kids were in their finest kiddie clothes, had both been cleaned and primped and were even sporting the same strategically manicured blonde little mops to match dads coif. Chuck’s instincts screamed that dapper dad wasn’t just planning for a chance encounter but was actually on the prowl!

It wasn’t long before Chucks instincts were put to the test. A tidy brunette in the 30-35 price range showed up and plonked herself down directly next to dapper dad and his child accessories. Chuck casually slipped on his sunglasses so that he could basically stare directly at the situation without looking like a downright paedophile. Dapper dad had his routine down pat. Right off the bat he cranked up the kiddie interaction meeting to almost overkill levels. All the boys wanted to do was scarf down their eggs and lick the chocolate off their pseudo coffees. All of a sudden dad was working his bag off to demonstrate what a doting old man he was. After 5 minutes of smothering his bewildered sons with attention, he then moved into
multi-tasking dad by checking his Blackberry and acting like some multimillion dollar deal was going down. Of course, since he was with his boys the deal would just have to wait. What struck Chuck as weird in this whole charade was that the dad didn’t seem to think that the only multimillion dollar deals going down on a Sunday morning were typically of the illicit variety. Just what every woman wants, a drug baron with young kids!

The show didn’t stop there. For part 3 of the show, DD then proceeded to have a conversation with his now stupefied progeny that seemed designed to indicate that they were the latest recipients of MENSA membership. Chuck was positive that he was about to whip the newspaper over to his 2 year old and suggest that he knock off a Sudoku puzzle while he was slurping on his hot drink.

Chuck had to admire the guy’s routine, sure it had a few flaws but he was certainly putting out the vibe and the brunette sitting next to him kept sneaking peaks over the top of her menu and newspaper at the dog and pony show going on, clearly as besotted as Chuck’s book club mates.

And then he made his move.

In this instance, DD leaned over unprompted and made a recommendation off the menu for the young lady. It was as subtle and innocent an opening line as you could get and it came even more insulated and less threatening, wrapped in a 2 and 4 year old. Of course, this then led to what appeared to be a nice and friendly conversation that was distracting enough that the brunette had to tell the waitress to come back at least twice as she hadn’t managed to check the menu.

DD by now had completely forgotten the presence of his young sons and was locked into spitting game at his café prey. She of course was totally smitten by this poor single dad (he probably took the opportunity to lie that his wife had been tragically killed in a kayaking accident), who was spending his morning putting quality time in with his family. It helped that the dude was reasonably attractive, appeared to be successful and could clearly spin his shit.

Chuck leaned back in his chair and considered where this dude could go with this. There was no possible way that he was dragging poontang out of a café on a Sunday morning with two kids in tow. The best he could hope for was to get some digits and organise either a hook up or booty call later when the kids were out of his manicured hair. Chuck had to hand it to him, he had played it well.

And then it happened.

Dapper dad was angling for a phone number when out of nowhere his now unsupervised two year old who had begun standing on the plastic chair, over balanced and sent himself and the chair loudly clattering to the ground. The sound of the crash and the sons immediate wailing caused the entire café to turn their attention to the scene and wonder* simultaneously what the fuck the old man was doing letting his son climb all over the table and chairs.

* Interestingly enough, all of Chuck’s book club members are childless, so rather than wondering about the dad’s parenting skills, began debating whether it was permissible to piss themselves laughing at such an incident since lets face it nothing is funnier than someone falling over. The consensus was that if you could tell within the first second of contact that the kid wasn’t seriously hurt then yes you could crack up. New Reality Bytes rule right there.

Although the child wasn’t hurt, the accident was enough to totally kill dapper dad’s momentum. On top of that, the brunette was rattled as evidenced by the fact that she quickly waived the waitress over and ordered the first thing that she could find on the menu. Was it the accident, the fact that all attention was diverted from her (dapper dad was forced to nurse the son – much to his chagrin) or perhaps she realised that dad wasn’t interested in his kids during the time he was working her over. Who knows?

Dapper dad was scrambling too. Between reassuring his two year old and trying to reel the fish back in that only moments before he’d almost had in the boat, he lost all of his cute super dad coolness. Things got so bad that he even pulled out his deal making Blackberry and asked the brunette to punch in her number – a decidedly uncool move! By now the brunette wanted no part of the family guy routine and politely declined.

And just like that the game was over.

So in answering Helen’s question, yes it is par for the course to chat up women with your kids in tow, it’s even fair to use your kids as bait to big game hunt. However as evidenced by the above tale, it’s a skilled operator who can juggle all the variables involved in using children in such a scam which is why even the most seasoned pro’s live by the old adage - never work with animals or small children!

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