Men are not used to being discriminated against. It just
is not a big part of our history as a gender. We have always been
allowed to vote, to play organized sports and to run for elected
Women, on the other hand-now that's a different story. But
as Bob Dylan once sang, "the times they are a-changin'," and women
today have more rights and opportunities than ever
However, there is one place where women are at the top of
the pecking order, a place where men are looked upon as outsiders
who do not belong and are accosted with that evil stare we should
only ever see from our wives and girlfriends. What place is this,
you ask, where women wield control?
Never before in my life have I felt like more of an
outsider than I did one day at the park, and I have traveled
extensively in and around non-English speaking countries. Anyone is
welcome at a public park, just as anyone is welcome at a strip
club, but let's be honest, how many women do you find at strip
clubs (attending, of course, not working)?
It was a nice day, and as a teacher, I was able to get to
the park early in the afternoon when many other dads were probably
still at work. So with my wife and three sons, I headed over to the
park to let our oldest burn off a little energy by running around
like a nut. My wife laid out a blanket and sat with our 6-month-old
twins while I followed Anthony from the swings to the slide and all
over every other piece of equipment he saw.
As I criss-crossed the park with him, I felt as if I were
being watched. Not followed necessarily, just that feeling you get
when someone is keeping an eye on you because you might be up to no
good. The thing was, I was up to a great deal of good. I was
spending some quality time with my son. So why was I being watched
like I was there to do terrible things?
As I surveyed the area it became clear: I was an outsider.
The only other "men" at the park were well under the age of 5. No
one asked me to leave, nor was anything thrown at me as I passed by
these women, but it was clear from their looks that I was in their
territory and they were not happy about it.
Now to be fair, it just isn't the park. The park is the
just the first place that comes to mind because it was the most
recent. Other locations where I feel like an intruder who doesn't
belong include, but are not limited to: the zoo, several chain
stores, a certain kid-friendly restaurant that rhymes with
Buck-E-Bees and museums. So why do I feel so unwelcome at the park
and these other locations during the day? It is because it has been
declared, albeit silently, a "Man-Free Zone."
I would like to think it is jealousy that leads to these
dirty looks-jealousy that their husbands are unable to spend as
much time with their kids as I am with mine, and not that I look
like a pedophile creeper there to steal their children and
Either way, know that we men are not coming to "your
places" to invade your turf, but rather to enjoy time with our
children-the same reason you are there.
So, ladies, please let us into your world. Next time you
see one of us at the park, shoot us a smile instead of a dirty
look. All we want to do is run and play with our kids at the park
because, let's face it, what are grown men really except children
who need to shave every day? And who would know that better than
the women of the world?
Chris Thomas is a freelance writer and dad living in Brookfield.
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