Sunday, October 05, 2008

Boy or Girl?

Nikhil throws some light on the male perspective on the desirable gender of one's baby

“So do you want a boy or a girl?”

This is the most often asked question throughout the pregnancy. For my wife, the decision was easy.

Pallavi - "I want a girl"

Me – "Why?"

Pallavi"Because you can dress up girls in pretty clothes and put clips in their hair. Haven’t you seen the clothing section in baby shops? There is so much stuff for girls but barely 2 shelves for boys. So boring”

Me – Baffled. "Is this your genuine reason for wanting a girl?"

Pallavi – "Yes, and the fact that when she grows up, we both can go shopping together. Boys will never shop with their moms!"

This was quite shocking for me. One can be married to a woman for many years and still not really know how her brain functions.

For most men, the answer to this question is not so simple.

Having spoken to some of my male friends who have recently become Dads and with my own personal experience, I have broadly figured out how this works for us. To understand this, one must start from the beginning. Having a boy or girl is way comes later. The first question a man has to answer is this – Do I really want to have a baby?

Having a baby means a lot of changes. But mainly, it means that the man really has to grow up. The boy inside, who has been desperately been holding on, finally has to be abandoned.

  • Can I still go out with my friends and come home drunk at 3 am?
  • Can I still crack those dirty jokes in public?
  • Is the PSP going to be my exclusive domain or will I need to share it with the kid?
  • Will I still be able to go Vegas and visit those casinos? What about the debauch holiday my wife and I were planning to Ko Sa Mui?
  • And finally, the most important one - How will other women perceive me now? Can I still flirt with them without them whispering “I can’t believe he is still at it…for Gods sake, he is a dad now!”

The exact questions may differ, but the gist is the same – Responsibility …big time!

Only after the man has satisfactorily answered the above for himself (or his wife gives him an ultimatum) is he ready to start discussing boy or girl?

Figuring out whether he wants a Boy or Girl is not as simple a choice for man, as it is for a woman. There are a whole host of factors that come into play. It is usually assumed that all men are desperate for Sons. After all there are very strong reasons why a man would want a Son.

Societal

The common (but misplaced) belief in our country is that a son carries forward the legacy of a father. In a Saas Bahu serials this would read something like “Ek Ladka hi mera Vansh aage le ja sakta hai”

Practical

It’s probably simpler to bring up a son. No matter how sexist this sounds, but the fact is that there are fewer reasons to worry about the safety of a boy. A 16 year old son can take a bus or auto relatively safely at 11:30 in the night. But a 16 year old daughter doing the same would have the parents’ worried sick (esp. if you lived in Delhi).

It calls for a major change in attitude. A friend of mine put this succinctly – “Having a son means no major change in attitude. But if you have a daughter you need to change from Predator to Protector.” You see, when it comes to women, most men grow up learning the ropes to finding the best way to get lucky. But suddenly, instead of ‘hunting prey’, a man needs to learn to play the role of the protector. From being the hunter, to keeping the hunters at bay. So when that puny, spiky haired, shabbily dressed teenager walks into the house with your daughter, you know exactly what he is thinking - and need to keep the loaded gun handy.

If a boy makes too much ruckus, one could whack him or chain him (exaggeration). Generations of men have been tamed with whacks and whips as kids. Its simpler than a long winded emotional appeal that is more appropriate with daughters.

Professional

Some men are heads of Mafia and the only way for their offspring to prove worthy heirs is to complete at least 15 murders and win 20 hand to hand combats, involving cracked ribs. Hard to picture you beautiful daughter doing either.

But there are equally strong reasons for wanting a Daughter

Familial

They say that sons are not as good as daughters at ‘looking after’ parents. Daughters are naturally more familial and caring and stay attached to their parents. Sons tend to ‘get busy’ living their lives. Whether one agrees with dismal analysis of sons or not but no one disagrees with the fact that daughters are fantastic!

Practical

Boys just have too much energy and it can sap the parents of theirs, quite quickly. A boy may want to spend a Sunday afternoon practicing the latest WWE moves on you or even want to play Gabbar Singh, while you are the hapless villagers!

Girls, on the other hand can spend large parts of the day ‘doing their own thing’. And these are usually cute and decent activities.

What decision a man finally makes is a purely individualistic but the above mentioned factors, do come into play.

The funny part is that at the end of the first month of having my daughter at home, I realize that she has too much energy, keeps us on our toes and farts and burps like a truck driver. And my friend’s 3 month old boy develops nappy rash due to sensitive skin, is very attached to his parents and likes the color pink!!

I guess kids are kids :-)

More from Nikhil: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

12 comments:

  1. All very valid reasons. I have 2 of each, I know when pregnant with my 3rd, my better half was convinced that we were going to have a boy and I was convinced that it would be our 3rd girl.

    My sons, my dh thought, would be playing soccer, would want to wrestle and all the crazy stuff men think boys want to do. Instead, both of them(one is 4 and the other 2) love doing crafts, have elaborate tea parties and play with their didi's bindis and bangles. My dh is has given up hope on both of them. I dont try to discourage them from playing with their didi's toys but I drew the line,when my 4 yr old wanted to be a princess for Halloween. ROFL

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  2. Nice to get a male perspective :)

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  3. out here a son was wanted for the sole reason that tabla playing skills coud be passed on. to which i objected vociferously and declared that girls were equally capable of handling said instrument and guess what, my girl has proved me right!

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  4. Anonymous7:23 am

    We want a girl. But both of us share a common hatred for pink, dresses (esp cute frilly ones - blech!), ballet, long hair, dolls, shopping and anything that might logically be associated with little girls. Instead, our plan for her involves swimming, hiking, biking, tree-climbing, setting tiger traps (my partner's idea, not mine!), science experiments and Wall-E. But we still want a girl. Go figure!

    n!

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  5. i just wanted a baby- really did not matter girl or boy- sacchi mucchi- not kidding

    but i do not like nor subscribe to the clcihes/ stereotypes asscoaited with either gender

    and nikhil u r bang on on the last paragraph

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  6. LOLLL Daughters are fantastic, their shopping bills arent - consider yourself forewarned! Otherwise in these times there isnt much to chose as far as energy levels and play time techniques go. I used to beat the neighbourhood at gilli danda and fly kites like a pro

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  7. True.
    Kids are kids and for me if I had child I prefer a girl and then 3 years later a boy.

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  8. :)
    I think men over analyze some stuff!
    We women are more clear and know what we want ;)

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  9. My son loves my clothes and jewellery. And my long hair.

    He's two years old and I've never dressed him as a girl but I finally caved in recently and let him wear my clips in his hair. Why should girls have all the fun?

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  10. Kids are fun and a pain and wonderful and awful:though usually not all at the same time- doesn't matter whether they are boys or girls!

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  11. Very nice post! Well written, and well explained :)

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