Just when I think no ridiculous, look-at-me trend can surprise me, I catch wind of a perhaps not-so-nascent fad: gender reveal parties.
Excuse me while I gag.
Alright, I'm back and sufficiently regrouped to press onward.
It appears, based on my weekly perusal of the busy Boston GardenMoms message board and a quick Google search, that a certain cadre of parents-to-be have devised such celebrations as a way of showcasing their narcissism - at a previously unimaginable level.
And there is no reason, other than runaway parental narcissism, to host such an affair.
Let's review. You know the sex of your fetus. Yay for you! Sure, your friends and family are curious, but here's the bottom line: Nobody cares about the sex of a baby nearly as much as the parents to be. Not the grandparents. Not your BFF. Not your twin sister.
And if your friends gamely manage to muster some enthusiasm for your "big" surprise, it certainly won't reach a level at which said friends are happy to give up a perfectly good Saturday, schlep to whatever venue, bonus gift in hand (see below), to sit around and eat cake (with an either pink or blue center) while mustering fake squeals of joy.
And since gender determination technology is available by twenty weeks' gestation, (i.e. well before the time of a traditional baby shower), the "gender reveal party" is really a double dip on the present shakedown.
Double dipping is not something we as a society should encourage.
Not just because of the money, though that's a factor for most people.
I like buying baby gifts. Little stuff is cute and cuddly, and more so since I'm done having babies. But I prefer to buy gifts for kids who actually exist.
Out of cultural necessity, I've made a tenuous peace with showers - though I still find the idea of saying, "Hey! Come over and make sure you bring presents!" kind of icky, and never allowed one in my honor for that reason.
I've been to some appalling ones, and some quite classy ones, along the way.
Of course the appalling ones stick with me. I've never fathomed why any woman would allow a guessing game regarding her girth, or allow such a waste of diapers (the most needed item listed at most women's shelters) and fill landfills with idiotic parlor games like "stinky diaper." (Yes, it's real. I have seen it with my own eyes, though as a matter of aesthetics, I could not bring myself to participate.)
I'm not an extremist. I think showers have their place. If a mom-to-be is stretched financially, it's a loving and supportive act to shower her with the necessities, and some of the fun, adorable stuff, too. If she's got plenty of resources, I frankly stop seeing the point. Yes, it's a celebration, but as soon as the s-word appears on the invitation, gifts become expected rather than merely accepted.
Personally, I think it's more fun to give and receive spontaneously.
I watched about eighty per cent of a cute indie film called "Friends With Kids" on a recent plane ride. Why eighty per cent? Because the Grape woke up and reset the film. I couldn't fast forward or rewind to catch the ending.
Anyway, there's a great little scene wherein the female lead is on the phone, ordering personalized baby gifts. "I'll need eight boy versions, and six girl ones... Wait. Did you say $1800 plus shipping? Yeah, um, I'm going to need to make some tough decisions and call you back." That's how your single friends likely feel. Babies, like marriages, tend to occur in waves within social circles. I know, pre-Grape, I would have balked at the idea of a third gift for a single birth.
Just like I'm balking at it now.
Gender reveal parties?! Seriously. You're going to be a parent. Grow up. It's not all about you anymore.