Stay-at-Home-Dad ISO Bromance

“You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve never really done this before”

“Really?” I awkwardly replied, ’“you seem quite experienced”

It starts with a look. It always does. You know the one. When you’re out at a bar or grocery store, you make eye contact with someone & maintain it a little longer than usual? It’s a non-verbal way of saying you’re interested. Or a psycho. It’s a fine line…and that’s where our story begins…

The wife & I were having a discussion about finding other men in my new, unique position. Her point was I should make friends to diversify my days a little more as I hang with our kid all day. I think her main concern is I’ll eventually morph into a puddle-brained recluse that only speaks in the third-person like a 40 year old, slightly less hairy Elmo…either way, point taken.

But where does one seek out other SAHDs? Luckily we live in wonderful times & have access to all kinds of technology to help our search. Unluckily, there doesn’t appear to be any apps for me to swipe left or right to find a SAHD I have things in common with. Looks like we might have to do this the old fashioned way…

The boy and I were out for a walk on a lovely Tuesday afternoon and decided to visit the bookstore. We got off the elevator and made our way past the cashier and on to the children’s section to see if there were any new books about trains acting like humans. I stop at the bargain section to flip through a book about He-Man & the Masters of the Universe that caught my eye. I then noticed another stroller heading in our direction that would need some room to pass.

As I start to move over, I hear “thank you very much.” I look up to reply & was immediately surprised to find a gentleman around my age. He was pushing a similar stroller with a diaper bag on his shoulder. He had on a gray t-shirt, cargo shorts & a worn down Pittsburgh Steelers hat that’s seen better days…in other words, the official uniform of the Stay-At-Home-Dad. I know this because if you swap out the Steelers for the Mets, I had on the exact same thing.

“No problem” I replied as we maintain eye contact for an extra few seconds. He looks like he’s about to say something but then smiles and looks down at his feet, breaking eye contact. He pushes by as I look back down at my book. I was blushing & not just because my book was about He-Man.

I think, “why didn’t I introduce myself? He seemed nice & you have a lot to offer!”

I continue to beat myself for not speaking up & realize I’ve time-warped back to asking Kerri Sweeney to the 8th-grade dance.

“Oh well, maybe it wasn’t meant to be” is what I tell myself to feel better as the boy & I continue our shopping.

About an hour goes by & we start to head out. As luck (or coincidence) would have it, we end up at the elevator at the same time as the mysterious, casually-dressed stranger. We both giggle as we take turns offering each other the opportunity to enter the elevator first.

We get in, hit the lobby button & there’s an awkward silence as we both look forward. The tension is building & neither one of us know what to say. We only have a 2-floor ride & time is running out.

“Introduce yourself, dammit!” screams in my head but the words just won’t come out. We hit the lobby & the elevator doors start to open. “You’re going to blow it!”

Suddenly, an angel appears in the form of a 4 second, 3 note fart from my boy. It shatters the tension like a glass window as we all start to laugh. There’s nothing like good solid flatulence to bring men together.

“You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve never really done this before”

“Really?” I awkwardly replied, ’“you seem quite experienced”

“My wife says I should be trying to meet others in my position but it’s hard”

“I know! We’re like unicorns…& my wife says the same thing to me” I reply, probably still blushing.  “Sooo how do we do this?“

“I guess we should exchange numbers” he says as he awkwardly pulls out his phone. I return the favor. We both grin as we look down at each others numbers.

“Okay, so I guess I’ll call you. Or you can call me.” he says with a big Kool-Aid smile.

“Awesome!” I reply a little too eagerly.

“Great!” he says, smiling as well.

“Okay, bye!” I say as I whip the stroller around to head up the block.

“Wait!”  he yells. “What’s your name?”

“Oh geez, that would help, huh?”  I reply while definitely blushing.  “It’s Jason, what’s yours?“

“I’m Jerry”  he says.

“Great! Nice to meet you Jerry, we’ll see you soon”

“Same to you Jason, looking forward to it”

We both turn around & walk in opposite directions, beaming with pride in our accomplishment.

That was 6 months ago.  We still haven’t gotten together.

So our bromance has the meet-cute down now. One of us has to be the guy that makes the leap at step two: the phone call.

I’m sure he’ll do it any day now. —Jason Zufall

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Coffee and a Stroller

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