Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...


If you ask me, the worst thing about being a dad of a daughter is having to answer to the "fashion police" every time you are tasked with creating an ensemble for your little girl to wear out of the house. Now, luckily my wife isn't one to worry so much about the cost of my daughter's clothes, or brand names, or labels, but she is quite emphatic about making sure that when my daughter steps out of the house that one thing will be indisputable- her gender. I'm not saying my wife makes me throw a dress on my daughter every day, although she is oddly obsessed with trying to get my baby girl to wear pink headbands (to no avail). However, she does demand I adhere to a few simple rules...

1) Color scheme - According to my wife, blue is a boys color, so under no circumstances is our daughter to don anything that remotely falls within the spectrum of this hue (including navy, cobalt and indigo). Acceptable colors are: pink, purple, red, lavender, and peach. Note: White is for undershirts and stretch pants. Black is for formal events.

2) Consistency- According to my wife, there is nothing worse than having to correct every stranger on the street that asks "how old is your son?," so I have been mandated to stick to a strict dress code that will ensure that no one, except for the blind, will ever make this mistake ever again. All shirts will have ruffles, or sequins, or sayings like "Little Miss Not A Boy." All pants will be embroidered with pretty things like flowers, or hearts, or copyrighted cartoon characters who speak Spanish as their second (or is it first?) language. When in doubt, I am to choose from a variety of pre-chosen sweat suits (valour) that will never be mistaken as "gender neutral." Any attempt to deviate from this plan will constitute a insubordination and be punishable by death- i.e. having to host a Pinkalicious party for my daughter and all her friends.

3) Combinations- Skirts will be worn with white or black leggings. Sweaters will be accompanied by a pair of jeggings. The Uggs are for windy days and must be accompanied by a windbreaker. The pink Converse are for hot days and should be accompanied by capri pants. Cargo pants may be worn but only if combined with a pink camouflage long-sleeved T... And that's just Monday through Wednesday...

4) Accessories-  Sanctioned secondary support items shall include scarves, hats, gloves and earmuffs- these are deemed acceptable for the winter months as long as they have been pre-approved one day in advance. Hand bags, purses and knapsacks will be allowed if and only if they work within the theme of that day's outfit. All baseball caps, sunglasses and headbands will be brought up before committee (my wife and her four sisters) and will only be wearable by a unanimous vote. All dolls will be gender appropriate (i.e they must be of the female persuasion and dressed in the acceptable colors set out above), and all doll accessories will be easily identifiable as 'girl' friendly.

5) The No No List- As stated, in an attempt to alleviate the unfortunate instances of gender confusion amongst certain clueless members of our society, my daughter will not be permitted to leave the house is possession of the following items: Trucks, cars, Lego, action figures, light sabres, swords, squirt guns, paper planes, dinosaurs. spaceships, tugboats, or anything that could be considered gender neutral (Ken Dolls). This list also includes, but may not be exclusive to, clothing with iron on comic book characters  or logos (Marvel or DC) and any shirts, short or long sleeved, that depict any film or Television characters that can in any way be associated with adult males that still live in their parent's basements (this list includes sci-fi, anime, action/adventure and fantasy).

And she wonders why I'm always late dropping my daughter off to daycare...


So, now my daughter will never be mistaken for a boy which only means it's a matter of time before some pre-school punk in navy blue trousers and a Cardigan tries to get her out of the pants my wife has so carefully chosen for her. Sigh...

For now, I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and follow the rules as they have been set out for me, keeping in mind that one day the tables may turn and my wife will soon be following my rules for how to dress our infant son.

Yeah...Who am I kidding? He's so screwed.

Related Links: Stereotypes, Gender Roles and Biases:

 Disclaimer: This has been a dramatization. I dressed my daughter in a navy blue Star Wars T-shirt I bought in the boy's section at Old Navy just this morning (I compromised by putting her in pink pants) and my wife loved it. May you be so lucky.


  1. I love that article! It's really so true about all of the "rules" you have to learn in order to dress your daughter! Always lots of inspections to pass! When kids are always mismatched, I hear people saying, "I'm sure her dad dressed her today!" You guys never get a break!

  2. You're right, we really don't. Not even on Halloween... Sure, a pumpkin costume is cute, but it's no Princess Leia ensemble.