Yesterday, I helped 6 other Dad's load the scenery for my Daughter's upcoming production of Mille onto a truck and move it from Home basement to rehearsal studio to high school auditorium. "Dad territory" is something I always have to re-learn how to navigate; not the stuff directly with my kids, that's mostly a no-brainer, depending on the hormonal state of the average teenager/young adult. No, it's the connecting with other Dad's, men from other walks of life, that is always a "feel this out" thing. Reminds me of my dogs when they encounter other dogs. Sniffing it out. What role does everyone play? who's Dominant? Who's aggressive? Who's Funny? Who's religious? OK, I don't think the dogs think about the last 2.
Maybe it's just me, but because I didn't play sports past my bench-riding days in junior high basketball, and my brother did (who was older), I'm always a little tentative about finding my place in a group of men. Humor is usually my ticket in. I find something funny to say that gets everyone laughing, relaxed, dis-armed. Or I, at least, become these things.
The odd nature of working in the theatre keeps me out of these groups far to often, the odd hours - working weekends and nights - the travel. But I have to say, I really do enjoy them. In this case, we all have kids with a common bond, roles in the play. We're all volunteering for a common goal for them that has an approaching deadline. And these are Good guys. Guys from outside of my fish bowl. How amazingly refreshing to go for a beer after and talk about Ireland, Finance, our kids, our wives (one of the dad's is my ex-wife's boyfriend, but that's a topic for another blog). It's satisfying. Seeing how other guys are navigating our archetypal role. It makes the world seem bigger and smaller at the same time.