Meet My Little Man

As much as it might appear so, I am not about to write about a child. Not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I have a bit of a pet peeve about people who call their baby boys “Little Man.” There is nothing manly about that baby. That’s not a man, people. That’s a baby. If your baby has any manly qualities, something is very wrong and you need to get to your pediatrician stat.

Last week I found myself unusually motivated to work out over my lunch hour. The building where my company is temporarily located has a decent enough gym, and while it’s small, it’s typically empty if you go late enough in the afternoon. Because I often pretend I’m both independently wealthy and famous in my “play pretend” mind, this works out nicely for me because it makes me think I have my own personal gym.

On this particular Friday afternoon, I optimistically entered my personal gym, got dressed except for shoes and socks, and realized I’d only packed one sock. I cursed out loud in my private dressing room, then made the bold move to work out sans socks. I know, I know, it’s gross to work out without socks, but it’s even more gross to have a muffin top eight years after your child was born. We choose our battles.

My independently wealthy play pretend self would have called up my Little Man to bring socks to me. I’d like to introduce you to Little Man, because I yearn for him often. He’s little and almost certainly gay. By no means am I trying to offend my gay friends, nor do I wish to offend little people or men in general, for that matter. This also isn’t a statement about homosexual men being subservient, because if anything my gay male friends are a little on the self-centered side and wouldn’t in a million years follow me around to help with my odd needs. But in my play pretend world, this Little Man is handy, stylish, fun, and thinks I’m fabulous, so that just makes him gay by default. And he’s only little because I’d prefer to carry him with me on trips, and since we already have two teenagers, an 8-year old, my husband and myself, I’d need the option of having Little Man fit in the leftover space in our car. It’s just practical.

If he existed, my Little Man would take care of the things I can’t handle, like plunging clogged toilets, helping me off train platforms so I don’t topple over in my heels, and finishing up projects that began with good intentions but ended in panic when I realized I won’t be able to complete on deadline. And he would always be there if I needed help packing for a trip. I’m lucky, though, because my big man husband does littlemanning on a regular basis, but if I asked him to help me pack for a work trip he would laugh in my face. Or fall conveniently asleep at 8:30 when the packing began.

My sister Emily (who, without giving permission, was renamed “Tia” after the birth of my 8-year old) fulfills many of the littlemanning duties since I haven’t found a real Little Man yet. Tia is incredibly helpful when I can’t handle things. Not only does she help me pack for trips, she writes perfect little note cards to tell me what to wear on what day. And while I never fully obey the note cards, they’re there to keep me feeling put together and organized. And although she is neither short nor gay nor male, if I squint my eyes and tilt my head to one side, she kinda sorta looks like my Little Man.

Tia and I got close to finding a good Little Man when we were in Mexico at a friend’s wedding a few years ago. He was some sort of security guard at our resort. I say “security” guard loosely because he did very little to make us feel safe other than to wear a pith helmet and carry what was most likely a fake walkie-talkie. And he couldn’t have been gay because every time he spotted us, he would leer at us and say, “Hola, preciosa!” Yet somehow along the way (read: after large quantities of cheap, free resort booze) we decided this unfortunate man might be a good candidate. For one, he was omnipresent, which is a good feature in a Little Man, especially when heavy lifting is involved. And when Tia and I made the poor decision to go snorkeling, Little Man appeared out of nowhere to help us get on the boat. I loved that!

Where this particular candidate failed the test was that he was wildly unqualified for helping me pack for trips (I didn’t get a good penmanship vibe, neccessary for writing perfect little note cards), and I didn’t trust that he could provide style tips (I look terrible in pith helmets). Not to mention, we had one heck of a language barrier. Calling me “preciosa” can only get a Little Man so far.

So my search for a Little Man continues, leaving the leering fake security guard to continue his leering fake security guard duties. But if you happen to stay at a certain lovely resort in Cozumel, look for this man. He’ll make you feel pretty and help you get on a boat. And that’s about it.

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