Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Men Aren't Allowed On Playgrounds


I wasn't going to post anything today, simply because this was my off day, and I like to stay in my usual pattern of posting every other day. However, something happened to me today, that quite frankly, has ruined my day and my vacation, and possibly my summer.

This particular week, I'm off doing daycare while the the family is in the Bahamas. Yesterday (6/23) I had promised to take my daughter to the playground, but the weather didn't cooperate with us. With that in mind, I promised my daughter that I would take her to the playground after I had run my morning errands.

After arriving at the playground, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the recess period for the summer campers. Off went my daughter to play with the kiddies, and being the hyper-vigilant dad that I am, I basically stood in one spot and watched her play. Occasionally, I would move my spot when my daughter went to another part of the playground.

I am by nature, not an imposing figure. I'm rather short, fat, bald and I wear glasses. Today I was dressed in solid black: shorts, suspenders, tee-shirt and a baseball cap. Anyways, about a half hour later, a member of the NPD strolled up to me and asked how I was doing, but more importantly, what was I doing there at the playground.

I said that I was here with my daughter, who I pointed out to him, watching her play. Then I asked, "Why?"

He said that they had received a few phone calls from some concerned mothers about a man who was watching children, and he was just simply checking it out. After asking for my I.D. and a few other pertinent questions (where I live, where I work, etc.), he thanked me for my cooperation and wished me a pleasant afternoon.

I left the playground with my daughter about ten minutes after he did.
What does it say about society in general and women in particular, when a father can't go to the playground or park with their child without sparking concern?

I was there really minding my own business and not bothering anyone. I keep a close eye on my daughter, just in case something went wrong. To be honest with everyone here, I'm not much of a people person out in public. I don't go out of my way to engage people unless it's required of me to do so. I don't like crowds much and I don't like situations where I'm at the mercy of other people. I am polite and pleasing to talk to, and will engage in small talk when asked.

But basically, I pursue a policy of wanting to be left alone and not bothering others if I don't have to. This is what I did here. I didn't bother anyone, didn't engage anyone in small talk, and basically kept to myself. I'm not even sure who it was that took exception to me just standing there and supervising my daughter.

Here's the dilemma that I now face: how do I tell my daughter that we can't go to the playground anymore? I certainly can't tell her the truth as to why, because she too young to understand. I don't want to lie to her either.

It must be a wonderful thing for women to have the power of keeping a small section of their world, free from a male influence. I don't spend a lot of quality time with my children to begin with, and with these women (sarcasm is intended) making a phantom complaint about me, they have eliminated one major opportunity for me to reconnect with my children.

And in essence, ruined my vacation and my summer.

Gotta love the paranoid people in small towns.


  1. G: I am sorry that happened to you and can understand your reluctance to return there. However [if it were me, and I were a man], I would return to that playground, as if nothing had transpired & show those women that I & my child have as much right to be there as they do. And just to add flavor to the outing, I would strike up a small conversation with some of the other parents there. Talk about the weather, how watching the kids running around "tires" you out [it does me, all the time! LOL], and make myself "known", if even in small increments.

    My dad used to take me to Colt Park to play on Saturdays, when I was a kid, and nobody ever questioned it. The world was simpler, then.

    The decision is yours. Again, I'm sorry that you had to go through that. (Side note: If there had been an actual pedophile stalking children, then those women would have been commended on their quick action. People do make mistakes/misjudgments sometimes, which is what happened in your case.)

    Don't give up!

  2. Yeah I know I should go back.

    It just ticks me off completely that someone did it to begin with. I wasn't the only male parent there. There was one other, although he looked about 15 years younger than me.

  3. I agree with Jolly1.

    Don't let that unpleasant incident keep you from going back to the playground with your daughter. Just chalk it up as a reminder of the times we live in.

    I would have been mortified as well. But if I was a parent, it might have given me a small sense of relief that there are people watching out for the kids.


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