Published on July 21st, 2015 | by Richard Black1
The Sunscreen Dilemma
I enjoy fatherhood for many reasons. The infrequent hug I receive just before my daughter vomits all over the back of my shirt is one of my favorites. The incessant screams to go to the pool is another. The incessant screams to leave the pool a few minutes later and then the epic fit that occurs when we actually try to leave the pool are a few others.
Close to the top of my list when it comes to why I enjoy being a father are the deep philosophical questions that come about when raising a child.
How do I instill a sense of morality with my daughter and allow her to maintain her sense of self?
How loud can I yell at my daughter in public for licking an escalator without embarrassing either of us? or, perhaps more productively, How can I stop my daughter from licking an escalator?
These are the big questions. The ones that keep me awake at night until I pass out around 7:00 or so in the evening. Being a stay at home father is an exhausting endeavor and fraught with conundrums.
Most recently I’ve encountered “The Sunscreen Dilemma”.
Now before anyone gets upset please know that I slather sunscreen on my daughter like Elvis put Quaaludes on fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. No, putting sunscreen on my daughter Darcy isn’t the issue. The issue is how to prevent my own pale Germanic skin from frying to a crisp once I’m at the pool.
Being a stay at home dad who’s wife isn’t around during the day there aren’t many options when it comes to applying sunscreen on all of the places my stumpy arms can’t reach. I suppose I could put my daughter’s emotional health in jeopardy by asking her to rub sunscreen on my mole-riddled and hairy back but she’s going to suffer enough over the course of her life. Starting the process his early just seems a bit unfair.
Aside from pretty much throwing her to the lesbians (which is fine by the way I just want her to make any decision regarding her sexuality without any intervention on my part) a five year old is not the most thorough means for applying sunscreen. Even if I could cajole Darcy into spreading sunscreen on my back the best case scenario involves many third degree burns except for a small handprint over my left kidney and my daughter’s admission to a convent.
If I were a mother I could approach another woman at the pool, describe my dilemma, and ask apologetically if she could perhaps put sunscreen on my back and shoulders. Unfortunately I’m not a woman and, being a man, must adhere to a slew of social mores dictating appropriate behavior at the pool.
Now the jackass part of me thoroughly enjoys the idea of approaching a woman I’ve never met and asking her to slather sunscreen over my body. The other, more thoughtful and perhaps mature, part of my psyche understands that soliciting women at the pool for this service will quickly result in my banishment from the establishment and most other public buildings as well.
To complicate matters I’m also incredibly attractive. I haven’t had a lot of women surge towards the entrance when I get to the pool but I assume that’s because they’re intimidated by my stunning good looks and raw machismo. By asking a woman to “please put some sunscreen on my back” I’m tempting fate. The mere thought would probably make any woman out there infatuated with my doughy physique and that’s just not fair for anyone particularly my wife.
The idea of propositioning men at the pool to help me with my dilemma is slightly less intriguing and not just because I’m a bit weirded out about a man touching my back who isn’t a licensed masseuse. I really don’t care for massages in the first place. I also happen to live in one of the handful of states that hasn’t sanctioned same sex marriage so the odds that I’ll be offending someone are fairly high.
Don’t get me wrong. I applaud the Supreme Court for its recent ruling in the matter. It’s just going to be a while before I approach a man in public to rub some Coppertone on my back. I enjoy a beating as much as anyone but I’d hate for one of my daughter’s earliest memories to be of me being lead away in cuffs after biting the living shit out of another large and hairy man at the pool.
Last week I solved the problem in typical fashion by not putting on any sunscreen at all. Not even a dab. I could use some color after all right? Sure.
After two hours in full afternoon sun my back became the color of a Red Delicious apple. For all practical intents and purposes I have become a giant scab. To date there is not a surface I have not rubbed, scooched, scritched or scratched my back with a lot of orgiastic oooohhhhhhing and aaahhhhhing in a desperate attempt to find some relief.
Quite frankly my wife is concerned that I might leave her for the newel post at the bottom of our stairs. I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about running away with Barbara and “Yes” I’ve given her a name. Babs is solid as far as newel posts go but she’s got her drawbacks. She’s not that mobile for starters and she doesn’t make much of a salary. Bab’s also doesn’t have much in the way of health insurance either and no matter how attractive I find her she still can’t put sunscreen on my back.