For millennia, the baby shower has been a rite of passage for expectant mothers. The girls get together and shower their pregnant friend with gifts, guess the child's gender and discuss potential names. It's the cornerstone of the social calendar for anyone who's about to give birth. Traditionally, men have been left out of this process. But times are changing and now, mercifully, men finally have a reason to celebrate a new arrival - The Baby Storm.
The baby storm has the same basic tenets as the baby shower, but spares the gifts and baby talk. In their place are debauchery, danger and lads, lads, lads. Baby storms are sort of a mini-stag, without the travel and hazing, and a great excuse to get your friends together for a genuine last hurrah. People say life changes after marriage, but socially it doesn't really. Once a kid comes along, it is absolutely all over - your friends are essentially dead to you, for a few months at least.
(CC image courtesy of daisy.images/flickr)
Baby storms are a welcome new excuse to get together, and the trend is about to take the world by storm, baby storm. After a few successful test runs, the idea has now become the standard among my peers, and I can't recommend it enough. Below are my ten essential rules for the perfect storm.
1. Time. The first thing to bear in mind is timing. The seventh or eighth month of pregnancy is best. It gives your father-to-be the best chance of getting out of the house for a few hours without the likelihood of him being called away to an early labour and he can benefit from the designated driver status of his partner.
2. Plan. Always book a nice restaurant to begin your evening. You are adults now. Time to behave accordingly. An added benefit is that it will give your night a sheen of respectability and keep suspicious other-halves off the scent. Try practicing lines like, "I don't even want to go", or, "This is stupid and a waste of money", to create the impression that this won't be all that much fun.
3. Photos. Take several pictures at the beginning of the evening, while everyone looks respectable. Share these photos on social media and with loved ones. The appearance that this is not a bender has to be kept up, for the sake of similar future events.
(CC image courtesy of Robin Stevens/flickr)
4. Eat. Science has proven on several occasions that the body needs food to not die. My own field experiments have shown that it is always best to eat well before embarking on a heavy session in order to give yourself the best chance of not falling asleep mid-evening or puking.
5. Reminisce. Talk about the times you had together when you all could do whatever you wanted without having to be responsible for anyone else. This won't help the future poppa, but will make you feel better about pursuing that pointless and selfish lifestyle of yours.
6. Advise. Dedicate a maximum of ten minutes to discussing parenting. Topics like how to tell your child that the music they like is terrible, ranting about how easy kids have it these days and explaining that there was no internet when you were young are popular, and serve as a frightening reminder of how old you really are now.
7. Celebrate. Ceremony is important. Have a cake made especially for the occasion. Any restaurant worth their salt will keep it in their fridge for you while you dine, and present it on request after the meal. We recently had a vagina cake with a doll's head coming out of it. The detail on the pubes was impressive. Our secret - real hair.
(CC image courtesy of Beth Fletcher/flickr)
8. Sympathise. If, at any point in the event, the daddy-in-waiting expresses regret at his current predicament, show sympathy and avoid laughing at all costs. Just because your life is fun and child-free now, it doesn't mean it will be forever.
9. Games. At a baby shower, games based on guessing the baby's weight, hair colour and gender are commonplace. At a baby storm there are fun games too, such as shot roulette and who can go the longest without mentioning their children. Having no sprogs of my own, this is an easy win.
10. Gratitude. Enjoy yourself. But never forget why you are there and remember at some point to say something nice to the father-to-be; it will be appreciated. When I told my friend I thought he would make a great dad, he had tears in his eyes. I'm not sure if it was because he was emotional or if it was due to him being violently sick at the time.
Conor Drum: All My Friends Are Dead is on at the Edinburgh Fringe every day at 6pm from August 3-27 at Bar 50 on Blackfriars Street EH1 1NE.