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[Deadbeat Dad]: That Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Party
Praise the Lord, your parents have taken the kid for the night. It’s time to party like never before (AKA like you used to in the day).
By Mar 20, 2017 Community
Deadbeat Dad is SmartShanghai's regular parenting column, written by Sal Haque, a.k.a. DJ Skinny Brown of Popasuda. He became a father in 2014, and lives in Shanghai with his wife Rain and their kid Nesta.

***

The stars have aligned, the fourth pyramid unearthed, and a lost city of Maya discovered. All monumental occasions in human history with their far reaching implications, and while astronomers, archeologists, and anthropologists celebrate, I would gladly forego any one of them for the much greater celebration of a single night out.

Just one single night out.

No wife, no kid, and most importantly, the freedom to make bad decisions.

Don’t get me wrong, being a father affords one ample opportunities to make bad decisions. Horrible decisions. Terrible decisions. The worst decisions ever. What I miss is the freedom to make them.
Don’t get me wrong, being a father affords one ample opportunities to make bad decisions. Horrible decisions. Terrible decisions. The worst decisions ever. What I miss is the freedom to make them. Once you become a family man, the decisions you make directly affect said family, and “bad” decisions rapidly morph into “much worse” decisions. When single, stumbling out of the club at 9am only really hurts you. You can sleep it off, and shake the shame. As a dad, however, a crazy night out will probably earn you a verbal ass-kicking from your wife, and even worse, disable your ability to effectively parent your child. Dealing with a toddler sucks even when you’re at full energy. Handling a kid on no sleep and strung out is impossible — not-to-mention potentially illegal.

So there is it: Having a child is a life of compromise, and you’re going to miss a lot of fun shit. Last year was my first New Year’s Eve at home. While my friends indulged in every sin imaginable, waking up in a blissful haze of hungover amnesia, I stayed in to watch my child. I say “watch” in the loosest possible sense, because by 8pm my kid was already asleep, leaving me to sit alone on my sofa watching the Chinese Spring Festival Gala. Party.

So New Year’s passed pretty much like any other evening — uneventfully. It was one of many awesome parties, diners, birthdays, movies, picnics, and camping trips I had to (and will continue to) miss, only to sit on my sofa while my kid sleeps. But that’s the choice we make when we decide to have a baby. Fair enough.

However!

However

Every now and then, through some cosmic miracle, by some mandate of the heavens, your parents will take your two-year-old for a night. One full night — twenty-four hours or so — to rediscover the unbridled joy of the bad decision-making process. It’s greater than New Year’s, Burning Man, Carnival, and Coachella combined. It’s what most non-parents don’t understand. It’s that get-out-of-jail-free party.

The result is an explosive supernova of partying that no New Years, Saint Patrick’s Day, or Halloween will ever compare to. Shit. It could be a Tuesday.
Partying sans child becomes the most epic night you will ever live. That single night becomes the antidote to every missed party, every bored evening spent Facebooking, every night you had to endure Downton Abbey, all those time you missed a friend’s birthday, and every piece of fun you put aside for the well being of your child. The result is an explosive supernova of partying that no New Years, Saint Patrick’s Day, or Halloween will ever compare to. Shit. It could be a Tuesday. You might even have to work the next day. But when you have that first beer, it dawns on you: You have “time”; precious, precious “time”. You’re ordering another beer! Your social skill ramp up faster than stripper on cocaine. You’re ready.

There is no greater liberation. None.

You’re going to that after-party. Not necessarily because you want another Mojito, or even because you enjoy the company. You’re going for one reason, and one reason alone. Because you can! You’re like a pent-up American university student on his 21st birthday. It’s time to binge. The ramification of pushing your pudgy, thirty-plus Dad body around isn’t even a consideration. Partying as a dad on a night out is like your first day out of prison. It’s time to experience the world again.

And it just all seems so new. Your favorite bars have changed. The menus are different. You finally get to try that one spot everyone’s been talking about. You’re a Tiger leaving the enclosure, released into a virgin rainforest ripe with fruit and gazelle. You enjoy that jungle with the ferocity of tiger who knows full-well that tomorrow he’s back to the zoo.

Wednesday morning, yeah, you’ll wake up in pain. Hungover, serotonin low, with a sense of shame planted deep in your stomach. You feel your age, plus another ten years on top of that. Responsibility kicking you in the face, your wallet’s way lighter. Your wife’s annoyed and unsympathetic. And you're late for work.

But despite feeling like absolute Ass, there’s a certain beauty to that day, like you’ve just come off a cathartic peyote trip, and it’s time to puke up all that pent-up aggression and tension. The hangover’s almost euphoric, and your coffee’s never tasted better. And although you can’t digest anything, you spent way too much money buying everyone drinks, and you’re probably going to be hurting for a few days to come, it was totally, totally worth it.

It was so, so worth it.

***

2 comments.

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  • 9 months ago handoogies

    Hate mail goes here folks.

  • 9 months ago Unverified User

    how about a link to this and all his articles sent to the schools listed on your new Shanghai education guide? Sound Smart? Sure that'll go over real well with parents and teachers organizations.

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