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The Den of Yentas

The Den of Yentas

by Steely Dad on February 17, 2009

Dear Readers,

I feel it’s time to share the part of my childcare routine that is a huge inspiration for the Steely Dad blog. I anticipate this to be a regular subject blog so some background is necessary.

The source of my inspiration is what I’ve affectionately termed the “Den of Yentas.”

I know the members of “the Den” will take exception to the title but they are a fun-loving bunch who will accept it as a term of endearment. I will, as a condition of my arrangement with the yentas, refrain from naming names but will utilize pseudonyms to protect the guilty.

Allow me to elaborate.

The Den of Yentas is this group of moms who congregates to commiserate and complain and gossip in the “parent” room (the Den) at the drop-in center where I take my kids for “socialization.” The drop-in center resembles a preschool except I’m actually required to stay in the building. The fact that I can’t simply drop off the munchkins has caused some major disruptions with my mani/pedi schedule so I can’t wait until the kids are in an actual preschool when I can get some “me” time. Chello day spa!

As you might’ve guessed, I’m the only person in the Den who has a penis and I do my very best to make sure I leave with it still intact. This presents a far greater challenge than one might glean from first blush.

Imagine yourself, the only male, sitting with a large assemblage of stay-at-home moms (SAHMs) in what amounts to an underground concrete bunker that, according to local legend, is impervious to Soviet radar. The unique design of the Den makes for a wonderful interrogation room (and when I say “interrogation” I mean the variety rumored to be employed at Gitmo). The Den’s thick, cold, cinder block walls are also soundproof so cries for help go unanswered. Although there are two access doors to the Den, these mothers are insanely vigilant to ensure they remain shut at all times. Two burly moms act as Roman Centurions guarding the doors. Once inside, there is no escaping the Den.

Now imagine being locked inside the Den for vicious two-hour hen-pecking sessions with no team support and no quarter offered by the yentas. Providing anything from unsolicited advice to critical commentary on my parenting style, the yentas are not afraid to speak their united voice. I often emerge from the Den bloodied and battered. I know the eviscerations and castrations are only a matter of time. This is the crux of my experience inside the bowels of the Den.

I should mention that the Den is not without its creature comforts. There are soft sofas, delightful baked goods and other such niceties that make it have the appearance of a friendly place. This is the true genius of the yentas. The window dressing belies an evil that lurks within the Den. The yentas use this illusion, much like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, to make a newcomer feel accepted into their collective bosom by plying the unsuspecting visitor with sweets and fresh bagels only to lull the poor sap into a false sense of security. I know I fell for the trap. Initially, I actually felt welcomed to the Den. Rather than feel threatened, the yentas seemed accepting of my stay-at-home dad (SAHD) status. In fact, there was another dad who occasionally hung out in the Den but oddly enough he suddenly and inexplicably disappeared, not to be heard of or seen again. The story goes that he and his wife had another kid and are “juggling” schedules but I suspect he is buried under the concrete slab of the Den, his terminable fate probably the result of expressing a viewpoint contrary to the mob mentality of the yentas.

Since the true spirit of the yentas has been exposed I dare only enter the Den with great trepidation lest I be attacked. I don’t make eye contact and I speak only when spoken to and even then I do so with judicious brevity. The less I say the less opportunity I provide for a relentless verbal assault.

There you have the Den of Yentas. It is my hope to write regular postings regarding my experiences with the yentas, how they think, what they talk about and how they descend upon their prey. Consider it a veritable ethnography of these wily creatures. Should my blog abruptly cease, please be so kind as to x-ray the concrete floor of the Den. It’s just a hunch.

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