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A Brief Shower

My long-time friend recently received an invitation to a baby shower for the nice young woman across her street. Since I hadn’t been to one in at least 40 years, I told her to “take good notes.” I knew my style maven friend would report on attire, but I also wanted to know about the gifts, sex of attendees, and of primary importance to my foodie self, what the hostess served to eat.

According to my friend, the expectant mom looked tired and the size of Manhattan in her eighth month of pregnancy. However she still looked stylish in a dress covering her enlarged tummy without being stretched tight, a la Rihanna and other show biz types.

My friend saw many stuffed toy gifts, an item which can be over-supplied, in my opinion. I mean how many teddy bears can one kid use? The young mother also unwrapped plenty of cute baby clothes. Buying clothes when you don’t know the sex of the baby can be a bit tricky. But remember; Ru Paul was a baby once, too. Besides gender issues, seasonal factors can cause buyer angst. Suppose this baby, born in July, is big for its age. Should I buy a size 1 year in winter clothing or a size 6 months?

baby shower invitation

For showers back in the day, we guests would receive an invitation similar to the one pictured (only to women, of course) via snail mail. We’d select a gift as gender-neutral as possible--usually practical, like bibs or baby blankets or even cloth diapers. Sometimes a group would chip in and buy a larger gift, like a highchair or play pen. (Remember those?)

For entertainment, we played a couple of shower games—maybe seeing who could make the most words out of “pregnancy,” or baby shower bingo. The winner got a prize, usually something baby-related, which as custom dictated, she promptly gave to the guest of honor. 

My friend happily reported the “light lunch” was delicious and enough to feed the Third Army. In my day, they served only dessert—usually a sectioned sheet cake with pink or blue booties frosted on alternating pieces.  We guests could also count on favors, made of blue or pink marshmallows with a contrasting-color, open diaper pin stuck in each, finished like a stork. The little guy wore a pink or blue slender ribbon at his “neck,” with a top hat on his head. 

I hear the current trend is gender-reveal parties. In our day, part of the fun was waiting to see “what we got.” And as to couples’ baby showers, I can only shake my head. There are too few bastions of female exclusiveness these days. Even the hair salons, (or “beauty parlors,” as we called them,) are unisex now, like bathrooms.   

Old School or new style, the awaited baby received useful “loot” and people had a chance to celebrate its upcoming arrival, enjoying each other at the same time.


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