Fatherhood has made me soft.
Don't get me wrong. Prior to the birth of my daughter, it's not like I was a stone-faced, cold-hearted neanderthal. And I certainly wasn't one of those beer-drinking, backwards baseball cap-wearing, date-raping frat boys. Nor was I ever one of those pseudo-tough, misogynistic, ego-driven wannabe playboys.
In fact, I've always been a fairly sensitive, deep thinking and self-aware kind of guy. I have a pretty high emotional I.Q. and generally have very healthy relationships with all those around me. And yes, I like gourmet food, fine clothing, and days at the spa. But make no mistake, people. I've always been a guy's guy, a real man's man. I've always worked hard, lived hard and played hard. I've always loved sports, thrived on competition and searched for adventure. I can eat a 32 oz. porterhouse in my sleep, wash it down with a bottle of scotch, smoke a pack of Marlboros, and wake up in the morning to play hoops all day. I drive fast, love classic Rock, and pee standing up. Hell, I can count the number of times I've cried in public on one hand...when I was at Shea Stadium and the Mets won the World Series in '86, while in the movie theater watching "The Champ", and during my 14 year-old cousin's funeral after he lost a long battle to leukemia. When I lost one of my best friends during 9/11, I cried everywhere and anywhere, all the time.
But now, my friends? I'm a withering willow of whimpering wussiness. Man, I cry at the drop of a hat now! I don't know what's come over me. I started crying tears of joy at the birth of my daughter 14 weeks ago and I haven't stopped since. It's not like I'm walking around and sobbing hysterically all the time. It's more like my eyes will immediately well up with tears if I hear anything even remotely sad or tragic in regards to children. For example, I can't even have cereal in the morning anymore because I can't stand looking at the missing kids on the side of the milk carton. Or when the BossLady tells me about the episode of Oprah highlighting the plethora of orphaned girls in China? Just hearing about that gets me all choked up and makes me want to jump on a plane and adopt all of them.
So, needless to say, hearing about the tsunami's effect on children is killing me! I'm using all my willpower not to have my paychecks sent to Save the Children via direct deposit. It's bad enough that every time I watch the news, I find myself grabbing my wallet and looking for the phone. But last night's televised Tsunami Aid was a major tearjerker. I think the broadcast was put together by the same people who produced "Rudy", "Hoosiers", and "Brian's Song." It was a good thing they showed live music in between all those human-interest sob stories. It gave me just enough time to choke on my Adam's apple, wipe my eyes with my sleeve and have another sip of scotch.
Anyway, what I'd like to know is...has fatherhood turned me into a blubbering wuss for good? or will my masculinity come back and I'll soon return to the days where I only tear up during a really good sports film? Please tell me, Internet. I need to know.