Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?: Confessions of a Gay Dad, by Dan Bucatinsky
Dan Bucatinsky is an actor, writer, and producer and has appeared in films as well as series such as Scandal and 24:Legacy. In this memoir he talks about his experiences with his partner in adopting two children.
The couple worked through an attorney to find a willing birth mother. The first attempt dried up when the mother continually avoided drug testing and, when pressed, falsified a clean test. They eventually found a mother who was not in a position to raise an infant and agreed to an adoption. Bucatinsky and partner were in the birth room and were parents to a daughter from her first breathe. The same woman later agreed to let them adopt a son.
Many of their experiences would be typical of any couple regardless of “orientation”. Others are more unique to two men raising children, including slightly more competition in setting parenting rules and the inevitable “where’s the mother?” questions from strangers. Some are unique to a man raising a little girl, especially a man who was very limited even in interest with women let alone experiencing intimacy with one. There are also poignant questions from a daughter who wonders why all her friends have a mother. As the father of two daughters, and the only one who shopped for groceries, I can boast of having memorized the personal hygiene preferences of three women. That hardly made me an expert in duration of cramps or best-practices in female birth control. I think the author has a mountain of challenges ahead.
Bucatinsky is very open about the problems and the mistakes made as a parent. He talks about being a soccer dad with no interest in sports and trying to be strong when his partner seems to be getting more love from their daughter. He also wanders into his own sexual history, which is probably something gay men are questioned about by half the strangers they meet anyway so why not?
It’s an episodic book rather than being a more coherent narrative and oddly light on emotion given the subject. It’s clear that both men love their children but Bucatinsky doesn’t do a thorough job of getting that across to the reader. Still, there are funny parenting stories and it opens us up to a parenting challenge alien to the majority of parents.