The worst thing about wearing the front pack every day in New York is that people don’t actually realize I’m wearing a front pack. This sounds good, right? Because even in black and all organic cotton it still cancels out any good outfit I’m wearing. It seems that wearing a baby, no matter how cute, just turns whatever you’re wearing into one look: mother. Mum, if it’s a woman, or really progressive dad if it’s a guy.
The fact that people don’t notice that it’s a front pack sounds good, but it’s not. After chatting with someone on the street for awhile they’ll say: “hey, you’ve got a baby in there!” And then they confirm my worst suspicion: that they thought I was wearing a backpack on my front! Like a tourist! Which I am, of course, but not that kind of tourist! The kind who worries about thieves silently tiptoeing up from behind, slitting open the backpacks (like the gypsies in Rome do right?) and grabbing all their belongings.
I don’t get it. Two little legs dangling down from my waist?
Anyway, it’s left me contemplating why backpacks are so much cooler than front packs? I mean, even if you wear a baby on your back, it looks way cooler. Maybe it’s to do with how even small babies look huge when carried in front packs. Something to do with squashing down the height of the person carrying them or something; widening them out. The way they sit make your hips jut back a bit, encouraging a slight waddle.
I should say that the front pack is highly convenient in a city like NY, where most subway stations don’t have elevators, so if you’re using a stroller you’re carrying it and the child up flights and flights of stairs. But as a parent who cares somewhat about outfits and aesthetics, it’s a bit of a rock and a hard place: front pack or stroller? Lose lose.
Anyway, I finally cracked and asked my husband to wear it for a while – so I could be free of the front backpack look for a day and it actually made me feel worse seeing him in it. Not that other guys don’t like great in theirs; it’s just not his style. Something about the way people glance at him when he’s wearing it. I know we’re not really supposed to say anything about how men look in front packs that’s anything other than really positive – so I’m hesitant. Instead I’ll just relay the words of the super cool Latino corner store proprietor across the road from our Bed-Stuy sublet. “Eh,” he said to Tameem, when he stopped in on his way home with Ayah. “You eva seen the angova?
Yeah, you look like that guy in the angova.” Ouch. Zach Galifianakis.
My dad came up with another one for him on Skype the other day: “You look like Che Guevara in a front pack."
How could they do that to Che Guevara?