Even when I'm getting stiff-armed at the driveways of publicists' swag-filled beach houses, some aspects of my non-dadblogging life still put celebrities in my path. No so much hanging out, mind you, just running into. If they have kids, we've chatted about kids.
Face to face in normal parentchat mode, I find that my empathy as a parent always wins out over any kind of reporting or publicity-seeking urges, and I usually end up offering to never mention them and their kids on the site. It's a gesture which, even when they appreciate it, I think we both realize is like offering the umbrella from your mai tai to someone standing in the rain.
One time, after telling one guy about how a store we both shopped at had leaked details of his recent stroller shopping visit ["Can't a man shop for a stroller in peace?"], I realized there was something useful I could offer these parents: anonymity.
Some had taken it already. I was surprised a couple of times when celebrities said they knew the site; and one told me he had even sent in a comment. Except that why not? It should just be a totally normal thing, right?
Anyway, since the strollershopping story about 18 months ago, I've been collecting anonymous celebrity parent tips and stories for Daddy Types. They all come from my direct conversations or emails, and they all involve people you would recognize. In order to keep them anonymous, I've stripped out dates and sometimes genders and locations, any potentially identifying details. And if that means not publishing a story at all, that's fine.
If some answers to questions about indispensible gear ["Get them riding on the Buggy Board ASAP, That thing was a lifesaver."] sound like they could have come from any random guy with two kids and a Bugaboo, that's precisely the point.
My idea is not so much to create a suck-uppy haven for the rich & famous & spawning, so much as it is to call into question the assumptions and perceptions underpinning the whole Celebrity Parent Industrial Complex. Practically every single product or book or piece of advice that crosses my Daddy Types desk includes some reference to celebrity parents, and that seems out of whack to me. Given this pervasiveness, wilfully ignoring the issue or taking some imaginary high road seems somehow incomplete or fantastical. Meanwhile mocking it all, while momentarily amusing, usually just ends up perpetuating the hype cycle, and it sometimes makes me feel like a bit of a tool. So let's see if this bit of media jiujitsu works, or if I end up just looking like a dorky celebrity kiss-ass instead:
Daddy Types: So you bought the Bugaboo? Didn't they send one?
Anonymous Celebrity Dad: We bought the first one, and then someone sent one when the new models came out.
DT: How many strollers have you gotten so far?
ACD: [pauses to count in head] like half a dozen or so. We've made use of all of them, though, quite honestly.
DT: Do you get a lot of gear, too? What stuff do people send you?
ACD: Some, yeah, but mostly clothes. We get a lot of clothes.
DT: Which goes straight on eBay.
ACD: [courtesy laugh] No, we definitely use stuff, or we give it away. People in the office take it.
DT: It's really just like a muffin basket. [OK, I only thought of that afterward.]