Gender Reveal Parties Are Due for an Upgrade
The suburbs are wasting a good party idea.
I have aged into gender reveals. As you drift further away from college, the days clump together into sections of your social calendar that are bereft and so obviously looking forward to anything that could be considered a party option. This all seems boring in a sort of double-banked meta sense, since getting drunk with your friends in your 30s involves pounding $40 bottles of wine in a newly renovated kitchen. The relative lameness of this type of get-together is not remotely the worst thing about comparing it to a blacklight toga wizard staff party, but it is not lame in a particularly interesting way. At least airballing at beer pong with your washed-up frat star friends involves deranged and superheated arguments about whether Patrick Mahomes is a system quarterback, unlike how charades with chardonnay continues to be an expensive but not terribly convincing simulation of a lively evening.
I have hit a breaking point: Any time my friend’s lives are taking a different direction, no matter how minute, I have made it an excuse to get fucked up. They could call me at 10 AM on a Tuesday to let me know that they just found out they have irritable bowel syndrome and I’d be at their apartment with a sympathy Heineken mini-keg. But there is something about gender reveal parties that elevate and exacerbate the most abnormal and unpalatable behavior imaginable—igniting state-wide wildfires and grandmas accidentally killing themselves with homemade pipe bombs in the name of letting all 152 of your Instagram followers know that your newborn goes by they/them.
For a while, I never understood the purpose of a gender reveal; just have a kid and let the public schools decide what it is. But after attending, like, two of these affairs, I have realized that I don’t actually hate gender reveal parties, but I despise the people who throw them. There is a vile uncanniness inherent to living through terminal-stage millennial cultural relevance, and this is especially apparent through our generation-spanning level of complicity in allowing the Live. Laugh. Love. section of America to hijack what should’ve been a magnificent and definitive party idea and soil it with their load-bearing defects.
The gender reveal is wedded haplessly to an outmoded and obviously ineffective philosophy about what constitutes a good party; the end product is a shindig that pales in comparison to, say, reading the terms of service. These lummoxes saw cake and pink/blue smoke canisters and decided that merely escalating the ostentatiousness of this played-out format was sufficient to make their little get-together a Reels-worthy event for their already insufferable Instagram. At this rate, we are fast approaching an era of car bomb gender reveals.
Gender reveals are the most suburban shit possible, and because of that, I opposed them out of pure reflexive spite. I grew up in a Connecticut hamlet and spent the last decade of my life living in urban cores, and despite the rampant homelessness and uprising of overconfident vermin, I will still choose to live in a large city over any suburb, which is basically an open-air TGI Friday’s full of ersatz, concrete-poured recreations of cultures these people have never experienced, except it’s covered in MSG and high-fructose corn syrup. However, I do have a begrudging respect for the suburban mentality. In the city, we deal with new astonishing issues every week—everything’s problematic, we have to talk about this, the pigeons have anxiety now, or endless and pointless discourse about whether bodegas are unique to NYC. I would like to be as socially removed from current events as a housewife in the suburbs with a six-month-old child. This woman’s Instagram bio is: “Mother to an angel. Wife to a prince. Lover of Jesus and wine.” There is no way someone like her was aware that there was an airborne disease that killed a million people. Her two boys are named Braeden and Brendan and she is straight chillin’ in mental Fiji. A city woman’s Instagram has a completely different vibe; it’s just screaming at you, “WE HAVE TO AMPLIFY AND UPLIFT THE VOICES OF THE GENDERQUEER NEURODIVERGENT FOOD INSECURE FURRY COMMUNITY OF SUBURBAN ASHEVILLE NOW!!”
All of this is to say that suburbs are incapable of producing anything that could be considered “cool”—they drive F-150s while their kids wear Minions tee-shirts and just consume a corporatized monoculture like Homer Simpson sucking Duff’s Beer out of a gravy hose. Therefore, whatever gender reveal party that is thrown in the distant lands of assembled gaudy McMansions is inherently relative but distinctly pathetic compared to its lofty potential. I am an artist and a creative to the extent that working in advertising allows me to consider myself as such, so I would move to the suburbs strictly out of refracted contempt for its howling cultural void and to forget the city woes and focus exclusively on elevating what gender reveal parties are capable of.
My college friends would be in attendance, all of whom are either a shade over 6’ or roughly 5’10” but round up to 6’2” on their Hinge profiles. They went to a good-but-not-great college and graduated with a bachelor’s in business as if that would blow any woman’s mind. It would be an open bar and buffet-style food service. The day would begin with 3-on-3 half-court basketball—Cocks vs. Clits—and the men picked for the clit team will only be allowed to eat tacos. After a series of other challenges, and as everyone is progressively hammered, the festivities would conclude with a rock wall mountain climbing competition, and whoever is the first to summit the top gets to read from a scroll, like Moses revealing the Ten Commandments, to announce the baby’s gender. At this point, everyone will be so piss drunk, they will be staggering from the bar, frothing and seething for it to be read immediately.
The person reading it would be out of breath and panting while they shout:
The baby is whatever gender they choose!! Everyone here is a little transphobic and you should all be ashamed of yourselves!! Today’s events have been filmed and they will be sent to your employer’s HR departments!!
We will be offering sensitivity training after!! If you don’t think you need it, then why didn’t you grab the blank tee-shirt that was offered or eat the gender-neutral food, like the turkey sandwich??
We just want a better future for our children!! Also, just kidding—we aborted!!
Meanwhile, my significant other will be chugging a sour beer while she pulls a pillow out from under her sundress. While some may claim this is an anti-climatic ending to a debauched Saturday, well, at least you will get a cool shirt and a fantastic workout. The next day, I would move back to the city after burning my house down for the insurance money, which should cover approximately 2.5 weeks of rent in a 300-square-foot studio.