Father’s milk is best

February 26, 1997

Just as I was settling in for a bout of writing one recent morning, Nancy called over to me from her desk.

Nancy is our senior editor, which means she gets into night movies at matinee prices. I’m jealous.

I expected her to tell me of something she read or heard about that might pertain to my beat, or to ask if I were done with a certain story, or something like that. I should have known better.

This is what she said:

“I had a dream about you last night.”

I never know what Nancy’s going to say. No one does. We all know what she just said, and we sometimes know what she’s saying, but no one ever knows in advance what she’s going to say. She’s as unpredictable as a sandstorm. Well, that’s not entirely true. She is predictable in that she is always unpredictable.

She speaks her mind any time, any place, to anybody. She is not plagued by verbal inhibition. Some people are amused by that, others frightened.

So, wary about the content of her nocturnal vision of me, I asked (warily, of course), the following question:

“Oh?”

I braced myself for her response. God forbid it was NC-17 material, because if it were, I know she’d tell me. And the entire editorial staff. And anybody from the composing or advertising departments in earshot. I may have broken a sweat.

She began with this:

“You were sitting in a lunch room, waiting for Diane.”

Relief. I’m just sitting in a lunch room, waiting for my wife. How tame. How normal. Nothing to hide. Just a husband pining for his spouse.

I could picture myself there, maybe eating pizza, tapping my feet, looking occasionally at my watch. She would show up, and I would toss the pizza aside, leap up, run to her, and—

“You were breast-feeding a baby.”

I didn’t expect that. Even from Nancy.

A number of thoughts raced through my brain concurrently, all battling for supremacy. In no particular order (they were, after all, concurrent):

  • What the hell?
  • The FBI better not be bugging this office.
  • She must mean bottle-feeding.
  • Was it my baby, or am I a wet male nurse?
  • So much for projecting a masculine image.
  • What was my cup size?

Nancy explained that I told her (in the dream) I had to feed the baby, which was a boy, and that she expected me to produce a bottle. Not quite. Instead, I produced a mammary gland. Mine.

Baffled (and tickled) by her dream, Nancy then attempted to analyze it. Were Diane and I going to have a baby? Am I “mothering” a special story or project? Am I good with babies? Am I a woman?

I was willing to let it go. Strange dream, no meaning, no significance, end of story.

Well, sort of.

I looked through my wife’s dream dictionary this morning – the one I trust implicitly – and was disappointed to find that the index did not include breast-feeding. What’s a lactating guy to do?

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