By Russell W. Peterson

Journalist Mark Simpson coined the word "metrosexual" in 1994. He claims these guys are clothing and grooming obsessed. They live in metropolitan areas and spend their money on image shopping. Now he now says metrosexuals are a dime a dozen and there has been an evolution to a new man: spornosexual - a mash up of sports and porn. These dudes are obsessed with their body, fitness, abs and selfies. They spend their money on physical training and have no need for shirts.

But there is another branch to the male evolutionary tree. It has taken longer to evolve; its numbers have grown dramatically in the past several years. I'm talking about the stadosexual: a mashup of stay and dad in stay at home dad. They spend their money on their families and wear gifted t-shirts. Although according to the National At Home Dad Network there are nearly seven million dads who stay at home at least one day per week and two million who do on a weekly basis, this breed is a bit more elusive to spot. 

I could say that stadosexuals aren't obsessed about their clothes, but that wouldn't be true. They are doing the family laundry nearly 24/7. There is always a pile of Mount Neverend clothing on the sofa needing to be washed or folded. Concern for their family's attire is only overshadowed by the stadosexuals need to wear the most advanced graphic designed t-shirts they've been given for father's day, Christmas and birthdays.

I could say that stadosexuals aren't obsessed about grooming, but I know many of these men spend countless hours changing diapers, washing babies, wiping up their muddy sons, brushing their daughters' hair, and painting their own toenails while playing with their girls. I'm sure they get to shower a few times a week.

I could say that stadosexuals don't live in metropolitan areas, but many of them do. Yet, many do not. They are a bit elusive. They are generally disguised as a babysitter pushing a stroller or camouflaged by a child they are carrying in their arms. The next time you see one make sure you tell them that their baby sitting disguise is working.

I could say that stadosexuls don't shop often, but we all know that isn't true. Children eat hordes of food, so weekly stints at the local market or warehouse store are very important to them. Typically you will find them in the fresh produce aisle during a week day with one or more children testing vegetable freshness or crying or screaming or behaving. Sometimes it is hard to tell.

I could say that stadosexuals aren't obsessed with their bodies, fitness or abs, but they are. The messages men are getting in media and advertising are as bad as what society has been selling to women for decades: thinner and leaner with more definition through shredding, eating less carbs, consuming more protein, training like a rock star and running a daily marathon. If a stadosexual does these things he will definitely have the muscle-defined super hero body of the comic book movie era. This is most definitely what a spouse and child wants from the stay at home male.

As mystifying as many of these traits are, there is one common trait I've witnessed in all stadosexuals: the ability to nurture their children and provide a loving home environment for their family. Not really a new breed of man, just one that is one the rise.

(Russell Peterson is a stay at home dad, architect, entrepreneur and some times lifestyle blogger. He lives in Minnesota with the trophy wife, two smart stiletto wearing daughters, three territorial cats and two escape artist dogs.)

Photography assumed in the public domain unless otherwise notified.
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The metrosexual poses in his natural environment.
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The spornosexual displays shirtless as usual.
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The stadosexual blending with family camouflage.
 
 
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Last night I watched the Miss America pageant with my wife and daughters. We were of course cheering for Miss Minnesota as she is from our home state. But we knew right from the start that Miss California and Miss New York were going to be hard to beat. They all displayed poise, grace, intelligence, and talent. These are all the things of Miss America and should be of all of us. Unfortunately, within minutes of announcing Miss New York had won, there were racists rants a plenty on twitter. Then this morning we woke to a shooting spree at a naval yard in D.C. This afternoon a friend posted this letter on facebook about a woman enduring discriminatory disdain from another while using an EBT (food stamps) card in the grocery store in our community.

These events reminded me about the time 20 years ago when I got in line behind a couple with a young child at a grocery store in St. Paul. As they were checking out it became apparent they did not have enough money for all of their groceries. So they started working with the cashier to take out certain groceries to get down to the amount they could afford. They were well dressed Hmong immigrants who spoke very little English (none of which should matter). They were buying great whole foods (no junk) and obviously distressed at the situation, but very polite. I could have gotten impatient, angry, violent or even discriminatory as we've witnessed by the events of the last 24 hours. But, after about six or seven items were removed I turned to the cashier and said put the items back, I will pay for them. She was stunned. The couple in disbelief started shaking their heads in thanks. As they left and kept thanking me, the cashier just said over and over that I was an angel sent from heaven and she had never seen the likes of that and it was a miracle. I told her thank you and as I drove away I thought to myself I am no angel and this was not a miracle. It was just a little kindness.

I'm so tired of the shooters, and the racists, and the discriminators, and the hate mongers defining who we are. It is time to pick up our collective selves, stand against hatred and oppression, challenge intolerance, and start acting like the human beings we have the potential to be. Angels and miracles? I'll settle for poise, grace, intelligence, and talent...oh, and a little kindness.

 
 
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Ted Coonradt - Oberon Puppet Voice | Rick Miller - Puck
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Chris Rohling - Lysander | Rick Miller - Puck | Rachel Brady - Hermia | Logan Bitz Daum - Demetrius | Hannah Wehlage - Helena
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Maddie Tonjes - Peter Quince | Will Dziuk - Bottom | Kali Jennings - Snug | Alec Lambert - Snout
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Sam Pavich - Tatania Puppet Voice
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Ted Coonradt - Oberon Puppet Voice | Rick Miller - Puck
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Rick Miller - Puck | Will Dziuk - Bottom
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Wesley Erickson - Flute | Kali Jennings - Snug | Alec Lambert - Snout | Will Dziuk - Bottom | Maddie Tonjes - Peter Quince
Since I'm an architect, someone in a conversation invariably says, "I can't draw." To which I reply, "Yes you can." Startled, the person initiating the conversation says, "No, really, I can't draw." To which I reply, "No. You can draw. But your perception of your ability has been socialized out of you. By that I mean that our society believes that only a few people are talented enough to draw, so we don't really even try." 

Drawing is a creative endeavor that is all about perception. For instance, we all have come to believe that a school is drawn with a peak over the front of a door with steps and a flag flying in front. (This was on a test my kids had in grade school and they had no idea what it was.) However, most schools today don't even come close to looking like that. Why then do we teach our children that a school is an old iconic image from the western frontier? Because we are lazy about creativity and don't try to understand how those images create social barriers to perception and inventiveness. Thus most of us have to go back to the beginning to re-learn what it means to be creative. I've used creative techniques that turn perception on its heels from Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, The Zen Of Seeing, and other sources to prove that you can eventually overcome that socialization.

This concept of turning perception on its heels was made perfectly clear to me in a recent production of Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare performed by an inter-generational group of professionals and students in the parking lot at the Main Street School Of Performing Arts this summer in Hopkins, Minnesota. This talented menagerie looked at the story, placed it in a post world war tent encampment that was also a drive-in movie theater. The changed setting forced the actors to re-imagine what the motivations really were behind the characters and made the audience push the bounds of its perception. Creativity and inventiveness were present in every aspect as they used video, costuming, staging, and puppetry to set the scenes. Several of the characters including Helena, Bottom and Puck became even more powerful and relevant giving the audience pause about the lessons from this play.

Some might say, "So what?" This is theater and they are suppose to be creative. Yet, aren't we all? Isn't our job to re-invent and improve? Perhaps the stagnation in our economy and society is about a lack of creativity. What if it really isn't about money, but it is about the way we've been socialized, educated, and manipulated to perceive. That creativity and inventiveness together have been thrown away for popularity, emotion, and vulgarity which drives a societal engine that never really helps people. Are we "painted blind" as Cupid is because we are not looking with our eyes? Perhaps we need a paint scraper and a magically different perspective. Sounds like a Shakespeare twist to me:

Get Thee To The Forest
Go outside and I'm not talking about mowing the lawn. Change your every day location in a big way. Get out of the house. Get out of your car. Get out of the office. Run away to a state park forest or a zoo filled with magic. Daydream. Lie in the grass and watch the clouds. Imagine mother nature using the rustling of the trees to speak to you in new ways. Shakespeare used this technique, why can't we?  

Flip Disadvantage Into Advantage
Most people couldn't imagine working or playing in a cracked, sloping parking lot with dumpsters, parked cars, and weeds. But this theater team made it happen. They took a craggy looking space and turned it into an even craggier looking space with purpose. Find your biggest disadvantage and turn it on its head.

Change One Thing
In one scene Helena rides in on a very long bike. It sets the stage for a more humorous and realistic presentation of her character. The bike says she is unpretentious which is counter to being a desperate and jealous rich woman as many interpret her character to be. Of course the actress breathes new life into her throughout the play, but the bike was the one thing that first began the perception change for the audience. 

Be Inquisitive
Ask questions. Investigate. Imagine. Why can't a god be a monster in a garbage can? The play's controlling god, Oberon, was portrayed by many things: an over sized puppet, an under sized puppet, a cloaked human...even a puppet monster in a garbage can. Who would think that Sesame Street could be any kind of inspiration for Midsummer Night's Dream? Yet, Oscar The Grouch would be proud (really, more grouchy) that he could be seen as a god; after all he did a lot of controlling on Sesame Street. Drawing that parallel to a post war pop culture and seeing the possibility meant that someone had to ask the question first.

Take Risks Together
This summer workshop production took a great deal of collaboration. Midsummer Night's Dream is a complex play with numerous intertwined themes. It would make any business analyst graphing a flow chart get a migraine - long into the moonlit night. No one person can do it alone. A reinvention like this takes collaborative brainstorming and a willingness to open yourself to supportive vulnerability. The end product will be well worth the creative endeavor. 

Throwing aside socialized perceptions and embracing creative endeavors can be daunting, but just as A Midsummer showed us something new and magical might just be created in the end. Perhaps a societal amend.
Additional Cast
Todd Hanson - Theseus | Eryn Warne - Hippolyta | Rob Thompson - Egeus| Lily Lenarz-Hooyman - Philostrate | Danny Noyed - Fairy | Kelalani Jankowski - Fairy | Bailey Roth - Fairy | Robby Miller - Fairy | Carley Guthrie - Fairy | Lilly Lenarz-Hooyman - Fairy

Artistic Team
Robert Thompson & Rachel Brady - Associate Directors | CC Keith - Production Stage Manager | Devin Hueffed - Puppet Design & Creation | Max Lazerine - Technical Operator | Cole Benson - Original Music | Will Dziuk - Up & Down Video | Sam Kenknight - Puck's Costume | CC Keith & Logan Bitz Daum - Graphic Design |
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My name is Russell Peterson. I grew up in a little house on the prairie. No, not that story, but it was little and so was the town. I traveled far, far away, 60 miles or 45 minutes if you drove really fast, to college and got a degree in architecture. After graduation I moved over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house (really, I am not kidding) to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I worked for a New York design firm, traveled the country designing for fortune 500 companies, became a licensed architect and started my own business - all before I was 30. Then I got married. But everything really changed fifteen years ago when I decided to sell my flourishing architecture practice, walk away from my promising career and stay at home to raise my children. It was not easy - it still isn't. But, I am the luckiest man alive because I am blessed with two smart, beautiful teenage daughters and a lovely and very talented wife. This blog is an exploration of our journey. I hope along the way you might discover a few humorous things about our lifestyle, my everyday struggles, a little about humanity, and something special about yourself. Thank you for tagging along.