DAN: I was performing essays about my experience as a dad -- about how my life has changed since becoming a parent - as part of a show called AFTERBIRTH: stories you won't read in a parenting magazine and I found that after a few years, I had really come to love being so honest and no-holds-barred about my writing... it felt liberating. Like I'd been wearing emotional spanx and I finally whipped them off. So I wanted to write more -- And also... there was nothing else out there about the experience of being a dad who happens to be in a same-sex relationship and I wanted to write something that Don and I would have loved had it been out there when we became parents.
GGC: How has fatherhood changed you? And in what ways are you still the same crazy Dan?
DAN: Well. I think I will always be the same "crazy Dan"... in that I'm a multi-tasker... I like to be active... always moving... trying different things. Keeping BUSY. But when I became a dad -- there suddenly became this enormous FOCUS to my life... I won't say it mellowed me -- because anyone who knows me will bombard you with emails. I'm not mellow. But my heart got so full -- and my sense of priorities shifted -- that suddenly I felt like there was this giant laser pointer inside me that was directed -- and driven -- towards these tiny creatures. It's nice to think about something other than myself... and kids have done that for me. And forced me to appreciate the genius of the WET WIPE!!!
: Why was it important for you and your partner (of twenty years) to get married?
DAN: Don and I don't need a piece of paper to prove we are committed to one another. We wake up every day as we have for the past twenty years and continue to make that unspoken DECISION to be together -- and that is the very definition of commitment. But once kids were in the picture -- it felt like we created something larger than ourselves -- a FAMILY... and it suddenly felt important both legally and symbolically for us to show our kids and the world -- that we were a family just like everyone else. The kids go to school with other kids whose parents are married. There is already plenty of difference in our family from the others -- this was one way to mark an example of how we're the same. Two parents. Who love each other. And are committed to one another. And who have committed ourselves to loving and caring for these kids forever. That seemed like it deserved an official MARRIAGE.
GGC: Your chapters about your children's birth mother are some of my favorites. I assume your kids' birth mother (Monica) has read your book? How did she react?
DAN: To be honest, I don't know if she's read it. So far, I haven't heard anything. But I certainly wanted her to know how much we valued her -- and how much gratitude we feel for the sacrifice she made.
GGC: There are two (very handsome) Ken dolls on the cover of your book. Which one is you?
DAN: The one holding the kid, duh. One of them is clearly doing all the work.
Your memoir is about being a "gay dad" but it's also about the universal parenting experience. Regardless of sexual orientation, family is family, love is love, poop emergencies in Pier One are poop emergencies in Pier One. Clearly, that's the big joke, right? That there's nothing conventional about any family? LOL?
DAN: Yes. Very well put. I didn't SET OUT to try and prove some point. But I think in the specifics -- lies the universal. In other words ... we realize by hearing the very small, specific and detailed story of one parent's diaper nightmare or sleep-training struggle... that all of us parents have something in common. At the end of the day -- it takes MEETING another dad -- to realize how much common ground we share. I like to joke... the diapers smell the same, but we gays may just look a little better while we're changing them. You know? (Fewer pleated shorts with leather braided belts.)
GGC: What do your kids think about your book? Your husband?
DAN: Don was a little apprehensive... naturally. But when he was reading an early draft, he left a post it on top of it after he left it on my office chair and it just said "love". I've kept that post-it. The kids love the cover. And like seeing it in bookstores. I told them it was about how we came to be a family and how much I love them. But I'm not sure I'm going to get a real READ on how they feel till they're a little older. Hopefully I won't need to get a restraining order.
GGC: What's next for you? What are you working on?
DAN: I, along with my business partner Lisa Kudrow and my husband Don, created a show called WEB THERAPY in which I also get to act with Lisa... our second season premieres on Showtime on July 2nd. And I'm also an actor on the Shonda Rhimes series SCANDAL, playing the husband of the chief of staff. I've also just joined the writing staff, as a consulting producer, on the 9th season of GREY'S ANATOMY. So I'm definitely busy. But I love it.
***Dan's giving away three copies of his new book as well as some Does The Baby wet wipes because dude is borderline obsessed with wipes for some reason. To win? Leave a comment below and I'll let random.org work its magic.
For more on Dan and Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight check out the book's website, here. Friend Dan on facebook here. Follow him on twitter here. Order his book here. Turn on your television and see his face on every channel. Good luck and much thanks to Dan for for his wit and wisdom. (And wipes.)
Good luck and happy weekend, all!