SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Citing "something vaguely effeminate" about his eight-month-old son Michael, first-time father Joe Oebrick, 32, reported Tuesday that he suspects the infant may be a homosexual.
"I love my son," Oebrick said. "But, you understand, I'm worried, too."
Among the many "small signs" that suggest that his son may be gay, Oebrick cited a home video in which the toddler crawls across the living-room carpet of the family's suburban Scottsdale home, wiggling his hips from side to side.
"I don't think it's normal for a baby to move like that," said Oebrick, wincing as the infant paused and flapped an arm in the air. "Don't you think that's a little strange?"
According to Oebrick, Michael has an excessive fondness for bright colors and "things that sparkle."
"Sequins, glitter, feathers," said the recent father, listing some of the things that Michael likes. "And he really likes flowers."
According to Oebrick, Michael is fussy during meals and picky about his clothes. When he hurts himself, he "cries like a baby." Additionally, the toddler has a "very strong attraction" to a stuffed lion with a rainbow-striped mane, an apparent preference for bottle-feeding over breastfeeding, and an evident love for bouncing up and down in his jumper device "like some guy at a club."
New to parenting, Oebrick said he is "plagued" by demanding responsibilities, unexpected expenses, and "a million tiny things" that indicate that his infant son might be a homosexual.
Oebrick said he doubts that strangers can even tell that Michael is a boy when they first meet him, but he acknowledged that this is not his biggest concern. According to the recent father, his most urgent concern is the confused baby's constant need to suck on a pacifier.
"That can't be right. Can it?" Oebrick said.
Oebrick said he first began to worry about Michael's sexual orientation when the boy was two months old.
"He would giggle constantly," Oebrick said. "And he had a very weak handshake."
Oebrick recalled the first time he saw his newborn child smile.
"Obviously, I was thrilled," Oebrick said. "But the thing is, he kept on smiling. He'd smile through breakfast, he'd smile in his car seat, he'd smile at strangers. It was excessive. It was around then I started to think, 'What if Michael can't help himself?'"
According to Oebrick, there were several months during which the infant's head would wobble if it wasn't supported by an adult.
"He was always swinging his head around," Oebrick said. "Our pediatrician told me it was normal, but it seemed pretty... well, gay."
Oebrick's worries were renewed last month during a Memorial Day cookout, when Michael "seemed too interested in my buddies," staring at them for long intervals.
"My friend Ben was bouncing Michael on his knee, and he was giggling and drooling like crazy," Oebrick said. "That didn't bother me so much, but when Ben put him down, Michael started crawling after every other guy at the party, giggling and grabbing at their pants legs like crazy."
"It was like he was the belle of the ball," Oebrick said. "When Rob played peek-a-boo with him, he got so excited he actually wet his pants."
Oebrick repeatedly said that, no matter what his son's sexual orientation, he refuses to be a "distant father."
"My dad was rarely around," Oebrick said. "He was always either working or drinking with his buddies, and that left my mom to raise me and my sisters. It won't be like that for Michael. He'll have a strong male role model. It looks like he's really gonna need it."