manly monday: bennerauto

It’s Monday, and time for another Manly Monday feature! In case you missed it, The Last King of Hollywood wrote a guest post last week to kick things off. I’m pumped to have another guest post ready to go, and am remaining optimistic that I can rope a few more good men into being mommy bloggers for a day. Partly because I know some darn good writers. And partly because it gives me a breather from writing myself. And mostly because they seem to say really nice things about my baby in their posts.

This week’s Manly Monday writer is one of my favorite people ever! He’s the guy keeping Natalie in those super adorable RayGun onesies, the finally-got-Facebook, & just-graduated-law-school, & hopefully-will-move-back-to-Maine-ASAP, & can-dance-circles-around-the-other-boys Benno himself.

Enjoy his sweet words and do your best not to fall in love with him from across the interwebs. He’s busy studying for the bar and probably doesn’t have the time to be your internet boyfriend, as much as you might want him to be. But please do leave him a comment saying hello and begging him to abandon Iowa in favor of his 10-year high school reunion next month.

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(oh, thank-you, internet, for providing yet another opportunity to share this 8th grade gem with the world)

Hi everyone, Ben Arato here. Long-time reader, first-time blogger. For those of you who may not know me I went to high school with Hilary at the world renowned Fort Fairfield Middle/High School. Unlike Hilary, who went out of state for her college career, I stayed in state and went to Bates College. While Hilary couldn’t wait to get back to Maine after college, I found myself more keenly attracted to the exact opposite, and after some mid-twenties dallying wound up moving to Iowa to attend law school. I haven’t regretted it one bit and may even make a half-decent lawyer one day soon.

There’s a saying in law school and among lawyers – “the law is a jealous mistress, and requires a long and constant courtship.” I think they told us that as a last ditch warning to get out while we still could. It’s a remarkably accurate quip, and I myself have already developed a love/hate relationship with the ever-fickle law. Law school was a life changing experience, and I haven’t escaped unscathed – my own mother chided me for “sounding too much like a lawyer” not too long ago. I did my best to take it as a compliment. But I’m ready to defend myself – people really don’t understand the law school experience, and maybe it is impossible to understand without experiencing it firsthand.

Luckily for me, when I needed to take a break from trying to memorize some obscure and long outdated legal concept, there was always BabyMooHoo. I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression “living vicariously through another.” Well, that’s basically what I’ve been doing since the summer of ’09. If I must admit, I’m actually quite obsessed with this little blog. Hilary and I have always kept in contact after we left high school and I always thought that our lives were, on the whole, relatively similar. I always knew I could expect a good story from her that I could easily relate to–something about an apartment, or a landlord, or late night party shenanigans. But now? Well, the similarities are still there, to be sure. But now there is this gigantic new universe that she experiences twenty-four seven, three-sixty-five! My precious law school experience, with its focus on logic and learned treatises, is useless to help me understand! While I read the posts I get a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on; I’m reading about an experience I can’t truly comprehend. I think Hilary is sharing something with us that we all want to have or, if you have it already, always love to re-live. I cannot comprehend the awesome joy, terror, laughter and love of parenthood. Maybe it is impossible to understand without experiencing it firsthand.


I didn’t get to meet Miss Natalie until December 2010, when she was about nine months old. If I’m reading the blog correctly, that means I missed about six straight months of nothing but eating, sleeping, crying, and pooping. Natalie wasn’t up to much else either, so I don’t feel that I really missed out. Basically, Hilary tells me I walked through the door in Rockland just about the time that Natalie’s personality was really starting to take shape. She was on her hands and knees in the dining room, peering up at me as I rounded the corner. When it comes to women, I have found that babies and septuagenarians tend to like me. Probably because neither group can see very well and my giant head is easy for them to recognize. Nevertheless, I was still secretly happy that my oversized visage didn’t induce baby-terror in Natalie (it has been known to happen in less attractive/intelligent babies). She was a curious lass, and split our time together between trying to go places around the house Hilary and Mike didn’t want her to go (like up the stairs) and pulling dishrags in the kitchen onto the ground. I like to pretend she was showing off for me.

I was only able to stay for one night, unfortunately, so I just got a taste of life with Natalie. But thanks to the terrific job that Hilary does with this blog, I never have to feel like I’m missing out–even when I’m all the way out in Iowa.

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Got a man in your life who would love to get in on the baby blog action? Convince him to guest post on your blog (or, heck, mine!) and link up for Manly Mondays.

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4 thoughts on “manly monday: bennerauto

  1. Mr. Arato, nicely done. I hope that not only will you do another post sometime, but that you'll quickly climb the financial ladder of lawyerdom so that you'll have lots of dispensable income to visit Rockland in between your high-profile cases. Or, in a less-pleasant but still-nice-for-us scenario, you'll realize what a hopeless failure you are as an attorney and come back to Maine, covered in palpable shame but ready to hang out at a moment's notice. I'm hoping for the former, but beggars can't be choosers.

  2. Fabulous guest post. Best of luck on the bar and here's hoping you can still make it to the 10 year reunion. H, did you come up with the Just Another Manly Monday idea, because it's brilliant. xoxo

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