Why you should care
Your Twitter feed needs this man. Plus, his kid is totally better-dressed than yours.
”The first day of school outfit is SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS for gays. They’ve had that shit picked out for like, months,” tweeted Frank Lowe this past August.
The truth is, Lowe picked out his four-year-old son’s outfit the morning of Briggs’ first day of school. However, Lowe often blends reality with fiction while tweeting about his life as a self-proclaimed gay-at-home dad.
Anything that seems a little too outrageous probably is. I let the audience decide what they believe.
His hyperbolic humor has captured the attention of LGBT-centric organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, Huffington Post’s Gay Voices and the Advocate. Comedy writers Jenny Mollen and Jenny Johnson, both very popular in the Twittersphere, also follow Lowe. “Got drunk last night and bedazzled all of my son’s Hot Wheels,” reads one of his tweets. Another tells a fake anecdote about Lowe’s son: “Some playground kid said to my son ‘HEY WHITE SHIRT, IT’S YOUR TURN!!’ And without missing a beat, he turned around and said ‘It’s CREAM.’”
“Anything that seems a little too outrageous probably is,” says Lowe. “If it could have happened, or if it’s heartwarming, it is probably true.” When Briggs was getting stitches this past June, Lowe says Briggs corrected the doctor who asked him about his mom and dad. “No, I have two daddies,” proclaimed Briggs. Lowe tweeted this story, alongside funny fake ones. “I don’t distinguish,” says Lowe. “I let the audience decide what they believe. I like the back and forth; I think it is funny.”
Lowe’s route to gay-at-home started when he and his partner of 16 years, Jeremy, moved from Chicago to rural Connecticut in 2008 for Jeremy’s new job. Jeremy and Frank got married and adopted Briggs soon after.
I started making fun of myself. I used to really lay it on thick.
Lowe explains that he and Jeremy did not want to hire a nanny; they wanted to have a parent stay home full time. “One of us was going to do it, and it wasn’t going to be him, because he’s not domestic in any way, shape or form.” It wasn’t an easy decision. Lowe says he went “kicking and screaming” into his new job as a stay-at-home father, because he really loved working.
Lowe had worked in luxury sales for women’s ready-to-wear at Gucci and Louis Vuitton in Chicago. In 2009, he and a business partner started a contemporary fashion line of ladies’ ready-to-wear clothing called Cheairs, which ran from 2009 until 2011.
When he and his business partner stopped working on Cheairs, Lowe asked if he could take over the brand’s Twitter account. “We had like 100 followers, and I said, ‘Oooo, I’m going to take this and make it big.’” He changed the handle to @GayAtHomeDad and began tweeting from it last summer.
“I started making fun of myself. I used to really lay it on thick. I thought it was funny to take the stereotype of what everyone thinks a gay dad would do and make that the tweet. Like, ‘When my son scrapes his knee, he gets a Prada bandaid,’” says Lowe. He applied the same humor when he first moved to his Connecticut town of 26,000 people, the name of which he does not wish to disclose. He says he would make light of being gay to “soften the shock” for neighbors unaccustomed to being around an LGBT couple.
In an early tweet, Lowe wrote, “Just received some devastating mail from his Preschool. (I can’t right now),” with a photo attached that read: “Please wear sneakers with velcro fasteners to school each day.” Another tweet about his son read, “As IF I’m going to ruin his hair using shitty tears-free shampoo. He can cry.”
By winter of 2012, Lowe noticed his follower count was quickly rising. “That was a big moment for me, when I realized I had more followers than the number of people in my town.” He currently has more than 56,000 followers and counting.
Now he says that he has toned down the self-deprecating jokes a little. “My tweets are kind of like my inner thoughts. Stuff I would never say out loud, but it’s really funny to put into Twitter.” His new tweets sometimes have nothing to do with being a gay-at-home dad. He recently live-tweeted the VMAs. “The only thing that could top Miley Cyrus is if they bust Amanda Bynes out in a straight jacket [sic] and let her free to attack Drake. #MTVVMAs,” he wrote, receiving 3,756 retweets and 1,979 favorites on Twitter.
Lowe’s account is starting to get noticed outside the Twittersphere. He just signed with an agent and is looking into screenwriting opportunities. He says that he’s now really happy staying at home with Briggs, pointing out that doing so has led him to new career possibilities with his writing. “What I’m doing is kind of important in its own right,” says Lowe, stressing he wants to balance his gay-father humor with the fact that he’s just another parent raising a child.
Despite his growing popularity, Lowe says he’s not concerned about exposing his son to the public. “I don’t worry, simply because of where we live. Maybe I would if we lived in New York City. When he gets to a certain age, he can tell me if he doesn’t want to be photographed. I’m not about to give him his own reality show. I just want to show the public we’re real. He is a beautiful kid who does real kid stuff. He’s a little dude. That’s important, I think, to show people we’re parents, we’re gay, but we have the same problems as other parents do.”
Lowe said his husband sometimes rolls his eyes at his tweeting, but he’s supportive. “He knows it’s important to me, and he’s proud of my success.” In fact, Lowe says Jeremy has some “spillover” followers on his personal Instagram, who find him through Frank’s account. “His are the unglossed, real-life snapshots. Mine are kind of staged; his are behind-the-scenes.” Lowe is in charge of teaching Briggs how to “smize” for the camera and pose.
The family is looking to adopt another baby next year. “Once we adopt, I’d like to make a baby guide, and as the baby grows up, I can take notes so it is in the moment. Something that’s a fun read for moms or gay parents, with my approach to parenting or babies.” Lowe said he would make sure to splash “Not a doctor” stickers all over the book to make sure nobody took the advice literally.
“I take parenting seriously, but I don’t take many other things seriously,” says Lowe.
Exclusively for OZY, here is Lowe’s list of the 10 things gay-at-home dads should have with them at all times, in no particular order.
10 Things Every Gay-at-Home Dad Needs in His Man Bag*
By Frank Lowe
The bag itself needs to be insane — none of that fake Canal Street stuff. The real deal. Mine personally never leaves the passenger seat (unless I’m in NYC or LA), but when my kid was an infant, I carried it everywhere. I change my bag with the seasons — four times a year. Currently I’m in my summer mode, which is a straw Gucci number.
- An iPad just for the kiddo. It needs to be full to the hilt with Disney/Pixar movies and have several brainless games. Ideal for trips to the grocery store — plug them in and say “bye.”
- Purell hand gel. I touch so many disgusting surfaces, I can go through a bottle in two days flat.
- Two plane-sized bottles of Grey Goose vodka. For “first aid.”
- At least four pairs of designer shades. Most activities with your kid occur outside, and that’s when pictures are going to be taken, so vary it up to keep yourself looking so, so fresh.
- A Tide “to go” pen. Seriously, the best invention ever. The amount of red wine spilled at play dates is staggering.
- Boscia green tea blotting linens. You’re always on the go, and using these give you a perfect, “just got a facial” appearance.
- A super-gay enormous keychain with a clip. You never want to lose your keys, so the bigger the better. The clip attaches to your bag’s zipper.
- A duplicate of their favorite toy. I have a Lightning McQueen with me at all points in time, just for emergencies. Also, you can threaten to throw it away if they work your last nerve in public.
- A small bottle of fragrance. After sitting outside on a playground all day, nothing says sexy like smelling unexpectedly amazing.
- An iPhone. At times this can be your only escape, or a perfect way to ignore your family when they’re acting like assholes.
*Don’t take a word I say seriously.
This OZY encore was originally published Oct. 11, 2013.