His wife, Jay, signed up for Frocktober. Well, I roped her into it. It’s a simple way to make a small difference for ovarian cancer research and awareness. With our annual attempt at 31 dress selfies, I rounded up a few friends as usual and we laid our plans to spam away on our Facebook page.
The week before Frocktober began, Jay tore a hamstring playing a rather optimistic game of netball, her ‘first game in 20 years and 30 kilos’. (Man, this chick is funny.) Well, she was down for the count.
Hubby Graeme stepped up. He did the normal dad/husband things. Vacuumed the floor, made sure the kids got to where they needed to be, rubbed his wife’s lower back. (Rumour has it, he even only pulled the famous ‘well I’m here already rubbing your lower back anyway’ card once or twice.)
Basically, he manned up and did what any decent bloke would do when they’re needed.
So when he came home after a week to find Jay in muscle relaxant-induced tears after she’d fallen asleep while working on her computer, he said, “Honey. Tell me what I can do to help.”
“Well,” she said (brightening significantly, she tells me),
“There is… something.”
(Graeme’s first to tell you he is hardly on social media. It’s not an easy task for him to lighten the workload of a digital copywriter.)
‘So then she said, “I’ve signed up to do Frocktober,”’ he smiles, ‘and I can’t get out of bed. But I can’t let the team down. Is there any chance you could do tonight’s frocking up for me?’
“There was a significant pause,” laughs Jay. “It’s not often he says no to anything we need him to do. But he knew I’d plaster him all over social media, so he took a moment to agree.”
‘But, like with every time I’ve needed him, he came to the party.’ (And, as it turns out, he REALLY got into it.)
So began a parade of Graeme in frocks raising money for the Frocktober campaign, and even after Jay was back on her feet the family felt he should remain the star. The other kids have gotten in on the action – daughter Ella styled and directed a few shots of them together and 16 year old Jackson donned his sisters favourite 60s inspired tunic for a BMX shoot last week.
“Why WOULDN’T I wear a dress to raise money?” asks Jackson. “It’s just a piece of material, I raised $50 for the fundraising in 10 minutes.”
Mr Crow has steered clear of any whiff of camp or making fun – he’s simply a guy doing the best he can. In a dress. Mr Crow feels his frock shots encourage other men to step up and help out – and to support their women in whatever they need. And while the family have virtually hit their target of $300, they’re more satisfied that the photos have been shared widely and are raising awareness for this insidious disease.
When considering the awareness a dude in a dress can bring, it was a no brainer for Mr Crow. Early detection to improve the mortality rate, management and long-term survival of women is critical. And, as he put so well… ‘If your partner or wife got sick, wearing a dress would be the least of your problems.’
Ovarian cancer has been dubbed the “silent killer”. Symptoms can feel like a bad period and are generally vague. It strikes without warning and therefore is often diagnosed in late stages. Current research shows that only around 20 percent of women will survive beyond the first 5 years after diagnosis.
Jay told me, ‘No dad likes the thought of losing the mother of his children. So while I’m out of action… If Graeme can keep raising money to help early detection, by simply raiding my wardrobe for a cute little off the shoulder number, why wouldn’t he?’
‘He’s the Dad who stayed home with our youngest son Hughie when I had him, because I earned more than him and it made the most sense,’ she tells me. ‘He drove the baby up and down the hill three times a day so I could breastfeed.’
‘I rolled my eyes a lot about how much everyone went on with what a great Dad he was, but they are right. He’s a mad netball Dad. He’s the bloke who will coach basketball again because no one else has put up their hand this year, he draws no lines in the sand about what dads are “supposed” to do.’
‘If you need him, he’s in. There’s nothing unmanly about him in a dress. In fact, is there anything sexier than having your husband do what needs to be done? If something serious did happen to me, I could rely on him to be the parent the kids need him to be. He’s the best Dad and bloke I know.’
Thanks to Jay and Graeme for your awesome story. See more pics at The Frockin’ Rollers.