My father in law likes to recall his surprise when he first started bring his first child, my future wife, out in public. "All of a sudden, women started noticing me and talking to me!"
All new parents notice this change. I suspect that dads in particular are struck by it because they are less accustomed to uninitiated attention from strangers.
I have been told by many women that, quote, "There just is something about seeing dads with their little kids.... sigh..."
For me, it has been mostly women who suddently feel the need to engage me when I have a child in tow when they otherwise would not even make eye contact. But it's not exclusively women. Men also want to stop and talk. This almost always happens at the grocery store.
I had the retired priest who stopped me in the bread aisle to inquire all about my kids and wife, tell a gentle sexist joke, give marriage advice and then casually bless my youngest daughter. As an atheist, I was surprised and didn't know what to make of the blessing.
Today, another older man stopped me in the parking lot of the grocery store when I had my two daughters in tow.
"Looks like you have two special helpers!"
"Yes. They're usually pretty helpful."
"It's a blessing to have two beautiful girls. They are truly special."
"Yes, they are."
He waved me closer.
"When my second child was born, the doctor said 'I have good news.' I asked, 'Is it a boy?' He said, 'No, you have a daughter!' And he was right, I couldn't have been happier with my two girls."
"That's wonderful. Girls are pretty special."
"Yes, they are. Don't forget how blessed you are."
"I try not to. Thanks."
Often, I'm annoyed by the attention. But the interactions are always positive. I should not take it for granted. In a couple of years, I'll be invisible again.
There's an irony here that the best "chick magnet" is something you usually don't have when you're single.
Although, those in need can always borrow a cute baby girl: