Girl News: Best Things About Having A Dad
Are we far enough into New New Journalism (which is a school word for “internet”) for me to skip over the obvious and objective background here, which is that most people probably don’t have dads worth getting all “best!!!” about? And, do you know how much easier it would be to shit out a list of the terrorisms that dads perform, from just lazily checking out (there would be literally no reason for Ken Burns, broadcast sports, and domestic beer to exist if not for Shitty Dads and Shitty Dads in Training) to leaving (there’s this term “radical fatherlessness” that gets applied to absent black dads, but it’s not like masses of white/etc guys aren’t doing the exact same thing). So, yeah: Most dads aren’t great, or even around, but the ones who had little girls and really handled it are, like, whoa.
HE’S SO INTO YOU
There is this whole dad-agenda now where new dads want to be so much better fathers than their own dads were. Not hard, right? Between their era and ours, feminism happened and economics did this drunk sideways somersault and then everybody was bi and depressed and wanted to talk about it. What is a guy having kids supposed to do after all that? Love the fucking shit out of them, is what! Even in the 80s, when my dad worked 1,000 hours a week and I called him from the school secretary’s desk to talk about recess, he never told me I was being a nightmare. And things are getting better. Dads now are relaxed(er) about being the secondary breadwinner, the primary parent, the sensidad, and let’s never ever forget how totally amazing and ultimately punk that is. Are you crying right now?
This is a special category. If you have an Old Dad, like I do (70) you will know that this is so great, because they have done so much bizarre, antiquated stuff! My dad had a job feeding soda to a bear at a zoo, remembers the first time he flew on an airplane, and is eternally fine with his “choice” to have a family (because the alternative was two World Wars and the Wall Street Crash, I guess). Old Dads don’t own shorts, kind of yell instead of talk, think their ATM card is haunted, believe everything on the internet and are nicer than they used to be. If you have an Old Dad, you were probably a nerd, but you are lucky. However; while Old Dads got over all of their existential and masculinity crises before you were born, they often think that guys who go to Vegas with their friends are either gay or degenerate.
Last weekend at a baseball game, some chick I don’t know was telling me about her roommate’s dad refusing to buy her a metallic blue clutch because it wasn’t practical, but because I am A Cunt I couldn’t just be like “Oh, that’s interesting” and had to be like “Why is your roommate’s dad buying her a purse? Is she a teenager?” juuust so I could revel in the vicissitude that happens when a girl who usually goes unchallenged has to explain herself. But that, sweetie-peanut, is another whole thing.
The real story is that dads are, indeed, the ones who give you money and buy you things, because a) “allowance” is an easy job to add to the dude half of the division of familial labour; b) HISTORICALLY dads are the ones with the jobs or the jobs that pay more (women still make 76 cents for every man dollar); and c) because dads are bummed out about their lost youth while moms are just like “Ugh, let’s get this over with.” By doling out fun-money dads are sort of participating in a world of entertainment and indiscretion, and are tacitly encouraging you to spend it at the track. D) is just that they’re protective of you while your mom knows the real score about what you’ll do with their money. Plus, dad wallets are packed onto their butts and moms have to go get their bag. There is also a pseudo-sexual “daddy’s girl” phenomenon at work here, but that’s too gnarly to get into.
THE COOL STUFF THEY LIKE
Dads love Neil Young, secret smoking, thick political biographies, talking shit, keeping their clothes from the faraway past and giving them to you like it’s no big deal, paying for dinner for you and your boyfriend, not saying anything when you are obviously stoned and crying, being unexpectedly cool to your friend who needs to crash, picking up pop at the drug store (My dad: “Kath, I got Coke, Diet Coke and Zero Coke!”), yelling at your landlord after he threatens you, vinyl, driving you somewhere, and, in the best circumstances, just hanging out all the time with your #1 bish (mom).
Most dads do not want to know what you do when you’re not at work or school with your ankles crossed politely or in their house watching TV inside the invisible fence of presumed virginity. A few of my friends have those randomly pervy dads – almost always psychiatrists – who will ask you who you’re dating when you go over for dinner (sick!) but generally a dad just wants to focus on the You that has a job and a big future. This is why your mom goes “Well what about this? And what about that?” while your dad goes “That’s great!” when you say that you are being promoted/going to Chicago on a business trip/are doing anything that will keep you inside the invisible fence. (Your mom is like “Pffft, let’s be real please” and she’s right but it’s easier with him.)
Dads just seem to root a little harder for their daughters than their sons, mostly. Unless they’re sexist grossies in which case, I’m sorry.
Oh, dudes aren’t supposed to be unreliable, irresponsible, selfish, negatuded pieces of shit? Oh, word.
YOU FEARING HIM
You should be afraid of your dad, just a little. The best dads are the ones who didn’t “take any guff” which in my universe of extraordinary WASPness includes swearing (unless you are actually dying of stab wounds, you will be ostracised for years for dropping a d-bomb at the dinner table) and being obvious with your drug and alcohol consumption. I mean, do whatever you want, but hide your gin under some socks and put on your hideous whore shoes once you're out the door, jeez. This will be different for every family and hopefully this parental fear (“fear lite”) is rarely real, but being afraid of my dad has gotten me through a degree I didn’t want to finish and onto airplanes I didn’t want to board, and taught me how to lie really, really well.
HIM FEARING YOU
Guess what? Your dad is terrified of you, your unmentionables and your s-life. What is possibly worse than being a cool, sweet dad and then realising that one day your kid will start to bleed uncontrollably and become demanding and irrational in a way that is, lest we forget, as brutal as a fucking murder scene?
First, you are a doll-shaped trophy for them, but then your hair will begin to demonstrate its ethnic origin and your boobins will appear and they will realize that you are so vulnerable to dick as to be unprotectable. This is awkward for all dads. I feel really bad for them. But, still: The wariness between a father and daughter has to be mutual, and has to relieve itself naturally as you grow up and he starts to decay, until the time when his dadness and your daughterness coalesces into a perfect buddyship. The best part!!
Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway
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