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Jun 18

Who’s my daddy?

Posted on Friday, June 18, 2010 in Men, Parenting, Relationships

I’m always late sending my dad a Father’s Day card; now I’m late writing a Father’s Day post. So here’s a reprint of a column I wrote a few years ago, with a tweak or two. It’s Friday, I’m tired, overworked and, yeah, lazy. But, here’s to all those dads out there!

Last week was a pretty tough week for me.

I try to be an open-minded, non-judgmental woman. I try to get past the stereotypes.

But sometimes, the world keeps shoving them in my face.

As I stood before the multitude of Father’s Day
cards, I had to ask myself, who’s my daddy?         

My dad doesn’t golf.

My dad doesn’t fish.

My dad doesn’t love baseball, football or soccer.

My dad doesn’t drink beer.

My dad doesn’t have a hammock, nor has he ever expressed a desire to snore in one.

My dad’s best friend is neither the TV nor the remote.

My dad doesn’t wear ties anymore, and even when he did, he didn’t define himself by them or what they stood for.

My dad has never smoked a pipe or a cigar.

My dad isn’t a “bank.”

My dad doesn’t get all freaky-happy over hammers and power saws.

My dad has done his share of yard work, but only because he had to (gardeners? No one I knew hired gardeners back then!)

My dad doesn’t barbecue. And even in the day when he did, he wasn’t the “Come and Get It!” apron-wearing barbecuer, if you know what I mean.

Who were all these men in the cards? And worse, what’s wrong with my dad?

Well, nothing’s wrong with my dad, and I’m so thankful that he’s not like any of the male stereotypes a la Hallmark and Carlton and American Greetings. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with them; there are lots of men who do love to golf, fish and light up a stogie.

Still, I find it interesting that in this “enlightened” society, we still fall back into old versions of male/female roles, and some of the male stereotypes — the incompetent, TV/sports-obsessed, jerky frat-boy man — are particularly bothersome.

Not to say that there aren’t men out there like that …

True, my dad has his failings as a husband and a father. Who among us doesn’t have failings?

But where are the cards that celebrate men who are active and engaged in more than just work and sports? Or even if it is sports, what about the mountain-biking, century-riding, skateboarding, surfing, kite-sailing, triathlon dads? Where are the cards celebrating dads who cook, clean and care for their kids? (Hello, SAHDs!) Where’s the card for my dad —  a poetry-reciting, talk radio-listening, advice-giving, politics-obsessed dad?

I ended up getting my dad an amusing New Yorker cartoon card in which I wrote my own message. And I mailed it to him …. late.

Good thing there isn’t a Daughter’s Day!

Do stereotypes about fathers piss you off, too?

Jun 16

Now who’s being shallow?

Posted on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 in dating, Honesty, Men, Relationships, Self image, Sex/sexuality, Singles, Women

I was minding my own business, reading my book and sipping on my latte when I became aware of the middle-aged guys at the table next to me.

They were grumbling about women.

It was about the usually suspects — how women only care about how much a guy makes, and their cars, and their stuff, and their hair
(like, if they have some).     

“Women are shallow, my friends, what can I say?” one said.

I looked up from my book to see who had said that — it was the saggy-bellied, balding one, ‘natch — just as the three of their heads
jerked to stare at a yummy mummy blonde who’d just walked in with two adorable toe-heads hanging all over her.

Yes, well, as Dennis Miller says, “There’s nothing wrong with being shallow as long
as you’re insightful about it.” Not much evidence of that at my local coffee shop.

“R women shallower than men?” I texted Sara.

“No.”

“Y do u say that?”

It’s harder for fat gals to have sex than fat guys.”

“Doh, & ur point is …”

“We’ll  f–k a fattie but a fattie won’t f–k us. U tell me whoz shallow!”

OK, she has a point. But I actually think both sexes are pretty shallow — for different reasons. Women are still drawn the idea of a prince who’ll carry us to his castle where we’ll live happily ever after, and men are still drawn to Playboy bunnies. But depending on what studies you want to believe, women are shallower than men.

Over things like money and material things. Maybe height.

But, not about weight, evidently (even though most princes in fairy tales and Disney movies look pretty damn buff to me!)

Which makes it seem like we gals are pretty much looking at the whole package, not just all the little — or, in this case, big — details. You can be fat and we’ll still screw you! Well, not me; others.

How lucky is that?

But if you’re a fat woman, forget it. Most men want a hottie — hottie meaning beauty plus brains for some, and just beauty for others. Rarely are “hottie” and “fattie” happily together in the same sentence.

Is one shallowness better or worse than the other?

Maybe if we’re rejecting someone over something he or she can’t control. Can’t control height and baldness, but we sure can control a lot of other stuff. Income? Sure. Beauty? Harder, but there are products … and things like self-esteem and confidence. Weight? Well, doh.

Still, I don’t think it’s shallow if we reject people who aren’t attractive to us, no matter what the reason — with the understanding that narrow definitions of attractiveness limits your pool. And if you’re going to get all tweaked about being rejected for things you can change, change or get over it!

  • Who’s shallower, men or women?
  • Is it worse to reject someone over something he/she can’t control?


Photo © Abdelhamid Moumni – Fotolia.com

Jun 14

Dating, with cancer

Posted on Monday, June 14, 2010 in dating, Happiness, Honesty, love, Relationships, Singles

I felt my phone vibrate, looked at the caller ID  and although I was in the middle of the checkout line at Trader Joe’s, I answered. The call was that important.

“So, how was Date Three?” I asked Sara, ignoring the cashier’s irritated look.

“A lot more than I bargained for.”

“Oh, you slut you,” I said, as quietly as I could.

“No, no. No sex.”

“No sex?”

This time everyone in line heard. Thankfully, my food was bagged and paid for, and I was ready to head out the door.

“No, and there won’t be. The guy’s got cancer.”    

“Oh God! Really?”

“Yep. I’m so bummed, because of all the guys I’ve met online, he’s the real deal. I like him.”

“So, why not date him?”

“Kat, he’s going to die.”

“I hate to break it to you, sweetie, but so are
you. And me. And everyone else we know. That’s what people do — we’re born, we live, we die.”

“Yeah, but he’s going to go before us.

“How do you know that?”

“Because the doc told him he only has a few years.”

“And, do you know when you’re going to die?”

“I …”

The phone was quiet … for a long time.

Not that I wanted to get all “I’m right” in her face, but, well, aren’t I?

I can understand Sara’s hesitation, anyone’s hesitation, to risk falling in love with someone who’s got an expiration date. But we do that all the time — we just don’t think about it. That’s the difference.

We have no idea when any of us are going to pop off, and yet every day we engage in really risky behavior. It’s called life. We drive (that kills off about 40,000 of us a year), go to the bathroom (another 20,000), and eat crappy food and too much of it (bye-bye 280,000, thanks to obesity-related issues). And then there’s all the self-destructive stuff — unsafe sex, booze binges, drug ODs — and pure bum luck — like H1N1 and choking while chowing down BBQ buffalo wings.

Is falling in love with someone who has cancer or another biggie disease all that different than falling in love with someone who’s overweight or drinks too much or smokes? You just know at some point there’s going to be hell to pay for that.

If we knew exactly when we were going to die, I’m guessing we’d stop how we’re living immediately and do a priority mash-up. We’ve all heard people who’ve faced life-threatening challenges talk about how it’s changed everything; people matter more than stuff, each day is precious. Embrace it and them, because we don’t know when it will all slip away. Live in the moment — it’s all we really have.

That’s exactly who I’ve been looking for!

Like Depot Dad has written about his skin cancer:

I am totally excited about my new-found respect for brute force reality, my insistence on complete honesty, my uncompromising fearlessness and my reawakened hunger for living. Those seem like pretty good credentials for a meaningful relationship.

He’s no longer facing a known expiration date, thanks to an experimental drug that’s working. But the stigma about cancer remains, and it scares women away.

Maybe it isn’t the disease itself but all that goes along with it — the doctor visits, the meds, the health issues that dominate each day. Yet, when our partner gets sick, we deal. In sickness and in health, yada, yada, yada.

My friend Lisa who’s marrying a man with multiple sclerosis says this — we’re all going to age, our beauty will fade, our bodies slow down, our minds sputter and falter anyway. She figures at least she sort of knows what she’s getting into.

Unlike the rest of us. We fall in love and then — anything can happen. And, sometimes they’re bad things.

Maybe choosing a few years of bliss with someone who feels like life — and love — is a gift to be embraced daily is better than being with someone who doesn’t appreciate all that life offers, and spends time on useless BS.

Would you date someone with a known expiration date?