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Danny's Fatherhood Reading

Average: 3.4 (10 votes)

So...my wife gave birth to our one and only daughter a couple of weeks ago...

There was a lot of screaming, shouting and crying involved (and that was just me!) but when it was all over and done with, I was the happiest man alive. I now had a son and a daughter, and life was pretty much perfect.

Until, that is, a couple of days later, when the first visitors arrived...

“Ooooh!” said my wife’s aunt. “And aaaah! She’s beautiful! She’s going to be a heartbreaker when she grows up!”

“Ha ha” I said.

“She’ll have boys fighting over her!” added my wife’s uncle.

“Ha ha” I said again, a little nervously.

“Ooh yes!” said the aunt and uncle together. “You won’t be able to keep them away!”

“Wow”, said I firmly, opening the front door and looking at a wristwatch that I wasn’t actually wearing. “Look at the time! Don’t you have somewhere else to be?”

And they left, looking rather puzzled, leaving me to fret and worry about the future...

You see, I hadn’t thought that far ahead. But now I found myself wondering what it would be like the first time my daughter, suddenly a teenager, showed up at the front door with some spiky-haired little monster in tow, with the words “Hello daddy! This is Johnny, my boyfriend” on her lips.

“Boyfriend?! But, pumpkin, I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t speak to boys until you were thirty-five and left home to become a nun?”

Now don’t get me wrong...I’m all for equality between the sexes. I won’t go as far as to say that men and women are the same, because I don’t believe that to be true, and anyone who maintains that it is, is either blind, stupid, living on another planet, or all three.

Men and women are different. Of course they are! Life would be pretty boring if this were not true. The trick is to realize that those differences are brilliant, and should be celebrated rather than mocked.

So… men and women are not the same. But should they be treated in the same way? Definitely. Absolutely. Without the shadow of a doubt. Equal respect, equal opportunities, equal everything. It’s not even an issue. I’ve always taken this for granted.

I have discovered, however, something that surprised me...

From a father’s point of view… to hell with equality.

My son is two years old. When he’s older, and shows up on the doorstep with his first girlfriend, I will probably puff out my chest, clench a manly fist, and exclaim “that’s my boy!” in a proud and possibly mildly suggestive manner. If he shows up with two girls...well...you get the picture.

However...

The day little fourteen-year-old Johnny pops up in my living room, cool attitude and black leather jacket, gelled-back hair and chewing-gum, proclamations of love for my daughter spouting from his mouth...that’s the day I switch from Jekyll to Hyde. Everything will change. Conversation will be replaced by interrogation. What used to be friendly advice will become not-so-friendly warnings. Suggestions will become threats. I will make the Spanish Inquisition seem like a family quiz show.

Sound unfair? Of course it is! But I believe that every girl’s father feels the same way. Little Johnny is just not good enough for my daughter! So he can turn water into wine? That means he’s probably an alcoholic. He’s discovered the cure for cancer? What took him so long? He appears to be charming, thoughtful, generous, kind and generally too good to be true? Then he probably is!

The point, I guess, is this...

I know exactly what Little Johnny is after. How? Well, because, once upon a time, I was a fourteen-year-old gum-chewing, leather-jacket-wearing, hair-gelling, proclamation-spouting little monster too.

But that was then, and this is now. Now, I’m beginning to understand the thoughtful and rather disconcerting looks I used to get from my father-in-law when he thought I wasn’t looking. Now, I understand why he used to insist on picking us up after a night out, rather than letting us find our own way home. Now, I realize why he wanted to know my identity card number as well as my name and address when we were first introduced. Now…

...well...now I’m off to play with my daughter while she’s still young enough to enjoy my company and not old enough to stop talking to me...but remember...

If you are male and between the ages of thirteen and twenty-three...

...I’ve got my eye on you.

Key Words

all over and done with - completely finished

in tow - If you go somewhere with a particular person in tow, they are with you

don’t get me wrong - said when you think someone might not understand what you say, or be upset by it

without the shadow of a doubt - certain that something is true

to take something for granted - to believe something to be the truth without even thinking about it

to get the picture - to understand

too good to be true - so good that it is hard to believe, or seeming very good but not real

to pick someone up (in a car) - to give someone a lift in a car

to stop talking to someone - not to talk to someone because you are unhappy with them

to have your eye on someone - to carefully watch someone

Link: Where are you going now?