Monday, June 9, 2008

Lucky To Be A Daddy's Girl

Happy Father's Day!

© 2008 Leighann Lord

Much ado is often made about sons needing their fathers, but quiet as it's kept, daughters need them too. Never has this been more evident then when watching the disturbingly popular "Flavor of Love." I'm not an overly religious woman, but an episode of this show moves me to quote Archie Bunker, "Take me now, Lord! Take me now!" This is not the flavor of love, but the lack thereof. Perhaps if we had more Daddy's who paid attention than Father's who just paid support, these type of shows wouldn't exist at all. Is this putting a lot of pressure on men? Yes, but no more than they can handle.

I learned a lot of cool things from my Dad. He taught how to draw a perfect circle, catch a ball, change a tire and play cards: go fish, war, solitaire, black jack, poker, gin rummy and I play a mean game of spades; trump tight or not. As my Dad says, "Anybody can play a good hand; the skill is to play a bad hand well." As the former founder and president of my college spades club, I spent many a happy afternoon in the student center forcing squeeze plays, pulling spades, and when necessary bidding blinds to bring me back from the brink.

Despite an affinity for cards my Dad taught me not to bet. If Las Vegas and Atlantic City depended on me they'd be broke. It's not an issue of morality, but common sense: There's no such thing as a sure thing. To further cement the lesson my Dad would trick me into betting.

He’d say, "You bid a six with that hand? I bet you get stuck."

I'd say, "Okay, you're on."

And then he'd say, "Okay, you're grounded. I told you not to bet."

Lesson learned: the house always wins.

My Dad spoiled me. As my husband often says to him, "Sir, you've made my job very hard." My Dad says nothing, but the twiggle in his mustache says, "Mission accomplished." I love my husband, but I can honestly say I've always dated good guys. My Dad is a good man so I guess, subconsciously, that's what I looked for. I believe this has saved me a great deal of superfluous drama and heart ache. Almost to a man I've been treated with love and respect. Players, abusers and psychos need not apply.

Between the ages of 15 and 21 my relationship with my Dad was not always so "Father Knows Best." How could it be? We were at cross purposes. I wanted to date boys and he wanted to lock me in the house. Reflecting on the exploits of their youth, I doubt many fathers are comfortable with the idea of their daughters dating. But unable to fight the inevitable, my Dad made sure he gave me the best advice he could. Because of him, I was going Dutch long before it was fashionable.

"Don't let a boy pay for dates," he said. "Eventually he's gonna want to be paid back and what he wants, you can't afford."

"It's not what a man can do for you in bed; it's what he can do for you when he gets out."

"While you're looking for 'Mr. Perfect,' what are YOU bringing to the table?"

"Love is not ownership."

"Do or not do. There is no try."
Oh wait, that was Yoda.

A friend once told me that she received similar pearls of wisdom from her grandfather. Multi-generational father figures are also important to a young woman's development. He, however, put things a little more bluntly: "You play pussy, you get fucked." Whoomp, there it is.

Is having a great Dad the reason I have no desire to be a contestant in reality shows that are little more than televised prostitution? Who knows? It could be any one of a combination of things: right place, right time, right parents, right mind. Maybe I'm just lucky I have the best Dad in the whole world. Now you might be reading this and thinking "you've" got the best Dad in the whole world. And you're right. You do. I wish we all did, and then maybe more people would know real love doesn't come in the flavor of exploitation.

Thank you for reading The Urban Erma.

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