Dads have come to the rescue throughout history, but who will save the Dads?
I have noticed recently that Dads in the media are portrayed increasingly as dolts, dummies and dimwits. This post is going to attempt to alter the course of that nonsense.
How dare you!
As a single Dad to four teens, I have been the grounding voice of discipline, authority, wisdom and common sense in the lives of my kids. I’m their Rock of Gibraltar. Now, I’m pretty damn far from perfect. But I can cook, I can clean, I’m college educated and I’m the holder of all the highest (gamer) high-scores in the family. I have the best jump shot and make the best omelet in the house. (butter, not oil).
Sit down, dummy. According to TV, women get the job done better.
So why does Hollywood, TV and advertising portray Dads as clueless dolts and dopey dudes who can barely tie their own shoes, know nothing about fashion and can’t boil a pot of water without their wife or girlfriend? Give me a brake! Look, I’m the first to admit, women offer an amazingly diverse perspective on everything from raising kids to shopping to running a household. I cherish every suggestion my girlfriend has offered over the years. But that’s not because I’m some doofus who wouldn’t be able to function without a woman telling him what to do.
I know how to iron, I know how to tie a half-windsor, I know how to bake bread, I’ve made lobster croquettes and bake a mean lemon cake (yes with lemon-shards and ground vanilla). As a classically trained artist, I can paint, build furniture, organize color schemes and cook better than most women I know. So sorry Hollywood, I’m pounding an angry fist on the BS button on your views of men!
Double tuning the carbondifibulometer with a 3” torque ratchet… thingie.
I have played organized softball, volleyball, football and basketball. I bench-press a considerable portion of my 270+ pounds. I do indeed, enjoy watching sports. Pretty manly stuff, right? But lift the hood of an automobile engine, and you might as well be showing me the operating schematics to a rocket propulsion system. In arabic. Backwards. Upside down. In short, I’m lost.
I understand (fundamentally) how internal combustion works. But that’s as far as it goes. I know nothing, repeat, noting about cars. I did not spend time as a grease monkey, huddled under a hood or a cranked ’72 Chevy Bartooga (or whatever) learning why the chronic flan-ger-ator doesn’t syphon off properly. With today’s computer-driven cars and repair systems, this seems completely unnecessary to me.
Dad or bust.
Given the mixed messaging from society and the media, men have an increasingly convoluted picture about what it means to be a man. Or a father. Actually its really quite simple. Mothers give a caring, nurturing and loving perspective to life. And so does a man. A woman can have patience, compassion and emotionally ground. And so does a man. What women CANNOT show a child, is what it means to be man. To be there, to be engaged, to be a stern voice of authority when necessary, to show both daughters and sons what manhood really means. To take care of business, problems and your family.
So, Hollywood, take out your notepads. Anyone can lay down and make babies. The real test of manhood is to stand up and take care of them. Everything else is a careful mix of common sense, fear, intelligence, lede expereince and blind guesswork. We all trip, stumble and make mistakes. Just admit when you’re wrong, apologize for any mistakes and pain you have caused, hold your head up and persevere when you would rather quit. I don’t need a woman to help me with any of that.
So that’s what it means to be a father and to be a man, according to me. Its not easy but its pretty simple, right? That’s because it.
P.S., For the record, my Dad was never around. Which taught me the #1 most important part of being a Dad. Being there.
– Arthur “Arth vader” Milano is a blogger, gamer, advertising and social media copywriter who defies convention. He co-hosts the weekly gaming-for-parent podcast and blog Controller Issues.