One of the few things I like about myself is my rejection of conventional attitudes and cultural projections of what a man should be. I joke a lot that “I’m half a woman” because I’ve heard that all my life and my wife and three daughters playfully mock my lack of traditional manliness.
Recently, all five of us were walking through a big box store and saw a Father’s Day display selling gift ideas for dads. I wanted nothing on the stand. Guns, knives, hunting, fishing, conservative political books, cologne, video games, power tools and various sports memorabilia; I wanted none of it.
I do things around the house like general handyman stuff, cutting the grass and I do watch sports and like superhero things but the only time you’ll see me at a home improvement store is when we absolutely have to fix something.
I’m a reader, writer, comic book collector, vinyl record enthusiast and general intellectual pursuer.
Last week, I was on a construction site for my day job as a project manager for a communications company and my contractor and his crew asked me what I did for hobbies. I wanted to talk about my stand up comedy, book writing, online activities and music and books but something inside me didn’t want to see their eyes roll so I changed the subject and took a fake phone call, like a real man.
The thing I like the most about the four women I live with is despite their mild mockery, they’re totally accepting of who I am. In fact, it wasn’t until eight years ago when we all came together as a family, that I started being the person I wanted to be, despite the unconventional definition.
I’m never been more proud of not feeling guilty about my distance from most of the fellow men, especially those who are fathers. My situation may be non-traditional because the gender roles are, at times, thoroughly reversed, as I’m the sensitive, creative, emo one and the four women I live with like to make me cry.
One thing I’m focusing on this Father’s Day is how confident, smart, interesting and centered my three girls, aged 20, 12 and 11, are and how comfortable they seem to be with their weird dad.
When you find people who “get” you, regardless of your quirks, differences and neuroses, it’s special. My first Father’s day gift was The Bends, Radiohead’s epic 1995 album, on vinyl. That means my girls do actually listen to me, or they want something the day after Father’s Day.
I’ll keep the car gassed and my debit card close.
Here’s my second favorite band of all-time with the title track to one of my favorite records.
Happy Father’s Day.