When I first started thinking about resurrecting CrankyOldGuy,com I began by going back through some of the “hidden gems” from the old site. Most of these are more than 10 years old…and the fact is, they feel dated…just like me.
So, on the new site, just for the fun of it, I am going to post some of the old nuggets, along with an updated view of how I feel about the same topic now. I have to admit, even I was surprised by some of this stuff, and how my emotions had changed…or not.
Here we go– THEN and NOW
(approximately 2004)…I wrote this about being a Father of Five Daughters
Learning to Cope with the DDJD Syndrome
First, let me say that unlike most Asian and Middle East cultures, I do not see having daughters as curse. In fact, if there is God’s hand involved with this (and not just the reality that my “y chromosome” must be almost non-existent) it more than likely has something to do with the fact that he knows that I would have been the “little League Dad from Hell,” and nobody needs that.
But that said, I am of the belief that having daughters is really the best of both worlds. When they are little, they adore you. Dad can do almost no wrong. My memories are full to the brim with visions of tea parties, Cabbage Patch dolls, dress-ups, and little voices squealing with glee as they react to Dad chasing them around the house, playing “monster.” This phase is the “DADDY!” phase ( or the first D) of the DDJD syndrome.
The second phase of “DDJD” is “DAD!” as in “DAD! I can’t wear my blue dress with red socks! Brittany would make fun of me!” This is the stage when they enter grade school and continues up through the first years of Middle School. It is when your authority and “street credibility” begin to erode, as some girl at her school, usually named Brittany, Ashley, or Hailey (the Alpha females in grade school always have names like that) begins to dictate what is cool, who likes whom, and who gets invited to the parties. You start to see the writing on the wall, and there is suddenly something called “girl talk” that is shared only between your daughters, their friends and the mothers. You feel just a little left out, but realize that most of the “girl talk” is a whole bunch of stuff you would rather not know about anyway.
The final phase can be short, extended, or continue almost all through the last of the teen years. It is the “JEEEEEEZE DAD!” It is when you go from being the coolest person in your little girl’s life, to the dumbest, most un-hip moron, ogre, Nazi goon that ever walked the earth. Almost everything you say is met with a smirk or a look of such withering animosity, that you begin to believe that the Feds have you on some sort of “Dorkiest Parent” list that is being disseminated secretly in the dressing rooms at Old Navy and Abercrombie and Fitch.
The first time you are faced with this stage, it tears your heart apart. I remember walking around the block, weeping that “My little girls hates me! What did I do?” By the fifth time, you understand that it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with aliens performing “mind control” on your daughters (most likely through aroma scented ads in Seventeen and Teen Vogue magazines, as well as the low frequencies of the music they play on MTV and the theme songs of Television shows like the O.C. and everything on the WB Network).
Then you figure out that the “aliens” are actually just the ever-present cadre of boys, circling your home and your daughter’s lives, looking for “a little love and affection,” or at least enough to simulate love and affection to the point that they can figure out what the hell that persistent twitching in their loins is all about.
This is when you have to throw any ideas of being a “cool Dad” completely to the wind, and must take on a persona that is equal parts Tony Soprano, Sherlock Holmes and Mike Tyson. You must give off the vibe that you will use any tactic whatsoever to protect your daughters, including cunning, deception and outright intimidation. They should have the fear/knowledge that you not only KNOW EVERYTHING that is going on, no matter how clever they think they are, but that you will not hesitate to “take care of a problem” in ways that are resolute, and not limited to biting of an adversaries ear, just for effect.
The FUN part of this stage is knowing that after a daughter or two, your reputation precedes you, and your job becomes easier. In addition, after a while, whether they admit it or not, your daughters will love and respect you for protecting them from the kind of guys that they know they shouldn’t be dating, and yet to whom seem infinitely attracted.
In the end, after they finally find a guy who is smart, funny, sexy, has a great job, is wonderful with kids, builds houses for the homeless, volunteers at food shelters, loves to hear my stories about my high school and college days, and agrees with all of my political stances. They will thank me. I’m still waiting. But, they WILL thank me!
Oh dear Lord, what a difference ten years can make! I have to append the DDJD Syndrome to a full cycle of, DDJD-ILYD. Because each and every one of them has now gone from self-centered teenagers, to finally appreciating what a wonderful man I really am.
Ahhhh…hahahahahahahahaha… Sorry. I couldn’t type that without cracking up.
The fact is- it never completely changes. I am still an “outsider” when it comes to a lot of the “girl stuff.” And, for that I am truly thankful. But, I cherish the fact that they all seem to enjoy our conversations, punctuated by laughter and a small, dollop of advice here and there, and we are all the better for the experience. I have learned as much as they have, in regards to boundaries, and when an eye-roll may turn into a look of complete and utter frustration with the “old man.”
I have learned that in the end, they will all choose men who are well-suited for them (upping the odds by choosing guys named Ryan in two cases). They will learn that I am an old, tired, and a haggard veteran of being a Dad to five girls for more than 40 years, but continue to love them all to the ends of earth and beyond.
But the best part, is that I have observed a difference between adult male children and adult female children. Yes…the “guys” can do “guy talk” (which as I have found out, is just nervous postering, as they all try to assimilate a modicum of control, all the while knowing that women rule the world). But, the girls can melt your heart with a Father’s Day card, or a Birthday Card, or a random, “I love you, Dad” when we have had a long, protracted call about life, or work, or kids, or sports teams (yes, I have some rabid sports team daughters).
And I know, that just as I have at every graduation party (so…very…many…graduation parties), I will be reduced to tears with the abject pride and unbounding love for their accomplishments along with the depth of our connection to one another.
And…as they are all successful, beautiful, and kind-hearted…I am counting on one of them taking me in when their Mom throws me out for a younger man. Come on. It’s gonna happen… Have you seen my wife?
In the end…raising daughters is a blessing that keeps on giving and giving and giving…
Oh, wait…that is me, giving to the savings account in preparation for Three More Weddings. And giving, and giving, and giving…
Holyfreakinshirt! Could anyone have dreamed that weddings would cost as much as a college education did 20 years ago?
Close your eyes old man…and remember the tea parties. Those were the days…