A father imagines his daughter's future boyfriends.
My oldest daughter, who's 12, is just beginning to show an interest in boys and since it's every man's dream to have his little princess marry a guy just like her father, I'm trying to craft a personal ad to attract the ideal candidate.
Though my daughter's dating debut is 10 years down the line (at least), I find that I have a problem: I am horrified by the man I envision her with.
Because, in reality, who the heck would date me? Then again, the kid could do worse...
I often wonder what kind of guys are going to come-a-calling to our house. While I'm not sure I'd really want a mirror image of myself on the doorstep, I'd like to think that my involvement in my daughters' creation and formation will create loving women who will be able to differentiate between the nice guys and the jerks.
Like most fathers, I have a recurring nightmare that my daughter's prom date will pick her up in a late-model convertible with a Confederate flag painted on the hood, the wind having its way with his raging bleached-blond mullet as he rounds the corner of our cul-de-sac.
He'll ring the bell, offer me a SKOAL pack from a tin that makes a permanent round impression in the back pocket of his powdered blue tuxedo, and reassure me of his love for my child by hiking up his pant leg and showing me a tattoo of my kid's name on his calf.
John Mayer is right about a couple things; namely, having dated Jennifer Aniston and also when he sings the lines "fathers be good to your daughters/daughters will love like you do/girls become lovers that turn into mothers" in his hit "Daughters."
Long before I first heard that song, I was completely present to the fact that I was going to be the blueprint for every relationship my girls would have with the opposite sex.
Parental influences definitely played out when my wife married me, and I studied the parallels between our marriage and the relationship with my wife and her father carefully over the years. Though I was not a brilliant Jewish oncologist who compulsively cheated the house at a poker table in the bowels of Caesar's casino, there were undeniable similarities: our love for puns, waking up in Manhattan, reading the Sunday New York Times, and an intense devotion to and respect for the woman I married.
I would like to think my girls have learned a lot about relationships from watching me and my wife. They have hopefully seen that being married to your best friend keeps your hair from going prematurely grey, using an "inside voice" at all times gets you a lot further than yelling, and that winning an argument at all costs rarely feels good the next morning.
They've probably figured out by now that if two college sweethearts invest the energy into keeping one another intellectually, emotionally, and sexually stimulated, it is possible to build a nurturing household that will support loving human beings two decades later.
I'm not so vain as to think that anyone other than my wife would find my aura hot, but I do know that my daughters could do a lot worse than me in the boyfriend department. And hey, if that boyfriend happens to be a pudgy man-child that wears a vintage KISS T-shirt when he picks up my little girl, I will look into the heavens and wink at my maker.