In the spirit of family I figured I would discuss one of the biggest pet peeves I have with nuclear family relationships: touchy/feely father-daughter relationships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a daddy’s girl. But let me paint a picture of how we should love in the Berken household:
When I was seven, I got caught wailing on my four-year old brother for doing something like climbing the stairs faster than me. I was caught by my dad. All I remember is being picked up by one ankle and given the spanking of a lifetime. Probably a good think my subconscious is blurred. After freeing myself from Dad’s clutches, I threw my sobbing body all around my room for a solid hour before meandering back downstairs where my dad was watching football with our neighbor. I stood in the doorway of the living room for a while, sniveling and whimpering until my dad beckoned me over. He was sitting on our love seat that had pictures of wagon wheels on it smoking a cigarette and drinking a bottle of Budweiser. I mosied over and sat next to him, not on his lap, but next to him like a passenger on a train. He then handed me his Marlboro Red and said, “Take a puff.” My “puff” resulted in several dramatic gasps for oxygen while Dad shot looks over his shoulder and said “Shh, don’t tell your mom.”
That’s affection, Berken-style.
This could be why father-daughter relationships baffle me. I saw a probably fourteen-year old girl fawning all over her dad at my job. She was cooing “daddy,” hugging, kissing on the cheek, and other behaviors that caused my intestinal tract to seize. But that’s not even the worst. When I was in high school, I used to visit a friend who, every time we came within 30 feet of “daddy” she would curl up in his lap like a Chihuahua while he whispered baby-talk in her ear.
And that’s not even the creme de la creme of atrocities. I have a friend I met in COLLEGE (oh you know who you are) who, when she got home from HIGH SCHOOL daddy-o would CLIP HER TOENAILS for her. CLIPPED. HER. TOENAILS. There are no words.
My dad was DEFINITELY NOT one of those fathers who wore #1 Dad t-shirts, mugs, keychains, money clips, etc. Furthermore, if there’s a father-daughter dance at wedding we are at, we laugh, he says “How about daddy buys you a drink?” and we head to the bar to chat. Sometimes I think I should call him Chief or Sarge instead of “Dad”, but he does sneak me hugs and tells me he loves me every time he sees me when no one is looking so that puts us on a different playing field than the military.
I guess, I will never know where the line was blurred with my demented friends. But, my pops and I know we love each other, and all I know is if I curled up in his lap the earth would fall off its axis.