It’s Fathers Day today. I’m not spending the day with my dad as he lives abroad, so instead I spent a good while thinking about him and what I’ve learnt from daddy dearest.
Like most father- daughter relationships, I’ve experienced the protectiveness, the ‘you’re so unfair’ arguments after being forbidden to stay out after a certain time, and also the embarassing boyfriend conversations.
So after growing out of my teenage years a good six years ago (ahh), I realised how our relationship has blossomed, ironically since he has lived thousands of miles away from me we’ve become closer than ever.
I wanted to share what has been etched into my memory and advice I would hope to pass onto my own eventual offspring.
Firstly the importance of being open minded and not small minded has been key to my upbringing. This has varied from my brother and I always being taken to the most random restaurants and countries, trying new foods, if we don’t like it then at least we’ve tried it. I’m a stubborn person, so is my dad, so we’ve clashed on many things and I would be the first to say I don’t want to do something out of spite, knowing my dad wanted the opposite reaction. Let’s put that down to a phase. The ‘ewwww mum said sushi is raw fish and makes you sick’ after he tried for ages to get me to try a tiny bit. Well dad, I bloody wish I listened to you sooner, sashimi has changed my life.
Seeing as this is a relationship based blog, the thing that stayed in my memory since my dad told me when I first started at secondary school, yet probably totally ignored up until I was in my late teens was: Never. Chase. Boys. Cliche I know, but so, so true. We girls are all guilty of doing it, but truth is, if a guy wants you badly enough, he will have you. However, there is a flaw in this theory..
It’s usually the guys who want you that are the boring ones, or too keen and needy..us girls like the chase. It’s a catch 22 situation, we’re never happy. We like the initial chase, then if they like us back it’s a buzz. We’ve got them but it quickly gets boring. Prime example: I really liked a guy, when I had an opportune moment I made the first move and got the reaction I wanted. We started seeing eachother, I even sold him into my dad ‘he went to private school dad, he’s got a degree!’ (something none of my previous conquests had, and my dad hated) it got him quite excited. Then it all turned keeno too quickly. Long story short, I didn’t want a relationship and he was a no sex before marriage kinda guy. For me it turned well and truly into the friend zone while he wanted 2.4 children.
Best case scenario? a girl really, really, really likes a guy, girl holds out and keeps her guard up, he likes girl, girl is very happy about this but plays it cool, he ups his game, but plays it cool while taking control and proves he likes girlas much as girl likes him. Happily ever after..Now this does not happen often, at all, so taking my dad’s advice to not chase is the only way of filtering out the arrogant bastards who know/think they’re worthy of our time and effort (do they not realise how long it takes to ‘prepare’ for a date?!) the ones who know we’ll make the effort yet if something comes up with their mates that they ‘have to attend’ and can drop you like it’s telling your nan you can’t make Sunday dinner, then no, they’re not worth the chase. Yet it’s those ones that we hold out for and go back to.
My dad also told me this is what happens.. ‘when you’re older you’ll realise’ it’s not the glorified hunks that are the ones who are loyal and faithful. They are glorified hunks for a reason, to attract modelesque women, but that’s never enough. They may have the most beautiful idealistic woman on their arm, but a blonder or more brunette version will stroll past and he’ll look over his shoulder.
I’m not saying a guy who looks after himself is a love rat (not in my exes case anyway) and all the ugly guys are all loyal and amazing counterparts to a relationship purely because they can’t attract other women; I’m saying the ones who want you and no one else, will work for it rather than knowing what they can get on a plate.
My dad once said to me I deserve to be with someone who would put me on a pedestal, I disagree, that’s no fun. But that’s something all dads want to see for their little girls I guess. For me it’s about never having to rely on a man for any kind of security apart from the protective kind. If you can stand on your own two feet then you will never have a problem if times are tough. That’s just me though and many will like the fact they can ask their partners for their credit card to buy a cute dress for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I would never be ungrateful for a dress (preferably a Victoria Beckham LBD), but there’s a difference to being handed something without thought, and being bought a gift.
There are some things I don’t agree with my dad on, he’s quite old fashioned in some ways but I know he has become more relaxed since having a new woman in his life. I remember giving him advice on how women work when he was first courting his now fiance- I do believe I taught him a fair few things about playing hard to get in order to keep her on her toes. He’s a hopeless romantic is my dad, and I know that’s ultimately what I want in a man, to just randomly receive flowers for absolutely no reason at all (as opposed to either associated guilt or forced romance i.e Valentines Day, no thanks) or be whisked away for a weekend. He’s got it right, now.
Up until now, every relationship I’ve been in has been me taking the lead, me organising any trip/holiday/dinner/bill paying, I have never had a proactive boyfriend because I wanted to mould them into what I wanted, I thought I could change my past relationships into my idea of perfection, rather than letting it be or meeting someone who was naturally in synch with myself, I took the people whom I just thought were ‘ok’ for me, and attempted to be the world’s perfect girlfriend, avoiding arguments like the plague, not minding when I get a text on a Wednesday morning letting me know they went out the night before and got hammered. Being too laid back maybe.
What I hate about getting into relationships is the associaton of just that. Sacking your mates off to see your boyfriend/girlfriend= melt, bore, changed. If you’re not in a relationship but just ‘seeing’ someone it’s far more acceptable to ditch after-work drinks for a date, for the possibility of getting your leg over you’re a ‘lad’ (if you’re a guy, obvs) and snapping a pic of her bra on the floor to post in your whatsapp group is what, just the done thing these days isn’t it? Who cares if it’s your missus’ bra on the floor, booooring.
It’s sad that not everyone can just be friends without having that segregation of ‘oh I’ve got to get home early else he’ll just text me all night’. This is why I’m well and truly taking on the next bit of advice from father: Wait. There is no rush, there’s no point in forcing it. Yes, this blog was intended to record my learnings and experiences from forced dates with the likes of Tinder being a catalyst, and to be fair it’s been a nice release, to write again, but am I (personally) really desperate to find my Mr Right that I’m proactively seeking them through a mobile phone app which just shows me five photos of potential eligible bachelors? Me, personally, no. It’s all for the banter, for the stories, for the ‘when I was in my 20’s I did this, and that, and oh that was hilarious’ because why not?
When it comes to eventually settling down, who knows. Whatever will be will be, but until then I’ll happily enjoy being a bridesmaid as opposed to a bride and the only man who is guaranteed to have my heart forever, is my dad.