On a day like today, I try to picture the father I’ll become. Not that spending a beautiful Sunday unshowered and “private browsing” warrants thoughts so noble, but hey, I need dreams to replace the wet ones now.
Okay, I’m sorry. I swear I won’t be such a dirtbag. I want to be a good dad. But I don’t think many guys my age could ever promise to censor themselves. Vulgarity is special and important to us, like a prostate.
See, when I think of having a teenage daughter, I imagine embarrassing her in front of her friends and saying something like, “Kids, your mother is what we all used to call a ‘sex bomb,’” and waiting eagerly for the high-pitched “ewwwwww!!!” so I could laugh maniacally. Then I’d go upstairs, blast the song “Sex Bomb” and privately browse the body of said hot wife.
Maybe I’m waiting for a hormone switch to change my behavior, like how it famously does in women. Ladies, its sexual affect on you is outstanding: Late-20-somethings start to want less phallus more fetus, 30-somethings want the phallus back, and 50-somethings act like they never got it in the first place. Oh, and is it just me or is it hot in here?
Yeah, I could have something similar. As I get deeper into my 20s I could replace dirty talk with RRSP conversations, in my 30s I’ll replace porn with fibre and by the time I’m 50 I’ll replace any dirty thought with preliminary signs of dementia. Is it just me or is it hippopotamus in here?
No, I think shit will be different for us, tomorrow’s dads. And I’m not just talking about the fibre. Our demeanor is unprecedentedly loose (still not talking about the fibre). I can think of two reasons for that, like the two scoops of raisins that go into Raisin Bran. Okay, I’m talking definitely talking about the fibre, I was the whole time.
The first reason why fathers will be more laidback is the phenomenon of our teenage years. Long ago, you’d be a boy running in the fields until you were 14 or 15, then you’d become a man at 16 and get to work making knickerbockers or something. Today, we run on the fields of our football video games until we’re 25, and during that time it’s acceptable to be all sorts of silly. Guys now have added approximately 10 richer years of “being fun” over previous fathers. That might sound frivolous to some, but I think being a fun parent is essential to connecting with your kid. It may take longer to learn responsibility, but since we’re waiting longer to have kids the fun-to-responsibility level should balance out. I mean, how good is it when we see new parents let their kids smoke weed as long as they’re doing it at home, right?
The second reason for complaisant dads is the influence of our own dads. I feel like it’s a common tale, and one that I get from my father, where he says “My dad wasn’t like this when I was a kid, so I wanted to make sure I was.” The fathers of two generations ago are notoriously remembered for being emotionally unavailable factory workers and war vets. Our fathers still generally have those hard-nosed traits, but to a much lesser extent. Now, as Gen Y goes through the same conscious and unconscious response, we’ll pretty much be open-hearted, fun-first fathers. And I’m talking about paternal fathers, not priests. They’ve tried the “fun with kids” thing and it didn’t go too well.
So we’ll be dads who like to relax, laugh and be emotionally transparent. When you consider which traits are best to establish a connection with someone, it makes me really excited what sort of bonds we could all establish with our kids. I just get scared when I think of where to begin in disciplining them. The only beating and spanking they’ll know are the kind that exist in the jokes I make.
I’m even far too mellow to yell, and similarly a lot of new dads will probably continue as part-time potheads. Maybe childhood obesity is such a problem today because dad keeps insisting on going to McDonalds.
So what do you do when you’re a stoner father or, if you’re like me, and just act like one? I have no idea how you’d keep the house tranquil and likewise guarantee your kid doesn’t turn into whiney, spoiled fan of whoever the 2025 Justin Bieber is. One of Britney Spears’s poor daughters?
As I picture grossing my teenage daughter out to my own delight, I can equally see a temperamental son yelling “Fuck off!” and me, lazy on a couch, being like “Heyyyyy, come onnnn , don’t say thinnnngs like that.” Then he’ll run upstairs and listen to Ludacris’s 42nd album (have you noticed Ludacris doesn’t stop making music? It’s really weird) while snorting a line of coke. And my wife will find me such a sad and meagre man that she’ll leave me for a 60-year-old because he knows how to hunt and provide for his family. Then they’ll eat venison together and laugh at the mention of my name.
I digress. But perhaps that will be our generation’s archetypal downfall as fathers. Great guy, but just way too passive. Although you could have said the same about Ghandi, and people love that diaper daddy!
When our offspring are parents they’ll then tell their kids they had too much freedom, too much friendship with dad. He never kept them in line. They were able to do way too much coke, even meth sometimes. The pendulum will swing the other way from there. This next generation of fathers will try to harden themselves, reinsert a stricter household hierarchy and make their children feel like there are conditions to be met to earn love. To easygoing me, that just sounds like a great reality show where toddlers compete for love immunity, backstab each other and get voted out of the house for not being good enough at finger-painting.
The parents will still be thinking all those dirty thoughts, though. In my experience, everyone does. I was at a family event yesterday and an older cousin, a 40-something dad (so not a stereotypical baby boomer dad or Gen Y-er) asked his mom of 74, my aunt, if his dad got her anything for her birthday. My uncle infamously does not give or ask for gifts, so the question was in jest. My uncle was smart back to his son though, mysteriously saying “Oh, she got her gift yesterday.” And my cousin shot back, to his dear old mom who had been beleaguered after climbing many steps days before, “So that explains why you’re limping, mom!”
Whether they’re crippling mom with sex or not, there are pros and cons to each type of dad. Fathers of old were stones, and ones of the future will be stoners. It sobers one’s high briefly to think we may not be better fathers than our past ones, we’ll just be different. That’s simply in regards to fathering style though. Minus Rob Ford’s kids, I can guarantee we will have a higher population of dads who aren’t racist, homophobic or sexist, and ones who understand why the environment needs to be protected. That’s an important and priceless improvement for the world, only rivaling other progressive inventions like half-flush toilets. How sweet are they?
Thus, it’s more of a ‘win by default’ way that we’ll be the paternal leaders of a better world for our kids. I’m okay with that, it’s how things have always been. Except for a few anomalies, one dad will always be better than the next because one world will always be better than the next. These are the rules of a socially progressive planet. It’s how all of those dads – including us, the ones to be – all manage to be the best dad ever.
God bless Communism.
Wait. Happy Father’s Day. That’s what I meant.