If my dad had boys, he likely would have been their hockey, baseball or soccer coach, or at least general manager. He’s a born sportsman. The man played competitive hockey until his mid 50s.
Alas, two girly girls had he, and neither one of us is of the sporty variety. I preferred dressing up and twirling to rules and running, if you know what I mean.
But I always liked sports, even if I didn’t partake. When the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series back to back in 1992 and 1993, my dad and I were ecstatic. Also in 1992, A League Of Their Own was released and suddenly baseball was cool because Madonna and Geena Davis were really good at it.
I was like, “Oh, girls can play sports and still be girly? You can do both?” So I signed up for softball.
Only I didn’t know how to play, so I asked my dad to teach me to play catch and he was like, “WHAT? YES!”
We’d hang out in the backyard for hours, and as I ducked out of the way instead of catching the ball, he’d yell, “KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL” or “DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE BALL.” I was a bit of a wuss at first, but in time, I wasn’t.
Eventually, my dad’s favorite adage, “The only thing to fear is fear itself,” wove itself into the fabric of who I am. To lack fear is to be able to be vulnerable, to learn new things, to put yourself out there, to take risks. All things that are good for life.
Sometimes fear is a baseball flying at your face, and other times, it's on your face. It’s in the bags under our eyes, or in our pimples, scars, rashes, wrinkles and bad complexions.
On xoVain, we talk about ways to deal with all of the fun, and not so fun, aspects of beauty, but there’s something to be said for sometimes not giving a crap.
Going out on a nice day with zero makeup and my hair a mess is the happiest I can feel as a human. Because I reconnect to that childish “bad hair, don’t care, let’s built a fort” attitude, and that's where the magic is.
Dads, who can wear socks and Berks with a three-day beard like it ain’t no thang; they seem to have the carefree ability to be oblivious to society’s standards of appearance.
I love them for that.
My dad did give me some beauty advice, such as: “Paint your nails outside--you’re stinking up the house!” and “I just pulled a hair ball the size of my fist out of your drain--cut your hair!”
When I was a teen, I died my dark hair bright blonde, plucked my eyebrows into upside down L’s and bleached them. My mom was horrified, but I thought I looked like a natural California blonde. I did not. That night at dinner my dad was like, “Pass the cannelloni, please.” He honestly didn’t notice anything different about me.
My dad, like many dads, just didn’t care what I looked like.
Dad lenses prevented him from seeing me as anything but his lovely little daughter. Because he didn’t really care that I had changed everything about appearance, my new look became less of a statement.
My dad also introduced me to great music, which would later become a lifelong obsession of mine. I can remember being 14 in the car with him on the way to school. I was staring in the passenger side mirror, worrying about the size of my nose and how my ears stuck out, and thinking about what I could change to make myself better. Then Bob Marley came on the speakers, singing “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cause every little thing is gonna be alright,” and I believed him. I stopped stressing and just listened.
To this day, music has that effect on me. I can be broken out, PMSing, in need of a hair cut, or notice a brand new wrinkle, but closing my eyes to music is like turning the dial down on my appearance anxiety.
My dad may rate appearance low on his totem pole of life priorities, but that doesn’t mean he’s a mess or anything. In fact, papa Ciccone is fit and all about health and wellness. He plays tennis almost every day and is currently obsessed with the magical effects of sugar abstinence and raw honey. My sister and I are just waiting for the day when we go home to visit my parents and find dad decked out in full beekeeper gear, tending to his hives.
He sends me audiobooks and other reading materials on health, meditation and honey pretty regularly, and from what I’ve gathered, sugar is poison, meditation makes you better at life, and raw honey is the nectar of the gods. Not only does it improve poor digestion and fight off coughs and colds, it also helps with allergies, and can be applied directly onto skin to treat wounds, scars, mild acne and rashes. Actually, raw honey was what cleared up the stubborn allergy-induced rash I had around my nose.
Honey is full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It also slows the depletion of enzymes, which restores damaged skin and makes it glow. So good for you in every way. If your name is Melissa, congratulations! Melissa means honeybee, and you’re special.
I usually get my Raw Honey at Whole Foods, and you can find it in a lot of stores these days, but your best bet for local artisan honey products would bee at a farmer’s market. I eat a couple tablespoons of it each day, and use it on my skin as needed.
In my experience, dad beauty is all about being natural, not stressing too much about your appearance, and living in a healthy, active, respectful way that’ll make you look good by default.
I’d like to thank my dad for his completely disregard for my appearance and teaching me to play catch. It made me confident and fearless in every area of my life. Happy Father’s Day! Raw honey and socks in Berks 4eva!