Here’s the thing about Larry. He’s a man of few words--always has been, probably always will be. If you really want to get a rise out of him, just sit passenger-side in rush hour traffic and watch the rage unfurl. Other than that, my pop has always been a rather reserved and fiscally responsible dad-dude.
From driving me to piano lessons to moving me in and out of my college dorms to doing my taxes, my dad could always be depended upon. I’m of the opinion that lots of parents tend to want their children to have all the opportunities that weren’t available to them as children. My dad didn’t go to college. He’s been an auto mechanic for as long as I've been alive.
Having a daughter who was a little weird and quiet and preferred being alone in her room doing arts and crafts rather than playing with other kids, my dad never pressured me to “make something" of myself. But I knew that if I ever did want to get serious about something--like acting conservatory classes or a bachelor's in theater--my dad would be like, "Sure, if that's what you want to do."
His approval of my life choices was predictable--generally by cost efficiency and usefulness. Larry wasn't about to bankroll beauty pageantry camp, for instance. No real job growth in that field, I guess.
It was through great patience and understanding that my dad and I were close without having to talk about whether we were close or not. He didn't take much personally, and he taught me that people are the way that they are and you just have to deal with it. That lesson was particularly useful in junior high, when I wasn't fitting in with most of the kids in my school.
While he’s never been that vocally affectionate or overly praising (mostly because both my parents knew that too much attention made me turn red in the face and cry. I cried a lot as a kid. I said I was weird, okay?), he’s always been straight-up with me, neither sheltering nor sugar-coating life lessons.
Case in point: that time I asked my family what a dildo was at the dinner table (I'd heard it on South Park, which I was way too young to be watching) and my dad simply told me, in his hybrid Queens accent, that it was "a substitute penis."
“You mean for when boys are missing one or it gets cut off?” I asked.
My dad cleared his throat, choking a little on his dinner, and my mother swooped in to change the subject. His brows were furrowed in a clear X. What my dad lacks in words, he makes up for in facial expression.
His eyebrows are a near exact barometer of his mood. Furrowed? Probably not the best time ask about borrowing the car. One up and one down? Maybe sharing my Slurpee with the dog wasn’t the best idea. Both up? Haven’t really figured that one out yet. I imagine something really incredulous is happening on the news or he's watching 24.
Lucky me, along with the genetically predisposed constitution of high cholesterol levels, I have also inherited my dad’s pronounced schnoz and rather arched brows.
Relatives and family friends would always point out the parts of me that were from my father, while simultaneously exclaiming how I look just like my mother. Very confusing. But it appeared very early on that I took after my dad--quiet, a bit shy, and completely lacking poker face.
Since we are both a bit stoic, facial expressions are how my dad and I primarily communicate. There are furtive grunts and mutterings of expressions. And nodding. lots of nodding.
Considering all of the above, my dad is exceedingly difficult to shop for. Good thing I came upon Grooming Lounge. They had the perfect kit for a dude like my dad (the Essential Car Kit--perfect for an auto mechanic) and it wasn't crazy expensive, considering they put some choice products in there. I mean, what good is having a beauty writer for a daughter if she can't find the perfect grooming gift for Father's Day?
What are you getting your father or father figure for Father's Day?