Tag Archives: marriage

Get It Right, People

2 May

getitrightheader

 

letter A few weeks ago the most recent issue of one of my office’s magazine subscriptions made it to the coffee table of our reception room. Rarely do I even notice the People Magazines my patients are flipping through before they come back, but there was something about this one that just didn’t sit right with me. I would walk through the lobby, head back to the procedure, and something would stick in my mind — as if someone had moved a piece of furniture just slightly askew, or maybe a light was out in the room somewhere. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Eventually I figured out the problem. You might remember from a few years ago a grievous error People Magazine made on the cover of one of their issues. I wrote a very nice letter to their editorial staff explaining the error, even proposing an appropriate fix. And now here we are, three years later and the editorial staff over at People Magazine has made the EXACT SAME MISTAKE!

So once again DorkDaddy has to swoop in to the rescue and save the long-running publication from public humiliation. Below you can see the error and how I have re-engineered their cover to better reflect reality.

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I have a message for the editorial staff over at people magazine:

This is the second time I have noticed the exact same mistake in your otherwise respectable periodical. I am happy to fix it for you… again… but this is the last time I’m going to be cordial about it. If it happens again I am going to have to take a much more aggressive stance. Consider yourselves warned.

To UnDorkMommy I have this message:

You mentioned how you’d like to improve your Photoshop skills. Here’s an image you can use for practice. I’m sure you can figure out something to do with it.

reynolds

 

-Dork Dad

Surfer Girl

2 Jul surfer girl

letter every once in a while when we were kids, my dad used to crank up his old man music and do his own version of the DorkDaddy thing. Usually it was either folk music from the Kingston Trio, or The Beach Boys – turned up loud enough to make the dog leave the room. I do the same thing to my kids today, only these days the “old man music” is Def Leppard and Bon Jovi.

30 years ago when the Beach Boys album was pumpin’ and the dog was hiding under the bed, “Surfer Girl” would come on and my dad would swoop up one (or both) of my little sisters. He’d put them on his toes and dance with them in his arms, singing the lyrics (falsetto and all) as if the song was written just for them.

Ever since she was in Jr. High, my baby sister always maintained that whenever she got married and it came time for the father/daughter dance, it was going to be to “Surfer Girl”. I don’t know that my father ever heard of her plan – he might have. But the plan might also have been one of those conversations between siblings that we all remembered and just never brought up again.

In any case, that day finally came this weekend. My baby sister got married. Episode IV got to be the flower girl and Episode V got to be the (Lord of the) ring bearer(s). Episode VI was still too little for an official part in the ceremony, but he was listed in the program anyway as “Cutie-patootie” and got to walk his Booboo down the aisle along with his equally adorable cousin. As it was he managed to steal his share of thunder when he finally decided he was finished with being a crawler and wanted to be a walker – at the rehearsal dinner – around a pool!

The Lord of the Ring Bearers and Cutie Patootie

The Lord of the Ring Bearers and Cutie Patootie

The ceremony went off without a hitch – perfect weather, no major SNAFU’s. The party moved on to the reception where there could be found all the typical wedding traditions: speeches from the Best Man and Matron of Honor, cake cutting, toasts, yadda, yadda…

The star of the wedding, and the bride.

The star of the wedding, and the bride.

When most of the guests were done eating, it was time to dance. As expected, the bride and groom got the first dance to the song of their choosing, with all the requisite “awww”s and camera-phone shots from the guests you would expect. Dance/smooch/hug, dance/smooch/hug. Typical wedding fare. The dance ended to the applause of the guests.

And then it happened…

That baritone scale progression, followed by the lilting falsetto melody – so familiar it’s practically written into my family’s DNA, “Surfer Girl” started up as the DJ announced that it was time for the father/daughter dance. My dad lost it. My sister lost it. All the guests in the room lost it. And that one moment that my sister had been planning since Jr. High finally came true. She was dancing with her daddy to the perfect song after the perfect day.

Father/daughter dance.

Father/daughter dance.

***

It is a strange quirk of life that I tend to look at these things through the lens of fatherhood these days, rather than as a brother, or a husband, or even just plain old me. The last time I watched my father in a father/daughter dance at my sister’s wedding, I didn’t have a daughter myself. Things are different now. This weekend I didn’t see my baby sister up there dancing with her daddy, I saw a father having his last dance with his last child, his youngest daughter, his little baby (surfer) girl. I saw that awful, inevitable, inescapable moment where a father has to finally admit that although she may have been a grownup for years and years, his little girl is no longer his. In moments like those, your mind starts to wander.

I have a daughter.

I have a daughter I love so much it hurts. I have a daughter I love so much, sometimes I lose it just looking at her pictures on my screensaver. I have a daughter who’s growing up the way daughters do. At every major life event I see the girl going off to the first day of kindergarten, or the little girl riding her bike for the first time, or the little girl who mastered reading in a week, or the flower girl at my sister’s wedding… but I also see that little baby, only seconds old, that I held in my hands. I walked her to school on her first day of kindergarten. I ran behind the bike, steadying it as she found her balance. I helped her sound out the hard words. I painted her fingers and toes to match her dress for the wedding…

nails ala DorkDaddy

nails ala DorkDaddy

Sometimes all I can see is that little, newborn baby daughter.

Someday that daughter may want to get married.

Someday she may have a wedding, with a dress and a flower girl and a reception and everything.

At that reception there will very likely be dancing.

Before the dancing there will likely be a father/daughter dance.

She will walk up to me, after dancing with her husband, and take my hand to lead me to the dance floor.

What song will she pick?

Of course I know what song she’ll pick. We have a song. It’s our song. We will dance to our song and I will have to admit to myself that she is no longer mine, and I will totally lose it.

***

I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking “Holy crap, man. Your daughter is seven. You’ve got DECADES before you have to worry about that sort of thing. Get a grip.”

You’re right, you’re right. I know you’re right. But this is what it means to love a little person so much you’d swear your heart will explode. This is what it means to look down in silence at your sleeping baby, filled with panic at how fast it’s all gone by and with terror at what is to come. This is what it means to be the father of a daughter.

Game. Set. Match. FML

Game. Set. Match. FML

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back into the office and give myself oxygen for the next 23 years.

-Dork Dad

surfer girl

It’s Just Sex, Dammit!

28 Jan

letter This weekend we lost some friends.

The news came in the form of a phone call from one of the parties involved. It was a sad goodbye, letting us know that our couples/family friendship, which we both enjoyed, was no longer. Their marriage was over. The culprit, of course, was sex.

I won’t pretend to empathize with either party. The pain they both must be going through is beyond my frame of reference. I won’t belittle it by offering platitudes. All I could do was offer condolences, reaffirm the “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do”, and re-emphasize that although the nature of our friendship will never be the same, my love will still be there, unchanged.

The totality of the news, taken in all its context, left me feeling ugly and defeated. Couple friends where the moms, dads and kids all get along simultaneously are hard to come by, and that loss was enough to put a damper on the day. But it was also a blow against faithful, committed relationships in a way that makes you feel sad and dirty at the same time.

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What is this grip that sex has over us? Yes, I’m a scientist. I understand the evolutionary importance and the irresistible limbic-system drive to procreate. I understand the biological rationale for sprinkling sexual implications into every aspect of our lives. I understand the neurochemical rewards we receive for having sex — how it feels so damn good it incentivizes more of the same behavior later. I appreciate that it is such a primitive, bare-bones, evolutionary drive that it sits right at the center of the collective psyche of our species, and for that reason it’s a really easy place for all the broken bits of our lives to manifest themselves and express themselves in our sexual behavior. It drives Kings to lose their kingdoms. It drives Presidents to impeachment. Countless families are torn apart by it. It makes actors cheat on Elizabeth Hurley.

For crying out loud, it’s just sex.

How much time in our lives do we spend actually performing sex, compared with everything else? Even a pr0n-actor (deliberate type-o to ward off unwanted google searches) who goes to work and has sex from 9-5, that’s only 40 hours a week (assuming no overtime) which boils down to less than 25% of all the hours in a week. To spend even 1% of all the hours in your life having sex you’d have to spend roughly 90 minutes a week in the act of lovemaking. Though it’s certainly within the realm of possibility, married couples with kids will tell you (with a wink and a smile) that 90 minutes a week is a good week.

TO SPEND EVEN 1% OF ALL THE HOURS IN YOUR LIFE HAVING SEX YOU’D HAVE TO SPEND ROUGHLY 90 MINUTES A WEEK IN THE ACT OF LOVEMAKING.

For something that takes up such a small fraction of the totality of what we do with our lives, how do we let it have such a grip over the rest? Entire industries revolve around sex. Those that don’t are infected by it whether they admit it or not. It’s everywhere. It’s inescapable; and yet, the success of my day has more to do with what the traffic on the freeway is like, rather than whether or not I had sex the night before. The emotional implications, the domestic implications and the health implications of our sexual practices seem ridiculously out of balance given everything else our lives require of us.

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There are a thousand things necessary for a successful day and a successful life. Balancing the checkbook. Reading to the kids. Visiting your parents. Maintenance on the house. Laughing. Resting. Playing. Growing. Learning. These are the things of life. These are the things that determine whether we are fulfilled, whether we are successful in life. None of them require intercourse. And yet still we venerate sex as the ultimate goal in life, as if everything else is just a way of occupying time between sexual interludes. We high-five our friends when they “got lucky” or “got some” or “got some action” as if to say “Well done. You got that taken care of. Now you can move on to all the other stuff.”

Granted, there is no better way to foster intimacy with your partner than sex. It connects you and makes you vulnerable and draws you together with another person like no other way can. But when considering intimacy, it isn’t even necessary for that (blasphemy, I know). Imagine the potency of your partner gently running her fingers through your hair, or down your back. Picture those moments when you’re lost, looking into your partner’s eyes, and neither of you has to say anything. Think for a moment on the lasting rewards of gently holding hands, or on the way you can totally lose yourself in a deep, committed kiss. These too are the things of intimacy. Because of them, even if you never knew sex, surely you could still know intimacy.

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To be cold and clinical, the only thing sex is absolutely *REQUIRED* for is baby making… and even in that case there are exceptions.

THE ONLY THING SEX IS ABSOLUTELY *REQUIRED* FOR IS BABY MAKING… AND EVEN IN THAT CASE THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS.

Last night lying in bed, after more than 10 years of marriage, I asked my wife “Do you trust me? I mean do you *REALLY* trust me?”

“Of course I do” she replied. “I wouldn’t have had three kids with you if I didn’t.”

She’s no dummy. The idea of me stepping out on her is laughable. First of all, even if I wanted to, there is no opportunity. I work from 7am – 6pm and I’m home within minutes for dinner. There are no real “nights out with the guys” or “business trips” which could be a cover for a clandestine meet-up with someone else. She’s all up in my life in a way that doesn’t allow for secrets. That’s just the way it is. Add to that the fact that in real life, guys like me just don’t get girls like her. She’s WAY above my station. She’s smarter than me. She’s more thoughtful than me. She’s a better parent than me. She’s more likeable than me. She’s infinitely better looking than me. She would have no problem finding a replacement for me. I, on the other hand, could never recover from losing her. Finally there’s also the fact that I am totally in love with her. She fills my cup completely. I look across the table at her and I can not imagine a better life.

And then she went and had my babies, and with each one I fell in love with her even more.

To lose all that for the fleeting, momentary, primitive, physical gratification of an extramarital tryst would be the height of insanity – even if I had the desire.

Which I don’t.

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It serves no purpose to play the pious blogger, and I’m conscientious about coming across that way. I don’t think I’m any better than anyone else. I am a relativist at heart and I can appreciate that it takes two people to be in a relationship. You can never know what’s going on behind the curtain in a relationship you aren’t part of, or what’s going on under the hood in a life you haven’t lived. But I will say this:

If somehow the act of sex was cleanly extracted from my life leaving everything else intact, although it would be incredibly disappointing (and as laughable as it may sound) my life in its entirety would be relatively unaffected. Everything that I need to get through my day would still be there. The love, the intimacy, the laughter, the living of life…

I’d just have to find some other way to fill that 1% of my time.

-Dork Dad

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