So this week was my father’s birthday. Jeff and I usually compete for the better present when we’re not going in together to get the old man something nice. This year we got him a helicopter ride over San Francisco that he seemed to like. So Jeff and I are still his two favorite kids. Cats not withstanding.
The ride came as an epiphany during an episode of Magnum P.I. Magnum always reminds me of my dad. When he was younger, my dad resembled him. He had the shirt, the ‘stache, the jeans, the belt and the white Nikes. For a long time, even the short shorts. According to women of the time, my dad was a hottie. According to women today, my dad is a hottie. And really, this is horrifying.
It’s a hard concept to digest, that your father is attractive to women. And this before he opens his mouth. He is so much more when he starts talking. A characteristic my brother inherited. The two of them can work a room of rabid feminists into puddles of giggles and womanly desire.
The first time I noticed women scoping my dad, I was 12. He had taken my brother and me to Embarcadero Center to eat and people watch, one of our favorite pastimes. The three of us were walking and this woman totally checked him out. The up and down lingering glance, that slight smile as she reached eye level, completed with the head turn as we walked passed. I was livid.
My dad would remember better, but I think I gave her a dirty look with a head turn of my own. He’s my dad. Jeez Louise. Do not check out dads’ when their kids are present.
As my dad got older he started to look more like Sean Connery. I kid you not. This is not just some fluff to make my dad feel better, as you will see in a moment. My dad bears a striking resemblance even though he’s Italian and Sean is Scottish. It’s the eyes and the beard. It could also be the slightly misogynistic undercurrent. Women can sense this. And they EAT. IT. UP.
When I lived in SF, my dad and I would have monthly lunches downtown. He would wait for me in the lobby of whatever building I was working in and we would walk to one of our regular restaurants. And every time, some chick in a business suit would turn her head and watch my dad walk. I mean, yes, he looks decent in a suit, but isn’t there some sort of decorum policy that should be enforced?
One afternoon, when we were meeting for one of our lunches, I got off the elevator with a co-worker. We’ll call her Geri. A woman in her low-50s, single after a bad divorce. And all of a sudden, she was nudging me to introduce her to this man who had just kissed my cheek. My dad, on his cell, had motioned for me to wait a moment.
Geri took the opportunity to ask if he was my boyfriend.
“Uh, no. He’s my dad.”
“Your Dad? Why, he’s not old enough? Really? Introduce me. He’s totally dreamy.”
Dreamy? Did she just describe my dad as dreamy? DREAMY?!? WTF?
My dad got off the phone and hugged me. I introduced Geri as a co-worker and tugged my dad out the revolving door before Geri could pounce.
You know how single women after 45 pounce. It’s the same pounce as single 25 year olds, but with shorter hair, coral lipstick, saggy cleavage and support hose. It’s that forty and frosted desperation pounce. Why did Geri think I should introduce Daddy? Because he wasn’t wearing a ring.
All single women look one place to see if a man is available. The ring finger. If he’s married, the ring will be there in gold or platinum. If he’s in a serious relationship it might be silver or titanium. Regardless, it’s the first place a woman looks. No ring, all systems go.
My dad has proven to be a tad bit difficult with the ring thing. For his own superstitious reasons (he says), he refuses to wear his wedding band. Now this has been a sore point between father and daughter for years. I hate women asking me if my dad is available. I hate defending his honor with dirty looks and bar room brawls. If he’d just wear the damn ring, all this could be avoided. Women would still look at him like he was the next best thing to Hershey’s chocolate, but they would keep some distance.
Yes, there are those women out there who see a ring and the object of their affection becomes even more thrilling, but my dad can handle those ladies. And those ladies do not come on to him when his daughter is standing there. And really, that’s all I care about.
This doesn’t bother my step-mom at all. My dad’s not a cheater; he’s not a flirt. He makes no effort in that direction at all. I would say it’s my Italian blood, but K is Italian too. And Portuguese. One would think she’d mind, but no. I’m the only one who objects to my father’s objectification.
Anyway, thinking about this has me all riled up again. Happy Birthday, Dad. And wear your god damned ring, will you?