Even as I got older and kept getting plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments, my father just said, “What are you going to do, go to Hollywood? You look fine.” I didn’t want to be fine, I wanted to be pretty. What I heard, each time he said that was, “If I wanted to be in movies I would need to have work done, but being unattractive was acceptable for living in the suburbs of New Jersey.” I know many fathers have done much worse to their daughters. My dad never physically abused me in any way, but when he would say that, it hurt so much. I would have rather been told I was pretty, and been smacked around once in awhile. I’m sure it’s easy to say, because I was never hit by him. Again, it just seems that the physical pain goes away quicker, and my life outside the home would’ve been easier.
I know many of you will disagree, but it’s just what I think. I can’t help it. And if you think that’s bad, you’re really gonna think I’m fucking crazy after this. One of my closest friends was molested by her father. The kind of molesting where he would give her special attention, buy her gifts for no reason and then seduce her so that, like many molestations, it felt “normal.” It started when she was eight years old and continued on until she was fourteen. When she started dating he hated it; he was jealous. You think that’s fucked up, right? Here’s something a little more fucked up: I was jealous! Not of the molestation, but that he thought she was so beautiful and so irresistible that even though he knew it was wrong, he said he fell in love with her and couldn’t keep his hands off her. He was even jealous and didn’t want anyone else to have her. While here I was thinking my father was afraid that no one would ever want me. I’m not saying I would change his love for me—I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
I’m sure it sounds worse than it was. My parents were young. They had my brother at seventeen and me at nineteen. As an adult, I came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t my father’s type, you know what I mean, right? My mother looked like Tiffany; in fact, people often asked if they were mother and daughter. Remember, I was the opposite of Tiffany and my mother, so I just wasn’t the “type” my father found attractive.
Who knows, I looked more like him, and maybe he saw in me what he didn’t like in himself. Perhaps he just expected his daughter to look like her mother and not her father and was unpleasantly surprised by the outcome. I had told this to my mother once, when I was in my early twenties, and she, of course, said I was wrong on all counts. I even told her this story, but made her promise not to get mad or tell my dad. It was twenty years ago; I had forgiven him already, so she couldn’t get mad at him and she promised she wouldn’t. I explained to her how that Sunday afternoon my dad and my uncle were sitting on the couch watching football. My dad asked me to get them each a beer, so I did. I handed my uncle his, but opened my dad’s—it was a screw top. I was so proud, I said, “Here Dad. Look, I even opened it for you!” He started by saying, “Yes, I see that, thank you.” He then went on to say, jokingly, “You’re going to make someone a wonderful husband some day!”
My uncle’s eyes grew wide in disbelief, but he burst out laughing, slapping my father’s knee. My dad just laughed as well, proudly because my uncle was laughing hysterically at his joke. I was nervous to hear my mother’s reaction to the story. When I finished telling her, my mother just looked at me and said, “I don’t get it.” I said, “Neither did I,” even though I kind of did. It was confirmation that no man would ever marry me and I would never be any one’s wife. I also remembered how it made me feel, but I didn’t tell my mother that. I even remembered the details. I was long gone by the time they contained themselves and went back to watching the game. I just walked away embarrassed, yes, but a little bit confused too. I knew the joke was on me, and how I wasn’t a “pretty” girl, but I didn’t know what the punch line actually meant. I didn’t know if he meant my facial features were so masculine that I looked like a boy and no man would ever want to marry me; or, was it because I was such a tomboy? I had short hair; I always wore jeans, never dresses, and I played in sports so maybe he thought I would grow up to become a lesbian. No matter which was right, none of it was funny to me.
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Genre – Biographies & Memoirs / Self-Help
Rating – R
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