This past week at the high school our kids participated in something called “Spirit Week”. This is not an adult spirit week, involving several meandering trips between vendor booths at a craft distillery festival. No, this is all about getting the students engaged, enthused and involved in their high school culture. But for my lovely 14 year old daughter it also means wearing her 63 year old dad’s clothes! How crazy is that!? I mean, is letting my daughter wear my clothes really how to be a cool dad?
Actually, this isn’t just for Spirit Week. Beth-Rose has been borrowing my clothes for months now. And when I say “borrowing”, I mean, taking them for her own, and never giving back. So this begs the question; Is my daughter insane, hopelessly confused about her fashion choices, or am I also a “Fashion Influencer?”
I kinda think it’s not that last thing…
So that leaves insanity or confusion. But maybe there’s something else going on. Maybe she’s just comfortable in my clothes. Like me…
Fashion Influencer, Fool, Or Be A Cool Dad
Now I have never been accused of being a “Change Maker”, a “Thought Leader”, or a “Particularly Influential Person“, but the idea of my 14 year old daughter actively, thoughtfully, choosing to wear my charcoal grey button-down, collared shirt to school is, quite frankly, disturbing. I mean, after all, I’m not Mom! What’s wrong with her clothes!?
Maybe I could understand my 17 year old son Zachary, in a bit of a rush, having forgotten to put his dirty clothes in the laundry and needing a clean tee shirt for school. That’s a lot closer to normal, don’t you think?
Heather says Beth-Rose and I are alike in so many ways. But being alike in our fashion sense is not something I would wish on my only daughter! I have higher hopes for her.
I Don’t Want To Be A Cool Dad
It seems like the rest of her self-care regimen is on track. She looks after her skin and her hair is always clean and done. Being a dancer, and having to perform on a stage in front of judges and an audience, has prepared her for all those aspects of hair, makeup, and skin. So what is up with the clothes?
Maybe, having worn costumes so many times for her various performances, she’s just more comfortable in weird looking clothes. Maybe it’s just what she’s used to. Unlike me and socks…
I spent years wearing steel-toed boots for work. Ten hours a day, sometimes for 8 or 9 days straight, my feet encased in protective, heavy socks and cumbersome boots. There was never a more satisfying feeling than removing the boots and socks at the end of a long day! The last thing I wanted to do was wear socks if I didn’t have to.
My dad wore socks all the time. Every day. I remember his lily-white calves, with not a single hair in sight. But above his calves, where the socks stopped, he had hair on his legs. I found this fascinating, though somewhat repulsive.
I feared that, should I become a slave to socks, my ankles would end up just like my Dad’s; pale white and hairless. It’s right up there with my fear of growing a full head of hair…on my back!
And so, every chance I get, the socks come off. I wear them only when I absolutely need to. And that was a mighty strange tangent I went off on…
I think dads get a bit of a bad rap over our fashion choices. We like to dress comfortably, hence the cargo shorts, khakis and polo shirts. We’re comfortable in our clothing choices without causing a stir. We’re almost expected to dress that way. After all, if we step outside the norm or go against convention, we’re labelled as “weird”, or ‘uncool”. Seriously, aren’t most dads of teenagers already uncool? Isn’t that also an expectation of dads? Isn’t being uncool to our kids more important than being the cool dad?
The Alternative Could Be Worse
I have to remember that my daughter’s fashion choices could be worse. A lot worse.
Years ago, Heather and I lived in an apartment above a community centre that we managed. Every month the centre hosted a “Pre-Teen Dance”. Our little apartment was above the gym. At some point during one of these monthly dances, I happened to step out of the apartment to check out the activity below. The joint was full of young girls and boys, about 12-14 years old, mostly standing around in little groups while the DJ tried gamely to get them out on the dance floor.
Suddenly I noticed a group of girls hanging out near the concession. One girl stood out. She wore a very short skirt, and a skimpy crop top with the words “Hottie” across her fairly developed chest. I blanched, slowly backing up into our apartment and closing the door. Heather saw the look of horror on my face and asked, “What’s wrong?” “We’re never having girls”, I exclaimed.
So, thank you Beth-Rose for not putting me through that trauma. I don’t think I could handle it at my advanced age!
And if you’d like to borrow one of my tacky Hawaiian shirts, be my guest! Just be sure to button it up to your throat…