When I Realized I am The Father Of A Girl

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I was really psyched by the range of commentary on yesterday's two posts, setting off The Male Mind week--in case you missed it, Swapnil Shah gave some suggestions on communicating needs, and Dileepan Siva discussed fatherhood, and the kind of father he wants to be.

Today, we're going to switch gears a bit. When I first thought about this Man Week idea, I really didn't have any crystallized topics in mind--I just wanted to let some males and some fathers write about what was on their minds. It was pretty interesting to me that, unprompted, two men who don't know each other wanted to explore the idea of what it means, as a man, to raise a daughter. So, today we have a pair of pieces about fatherhood through the lens of raising daughters. This afternoon we will hear from author William Campbell who will regale you with tricks on how to protect your daughters. First, here is Tarik Hashim Dalton on when he realized his little baby is actually a little

Tarik Dalton is the father of one Maxine Price Dalton and lives in New York with his wife Rochelle. He works at Credit Suisse as a distressed bond analyst in the fixed income group and has never stopped being a smart-ass...

"When I Realized I Am The Father Of A Girl." So, from the title, I bet most of you are thinking: “Duh, when the baby popped out without a set of beans and franks.” Well of course I knew then. . . But what I mean is when I knew--like REALLY knew-- that the little baby I was taking care of was a female, and I was this female's father, and everything that entails. During the first couple of weeks after Maxine was born, there was never that moment of clarity, that AH HA moment so to speak. I was just living on instincts and trying to make sure I didn’t kill her in the meantime. But the AH HA moment did come--Boy did it come. And you know I'm going to proceed to tell you the when, where, how, and why it took place...but I'm going to string it out a little bit more...And a little bit more. Of course, I am going to tell you I just had to build a little suspense—I love drama.

Max was about 3 or 4 weeks old. One of my really good friends asked me if I want to go out. This was not a regular weekly go out request. It was a “do you want to go out because that friend that we all have who always spends ridiculous amounts of money for no reason is throwing a birthday party at one of the hottest clubs in the city” request. . . I mean how could I miss out on this? I'm married. This means that, of course I had to get permission first. Did I mention that Maxine, our first child, our darling daughter was about 21 days old at this time? That translated to this thought: “No shot. My wife will kill me for even thinking about it.” However, I was feeling very radical and on a mission to prove I was not an old deadbeat just because I was a father. So I “MANNED UP” and told Rochelle: “The boys are going out and I’m going out with them!”

Yea. Ok you guys all know it didn’t really go down like that, but this is my story so. . . let's say that's what happened.

Just to be nice I threw in a gesture of good faith and agreed that I would do the 3 AM feeding, which worked perfectly because 3AM would be about the time I was returning home. (Ok I confess the 3AM feeding was part of the deal for me to leave at all but again this is MY story and what is a story without some creative license).

So I’m in the club with the boys. Private VIP section, music blasting, 6 bottles of various types of top-shelf alcohol flowing. . . We all secretly thought we were shooting a video. Our crew is about a 30/70 married/single crowd, and of course the single guys were mixing it up nicely with the ladies. I would be remiss not to tell you about the quality of talent in this place. TOP NOTCH. Obviously none of these girls could hold a candle to my beautiful wife; however, I reiterate TOP NOTCH. Not only top notch talent but these girls were wearing next to NOTHING. I mean skirts so short they can’t possibly sit down without exposing themselves to the world, cleavage everywhere . . . I’m sure you are getting the point. Classic club wear for two bit bimbos right? RRRRRIIIIIIIGGGGGGHHHHHHHTTTTT!!!!

But as these girls come and go through our section of VIP I randomly hear snippets of their stories. Stuff like: “I graduated from Penn in ’07 and I work at Goldman. Or, “I went to Harvard undergrad and now I am in Columbia Law School,” and “I graduated from Stanford in ’06 and I work for McKinsey.” I mean on and on and on it went. All of these girls, who in my head were already branded gold digging community college grads, were actually all highly educated serious professionals. And as I stood there absorbing all of this it dawned on me: I could only hope that my daughter would become as smart, driven, and attractive as many of these girls. It made my head spin because there I was hoping that my daughter could be one of these VIP-club girls that my boys were ogling in 22 years or so!!

But wait. . . how could I go from looking at most of these girls like t-bone’s in the butcher shop to admiration and actually thinking I would be lucky if my daughter grew up to be like them? I still don’t know how that transformation of thought took place, but I guess that's why they call it an “AH HA” moment. In the club, drinking my drink, looking at the beautiful girls around me, there it was: I have a little girl who will grow up to be a woman. A WOMAN (ugh that is hard to write). I realized that I would have to let her go one day and trust that I did a good job raising her. I realized that hoping for a beautiful daughter is also hoping for a daughter that boys will chase. I can’t protect her from the wolves with blood on their fangs. I can just teach her how to fend them off and hope she listens. I know there is only one thing 16 year old boys want. I just happen to have been 16 at one point and I was just as rabidly horny as the next guy. . . I wasn’t getting any but I was trying to concoct every scheme in the world to actually get some.

I got back home a little before 3AM. I heard my little Punkin start to tussle and cry a bit. I got her bottle warm, picked her up, held her in my arms and just stared at her. Thinking of all the great things she is going to do in her life. And I made a deal with my psycho alter ego that I would just love her for as long as she was my little girl and not worry about the mini skirts she would be wearing in some club circa 2030. . . Jesus that seems like a long time from now. I can't believe I'm going to be one of those parents who can already tell that he will one day be marveling at how the time went by so quickly. And I can't believe my daughter has ruined mini-skirts for me.
neesha said...

hahaha hilarious! Tell us this tarik: if you had a boy what would the realization be in the club??

th said...

Oh LORD. Realizing that having an attractive daughter means that you want boys to chase her???? My wife is pregnant with our first child --a girl--and this was not something I was worrying about yet. Now I am. Thanks got that!

tanya said...

You have a very considerate wife...! Funny piece.

Anonymous said...

Mini skirts are so 2008 anyway! Funny.

h.d. said...

Please don't ever let my husband know that you were allowed to go out when your baby was three weeks old...

janis said...

Tarik, gotta ask--what do you think about all the comments yesterday on gender roles? Doesn't the same realization apply? Meaning: what do yoilu think about raising a daughter in a world where gender tradition is still so prevalent?

Anonymous said...

OR we can all teach our sons not to view women as those t bones in the butcher shop right???? Suggestions?

auntie n said...

Thanks for writing this! I for one appreciate the honesty and dont understand why women get all bent out of shape then men notice attractive girls. It's an interesting point-- that we hope for our daughters to be attractive (and we all do...whether or not we admit it)...with all that entails.

Bonita said...

Ha. LOL. I gave heard my husband tell stories of how certain conversations went down at home and this reminds me of them. Do they teach you guys classes on this?? And sincerely: tell us, was your wife supportive of you going out? Should we be? Would it work the other way? Funny post.

Anonymous said...

You are brave to put up this post here! Nobody has given you a lashing yet but I will ask: How would you feel if your wife went out and ogled men all night?

Anonymous said...

I was waiting for somebody to write like the poster above. But I agree with the previous poster that it's sort of silly to think that all of us don't notice attractive people. Like this post. Holds a mirror up to us and to what it means to want good looking kids. Will say this, in my heart of hearts, I care more about my daughter being "attractive" than my son. Even though I know that's sort of messed up.

Shimo said...

Ok I'm going to try and respond to a couple of things. The T-bone comment was not that serious really. It happens. It is natural. It isn't derogatory and women look at attractive men like T-bones too. And gay guys look at attractive men like T-bones. . . please don't make that into more than it is. As far as the Gender roles thing. I believe people need to attempt to find mates that believe in the same roles. For instance a man who wants his wife to stay home with the kids shouldn't marry a woman who wants full scale career. I mean you can but it will make things more difficult. But when two career minded people get married and have kids the sacrafices come. My wife wants to work but she wants to work at a non-profit. She has openly expressed she has no deep desire to make money and she would like to leave the "bread winning" to me. So in that regard would it be wise for us to treat our carrers and jobs as equal imporatance? I don't think so but my opinion. And if my daughter wanted to be a mother I would have no problem with that. An educated mother of course!

Anonymous said...

Whoa flashback! I remember dressing like that to go out in college. And I know my daughter will one day too and who would I be to tell her not to. But man reading the description gave me the chills!

Shelly said...

Hold up Tarik: I was getting all set to defend you against any onslought but do you really think that your wife's career isn't as important as yours just because she makes less money? I mean, I get it, we need money, but that's not all a career is right?

Shimo said...

Ok so i have to respond to my so called "lashing" i am secure enough to know that my wife is coming home to ME. She married ME as I married HER. When she is out with her friends i assume they are looking at dudes just the same. I am sorry you are not as secure as we are. However, we are not swingers or anything crazy like that.

Shimo said...

I did not say it was LESS IMPORTANT i am saying if it is my job to feed our family. . . then if someone has to miss work does it make sense for it to be me? This is just survival talk here. Not ideals.

Anonymous said...

ladies! Gentleman! Can't we all get along?? Ha. Thank you for sharing tarik. My husband claims that it is impossible for a group of men to go out and not notice women. Agree? I'm with you in the sense that if you are happy in your relationship it's not a big deal but it still us interesting that girls go out and get support from and have fun with each other all the time--and ogling men is not usually on the agenda.

Anonymous said...

So if your wife did work in a "for profit" and had a salary then would it make sense for you to take the day off for the sick kid?

Does this mean that unless wives start earning more than their husbands - their husbands should not be expected to pitch in? Does the dad not want to be there to soothe the kid?

Sorry - your initial post was good, but the follow up comments from you kind of reveals the "typical male" portrayed in yesterday's post and comments.

So as women if we want some semblance of equality, we need to first find someone who is not as good as us (with lower or equal pay)and then consider marriage - what a shame!

Do guys only care about all the money they make - you know the last I looked corporations allow taking sick days off for family at home - and this does apply to guys whose wives are not working too. why skip this just because your wife is home? sick days are entitled vacation - why would one want to fore go that? again i think it is just a cop out!

G. Dahm said...

alright hold it i don't think he is saying he doesn't respect his wife's career, i think he is saying that his is "more important" to their financial security. am i right?

my wife and i are swingers. it's great. haha.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't wish my husband at 16 on any girl in the world!!!

Anonymous said...

All joking aside, if we are to take yesterday's posts to heart, we should do more than tolerate you guys "manning up" we should encourage it. I can't really imagine the world in which I am cheerleading my husband to look at women ("Look at them better honey!!") but, seriously, if this is your guys' entertainment we should support it I suppose. Don't freak Tarik, I'm not saying your whole post is about looking at women for fun! It's a funny post, thank you for sharing!

Shimo said...

Thank you G. Dahm. SOmeone is a bit too emotional to evaluate the actual words said instead of putting her own feelings into the meaning of what one said.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Funny post. Even funnier commentary. Will say this, these posts seem to hit nerves in women, whether intended or not.

Anonymous said...

Great post! And I have a feeling you are going to have to deal with issues like this before 2030. Girls will be girls...!

Anonymous said...

funny! Your little girl becoming one of those women? Karma!

Nari, furious again? said...

As a woman I will tell you exactly why posts like this hit a nerve.

Do I notice good looking men? Yes.

Do I go out to places where men are close to naked and the vibe is dripping with sex with my single female friends who are looking to hook up with half naked single men? NO.

That type of atmosphere is not conducive for a woman who is in a committed relationship. It is conducive for single people looking for casual sex.

I have a problem with this whole society promoting the oogling of women by both married and single men alike. Case in point; that airline in India. What, was it Virgin or Deccan? The CEO stated that only young, shapely and attractive women could be hosts and their outfits had to be a certain length of lack of. Another point; the double standards in wear between men and women who play professional beach volleyball.

This society, this modern culture is not set up in such a way to encourage healthy and functional monogamy. That's the issue I have.

Who the hell cares what women look like when they play sports or when they are on the job? They are WORKING, for God's sake! Why the need to look sexy? Why the need to cater to MEN'S fantasies when half the earning and spending population in this world is WOMEN!?!

How about showing us some eye candy too?

There is definetly a double standard.

And you know what? Tarik, you seem like a great guy and I did understand the point you were trying to get across in the post, but if my husband went out for a night of sex filled sleaze with his single buddies, the minute he came home I would have packed my bags and taken off for some "me time" for 2 days straight, leaving him to care about our baby and wonder exactly who I'm with and what I'm doing.

But I will be careful not to marry a man who has a habit of partying. Or, if he wants to party, he can take me along as a "party buddy".

Or would that put a damper on things?

You know, I see this attitude all the time in India with men who do not even take their wives to their friends' weddings, leaving them at home to cook dinner for HIS family (her in-laws), but I don't expect this kind of behaviour from enlightened American men.

I guess we HAVEN'T come a long way, baby, afterall.

Nari, trying to figure it all out... said...

PS: to add to the above, before I forget -

A question for Tarik; how many men were at the party walking around almost nude in an attempt to please the eyes of the various women there?

How many men had obviously artificially augmented penises like I'm sure some of the women had augmented breasts?

See my point? What is it about women that causes them to do these things? What is it about men that DOES NOT cause them to do these things? Are women just stupid? Obviously these women were not, as you said, they were highly educated professionals.

So why the hell were they walking around almost nude for? Were they being paid to do it? What gives?

And no, I for one would not want my daughter (or son) to grow up to be "just as beautiful" as these women, because women (or men) who do that sort of thing are not "beautiful" in my book.

In my book, such people are ugly and stupid, no matter how many degrees they have or how much makeup they are wearing.

Shimo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shimo said...

Look you are asking a lot of questions that I do not have the answer for. What do you wear on a daily basis? it sounds like you are VERY conservative and not really into secular society. You seem like you are very controlling. I think it is troubling that you believe anyone who goes to a club will have sex. I think that shakled people are the ones who go the craziest when free. . . ponder that

KB said...

Much like yesterday, I think a vast majority of you guys are missing the point of the author's post. The topic of the post is about being a father of a girl. I think the author was using the imagery at the club to shine a spotlight on his main theme....his realizations that his child was actually a female and how that effects his perception.

There's no need to turn the commentary on every post to why you feel men are deadbeats and how traditional gender roles are still prevalent. That is a serious disservice to the author.

Shimo said...

KB thank you wherever you are. And Nari seriously i think you have serious pent up issues you need to get out.

Poly-nari said...


I find present day society to be unconducive to two things;

1. healthy monogamy and,
2. healthy poloyamory for women

In other words, I find it unconducive to feminism in many ways and still bent in favor of the male in most, if not all ways.

I am not much of a consumerist, I'll admit that. And I am a conservative dresser. Just as you are. Would it be better if I were exposing myself for the men of the world to oogle?

I don't see what my clothes have to do with anything?

You see, as a woman once in a serious relationship I found myself in a tight spot. The monogamy did not work because at every turn my man was encourged to give his attention elsewhere. As someone open to polyamory it did not work because no matter how modern, feminist and domesticated men have become, most of them are not open to the idea of their women seeing other men while living with them. Though of course they would JUST LOVE IT if their women gave them the go ahead to do the very same thing, while she waited for him at home with a hot meal staying warm in the oven.

Even most of the world's major religions were set up in a polygynous rather than a polyandrous fashion.

Yeah, I have issues with that. What woman wouldn't?

Shimo said...

i think you can find a guy out there who is willing to have sex with other people. So what do you actually want? You say clubbers are nasty casual sexmongers right? But you want Polyamory. . . so you want to have other relationships and love multiple men. . . Hmmm. I think you will be single for a long time. I think a man who believes in loving multiple people is probably in Utah or the Middle East. And i think a man who is just into sex with others (swinger) isn't the emotional connection you are looking for. You assume no one would let you have sex with other men. . . he exists just not in the form you want him to. Sorry and good luck finding a man

Mono-poly-nari said...

That's the point, Shimo.

I can be either monogamous or polyamorous with the same dedicationa and gusto. I can go either way, actually. And it's not about seeking out multiple partners in clubs. I don't go to clubs and I don't drink either.

You see, my ex-partner told me quiet frankly that it is every man's fantasy to have more than one woman. To feel like a King in a haram. However, he can reign in that desire and remain faithful to just one woman because he loves her, but the fantasy will be on the back burner all the while.

Just a few months before my ex and I started living with each other I suggested that we move to Hawaii and settle down. He said, "Hawaii? I have friends in Hawaii who say the Hawaiian girls just love men like me (men from his ethnic background) and if I go there I will have my choice of so many, so no, I don't want to go to Hawaii. If I go to Hawaii I will go single, otherwise the temptation will be too much because Hawaiin native women have great bodies"

When I suggested that if I am not enough for him then he should state so plainly and we can embark upon an open and honest polyamorous relationship where we are both each other's main squeeze but are free to date other people if the situation arises.

You see, it's not that I prefer polyamory over monogamy, I just prefer honesty. If a man is not able to be satisfied by just one woman, just me alone, but he still wants to be with me, I would rather he state that openly so that I know where I stand and I can work from that position. I certainly would not go out of my way to remain monogamous with a man that is not monogamous to me.

But I would not want to cheat or deceive him either.

How many times have I had to hear comments like the one above from my ex? Comments about how this woman or that woman on TV was sexy (mind you, none of the women looked like me or had my skin color). About how women from this or that background crave men from his background. About his sexual prowess and skills (and when I tried to instruct him in that department his ego would not let him digest the fact that he is not God's gift to women in the bedroom). How many times did I have to pretend I did not see him staring at other women in public... etc, etc, etc.

See, for me, if I know that my man would prefer me to look like someone else, that he does not find me as attractive as he finds some other women, well, it's a turn off and I find myself unable to bond romantically or sexually with him because his attitude does not make me feel romantic or sexy.

In that case, I would prefer a polyamorous relationship where he can get the type of woman he wants for sex and where I can get a man who actually thinks that I'm his "type". A man who makes me feel romantic and sexy.

I know the reason my man was with me was because of my values, ethics and cooking skills. But he was probably more sexually attracted to OTHER women than he was for me. The problem is that those other women probably didn't have the ethics, values, intelligence and cooking skills that I had, so that is why he was with me.

So there I was, just wishing that he would agree to a polyamorous relationship so that I could feel appreciated as a beautiful woman and get that kind of attention from another man, but still come home to what we had.

In fact, such attention and romance would not even require sex. But do you think for one minute he would tolerate me having a male "activity partner"?

Of course not.

Yet here I was supposed to tolerate him staring at other women and making these silly types of commments. Somehow my ego was supposed to tolerate all that.

What a double standard.

So for me, polyamory is not about the sex itself, it's more about the ambience of a romantic chemistry that one does not always get with the person they are living with or married to.

I'm sure everyone here can relate to at least a little bit of what I'm talking about.

shilpa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nari said...

Aw man, why are you deleting comments?

I'm curious as to what peeps have to say....

Guess I'm not quick enough to catch it.

Anonymous said...

I think that guy was a bad guy and you maybe should wipe him from your memory because he wasn't good for you or for men as he seems to have tainted your entire outlook on men.

Nari said...

Anon, the thing is, he wasn't entirely bad.

He had some very good qualities and he always prided himself on being the type of man any woman (of his particular ethnic background) would almost die for. But then the standards were/are not that high.

My main gripe with him was his constant looking at other women and the fact that he did not find me to be "his type" physically.

That really got to me. Meanwhile, almost everyday I would get compliments from people around me on my looks. But my own man, the man I wanted to be attracted to me, was not.

It really screwed with my head and my ego of "womanhood".

Other than that, he was good at home; he cooked, cleaned, massaged my feet, did whatever I asked him to.

But I will never again date a guy who thinks he is better looking than I am.

Nilufar said...

So, Shimo is Tarik, right? Just want to make sure. IF so, Shimo/Tarik, if you intend to blog or guest blog, you need to get a better attitude. Your response to some of the comments has been outright rude. You have denigrated many of the women here who have found your evening out with friends at a glorified singles bar to be a normal thing. You are not the arbiter of what is normal or not. There is a reason why women here find your choice of an evening out to be in poor taste--just because you don't see it or understand it doesn't mean that they are wrong.

Feeling jealous of or feeling disrespected by a boyfriend/husband is not a sign of anyone's worth or security or self esteem. If I am in a relationship and my man is openly looking at a woman, I feel openly disrespected. Period. I don't stand for it. That doesn't make me conservative or not progressive or whatever new mindfuck men are coming up with to continue to shackle me. I find it disrespectful, and my worth is determined by where my line is drawn on the sand.

Your response has been really callous, reactive, and shallow to many of the commenters.

Nari--off topic, you were dating a loser. Any guy that talks about other women, especially in the physical sense, in front of you is a loser. Even basic social skills dictate that if you need to look, you do it with discretion and with respect for your SO in mind. So, get over it and move on.

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