In episode 417 of Sex and the City, Carrie ponders ‘how much does a ‘father figure’ figure?’
I come from what some would call the ‘traditional’ family: Mum, Dad and two kids of which I am the youngest. My parents hardly, if ever, fought and if they did I never really knew about it. They bickered and bantered good naturedly.
Mum and Dad met when she was sixteen and he was eighteen. They were engaged on her eighteenth birthday and married when she was nineteen and he was twenty-one. They were married for thirty-odd years – their first ten were spent trying for a baby before my brother was conceived – the only thing which disolved their marriage was death – my mother’s from breast cancer.
I had a close relationship to both my parents but I grew up a Daddy’s girl. Mum was very much the disciplinerian while I knew I had my dad wrapped around my little finger. He denied me nothing. I was his precious little girl and we worshipped each other. Even my teenage years couldn’t destroy that relationship. On a saturday night I could be found watching old movies with Dad rather than at whatever party was happening – that’s not to say that I wasn’t invited to the parties, I was, I just rarely went.
When it came obvious to my parents that I was becoming interested in boys or rather the pleasures boys could bring ie: sex, it was Mum who had the protection talk while Dad dithered in the back ground. Dad said he’d rather not think about me doing that. He said he knew it was going to happen, he just didn’t want to hear or know about it. He also knew what teenage boys were like and didn’t want me to get talked into anything. He said he wanted me to make sure it happened with someone I knew would respect me, someone who wanted more from me than just sex and if I had to do it, he would rather it happened under his roof (when he wasn’t there obviously) than at a party or on some car’s back seat. So, while poor mum, who had only ever had sex with one man (Dad) awkwardly talked to me about condoms and the pill and unplanned pregnancy, Dad was standing in the corner, arms folded adding in his two cents worth which consisted of telling me to remember respect: if you don’t respect yourself, no one else will and that no meant no, for me not to do something I wasn’t ready for or comfortable with and that I could call him anytime, day or night if I found myself in a situation I wanted to get out of.
Personally, I believe a father figure is hugely important. My Dad was a huge influence on shaping who I have become, he was a huge influence and still is in my life, we can go periods of time without speaking – he’s in New Zealand, I’m in the UK – and we’re still as close as ever. My Dad is who taught my older brother how to treat women – with respect, politeness and dignity – my brother was taught from a very young age to never ever hit me even when we would fight. I think that a father figure impacts a girl’s life hugely in respect to future relationships with men and the way we interact with the opposite sex.