I never had a Dad growing up. He left at an early age, for reasons that are still unbeknownst to me. I asked my Mother once what had happened and she said 'Your father couldn't see past his own nose, let alone the beautiful people around him'. I decided then that I didn't want to know my Dad through my Mothers eyes, I would choose to see him though my own. He left my Mother, my younger sister and myself and has never been back. Mum has done an incredible job raising us into well adjusted, happy young women, but when I hear my friends bitching or praising their Dads, I often wonder what impact not having one has had on my life, my personality, my future. A 'Father figure' has to be as important to a girl growing up as a Mother figure surely, which would mean that I was missing half of the upbringing to which I was entitled.
I have made a list of things that I have learned by reading various books and novels based around father daughter relationships (there are a lot), things that I think if my Dad were around he would have taught me.
Intelligence is the most attractive thing in any woman
I'd like to think my Dad found intelligence sexy, seeing as my Mum is such a smart woman. I'd like to think he'd have made me read the newspaper or buy me a new book every week or taught me history over the dinner table. I wish my Dad was there to tell me that my beauty comes from inside my head, not outside it.
That money is important
I think my Dad would have taught me that money is what makes the world go around, it's the currency that this Earth uses as a means of exchange. He would have explained that to me as a child so that I understood the simplicity of it. You learn as much as you can possibly absorb and then use the knowledge to generate money, you then use that money to buy food and clothes and shelter. Easy.
That there is very little an average man won't say if he thinks it will get you into bed
I've had to learn many hard lessons about men, and while my mother has been an absolute champ about telling me how they work, I really would have loved the information to have come from an actual male. I wish my Dad was around to explain to me the simplicity of a mans brain and that when sex is on the horizon, how easy it is for the male species to morph into whatever they think will help get them to the finish line. I wish Dad would have taught me that not all men are animals but that I have to be responsible with my sexuality and my beauty because men can be irresponsible with theirs.
That success is the best revenge
Back when I was getting bullied in school for being nerdy and skinny and spotty by all the pretty girls who had boyfriends and money, I wish my Dad would have taught me that the best thing I could possibly do would be to show them how successful I could become. Not to lower myself or degrade myself but to hold my head high, educate myself and prove that their ridicule wouldn't stop me from exceeding all expectations for a small skinny spotty girl.
That if a man has sex with you the first time you meet, more often than not he will lose respect for you
I've learnt this one the hard way, and even though my Mother has said it, not in so many words, again I would have absorbed it a bit better coming from an actual male. It really has to be experienced to be believed, how a man can promise you the world and genuinely really like you until you have sex and quick as a flash he can change. He can grow cold and distant and eventually fade away, on to someone who 'has more respect for herself'. I wish my Dad would have explained why men and women are different like that, why sex can be a beautiful thing for two people to do when they like each other instantly, for a woman, but sometimes for a man it's different - and while it's not fair, that's just the way it is.
That infidelity exists, but so does monogamy
I wish Dad was able to explain the infidelity thing a lot better to me instead of me trying to understand on my own. I wish my Dad was there to explain why a man or a woman would purposefully risk putting someone they love in danger of being emotionally damaged for life. Why that person wouldn't communicate with their partner and ask why it wasn't working before indulging in their wandering eye and letting it overtake. I wish Dad was around to show me what monogamy looked like, first hand.
That College is so important
I dropped out of College in favour of travelling. I felt that anything I was learning between the concrete walls of the university, I could learn by myself from reading and I did just that. I read about Art History, about child psychology, about the history of Politics. I enriched my mind with everything that interested me and even things that didn't. I wish my Dad was around to explain that while education is so important, it's the College experience that's worth sticking around for. The College balls, the days in the pub, the flirting, the drinking, even the hot days in the packed library. I wish Dad had been there to tell me all the good parts of his College life that had nothing to do with the learning.
That you will be wrong and to admit it when you are
I never had the pleasure of seeing my parents argue which I think people underestimate when they have two parents. Seeing two people you love and respect think they're both right and witness both personalities having it out. I wish I'd seen that and I wish my Dad was there to tell me that being stubborn isn't a good thing, when you're wrong, say you're wrong - which you will be at times, no doubt about it.
That people die
Yes, from the moment we learn about death we are forced to understand that people die. I wish my Dad was there to explain to me when my friend died suddenly at the age of 17 that people die even when you think they shouldn't, even when you know they had so much more to give, even when it's too difficult to understand, people die. And it's totally and completely shit.
That it is never okay to hit someone
A friend of mine once told me that their Mother hits her Father on a regular basis. When they fight she'd commonly give him a smack across the head. I used to hit guys, sometimes out of flirtation, sometimes when they angered me. I wish my Dad had told me that just because you're a woman, that doesn't give you the right to rise your hand to anyone. To use your words instead and that violence is never, ever the answer.
That I am, and always will be, the most beautiful girl in the world
Last of all, I remember one of my best friends, about 17 years old, walking into her kitchen before we went on a night out. Her Dad (who I thought was the greatest man in the world) looked at her with such love and adoration. She said 'How do I look Dad?' to which he replied 'You could walk in here dressed in a black sack and you would still be the most beautiful girl in the world'. He didn't care that I was standing behind her and neither did she, because everyone in the room knew that he really did believe that she was the most beautiful girl in the world. I wish I had a Dad who really believed that but only hope that wherever he is, he still does.