Every Father’s Day the catalogues come in the mail with smiling granddads, dads and their child or children on the front. They are all handsome, the type of men and boys you’d expect to see in the catalogues; and I don’t have a problem with that. But it has often made me think from my own perspective; do I look like a dad?
When you look at those men – the dad and the granddad – like many male models they have chiselled jaws, squared off sideburns, and the well-kept short hair that could secure them a place in the armed forces or emergency services. But right now I don’t and since I was a teenager rarely have.
For most of my life since the age of thirteen I have grown my hair long and then cut it when I want a change (or am looking for a new job) and whilst it might be reflective of the music I listen to (hard rock, heavy metal and country) I would rather it been seen as me doing what I like and changing my look whenever it suits me, not to be rebellious; the female of our species does it and no one questions their decision to do so, or thinks they are speaking out, so why does it matter if a man has long hair?
I also sport a beard and have done for as long as my wife and I have been together, and she likes me better with it (she’d love me no matter what, I’d like to think), but I like the look I’ve got going on right now so that, good people of the online world, is me.
But as I normally do when faced with an introspective of my own, I externalise it and think of how my “issue” might also be experienced by others out there. And I am sure that in a world with seven billion inhabitants I am not the only one thinking this. I know that many of my own fears, disappointments, questions, and reflections of being a parent, or in my case, a dad are being experienced by many other dads out there.
How do I know this? I know because I am part of a breed we call Dad Bloggers. I belong to a small group of men who wear their hearts on their sleeves, who take a look in the proverbial mirror and wonder whether they are “doing this whole dad thing right.” And some of them, like me might have looked in an actual mirror and also asked the eponymous question from the title of this article.
So what DOES a dad look like?