Here is a quote from a writer who lived on the Read more
Fathers are From Mars, Daughters are From Venus
Recently, dining out in a casual restaurant I observed a father and daughter sitting at the next table. There was quiet conversation over a beer while they waited for their meal. Shortly after the extra large pizza arrived, the daughter got up from the table with a shake of the head as though the pizza was making her suddenly ill. The father in a flash was left sitting alone seemingly bewildered. He explained to the kind waitress the pizza would now be ‘to go’. As she carefully took the pizza from the table I discretely observed this father to determine how this sudden change and seemingly moody, fickle behavior of his daughter affected him. He was composed I thought, concerned if not resigned. This had obviously happened before.
This observation of two perfect strangers and their relationship to one another sent me into a reverie of introspection (because it’s more fun to analyze strangers rather than our own relationships, right?). It seemed the precarious and tumultuous nature of the relations between fathers and daughters was a universal theme. Did all fathers have trouble understanding this female creature they call their daughter? Is it the fathers are from Mars, daughters are from Venus problem? I can think of a few examples; Jane Fonda and Henry Fonda or Tatum O’Neal and Ryan O’Neal. These are very public examples of the difficulties and pain in these familial relations. In their minds, no matter how hard these fathers try, there is always a shadow of doubt or some unexpected drama regarding their daughters. Extra precaution is required as opposed to relating to their sons.
As for us daughters do we take our unresolved issues with daddy and find them in the man we choose to marry? Unconsciously of course, because why on earth would we think we’re going to resolve something between our fathers and ourselves in a husband? I have to confess, there were some similarities between my father and my first husband. Like Carrie Fisher says in her stand up act Wishful Drinking, “My father was a short, Jewish singer.” “My first husband was a short, Jewish singer.” This gets a big laugh from the audience for obvious reasons.
I shared my father with four siblings. The fact that there were moments in my childhood that I thought I had successfully gotten the best parts of my dad while my siblings had to put up with the other parts, is a testament to his parenting skills. My father gave me a bottle of Chanel no.19 when I was 15 upon return from his travels, a token of his love for his daughter. Mainly it was a way to get me to stop wearing the cheap ‘perfumes’ my friends and I were wearing at the time. I wore that Chanel perfume for several years and the smell of it today, will take me back to my youth and all the teenage angst that went along with it.
Are the challenges between fathers and daughters universal? I have a message; Fathers, don’t give up on your daughters. We may be moody, fickle and queasy when something is bothering us. Even though we get annoyed at your questions, deep down we just want your approval and attention. Keep taking us out for dinner even if you have to take it home in a box. Keep bringing us home trinkets from your travels so that we know you miss us. I leave you with this beautiful guide for fathers. 50 Rules for Fathers of Daughters by Michael Mitchell. If this touches you, send the link to the father of your daughter. I’m sure he will appreciate the gesture.
Are fathers indeed from Mars while us daughters are truly from Venus? What is your relationship like with your father today? What are your challenges or joys? I would love to hear from you.
To find out more about these Fathers and Daughters;
Jane and Henry In On Golden Pond an academy award winning film, they starred in as father and daughter. A revealing performance by both of them and the worth watching as a case study, but also as a summer classic.