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Thursday, November 04, 2010

How did Dad become the family whipping boy?

I got a haircut yesterday. It was a bit shorter than I intended but I'm happy enough with it. I walked into the usual banter at the office but none of it was actually unkind, even from old friends and colleagues who are extended a free pass in that area.

It wasn't the same when I got home. The three women in my life looked at me and said "Oh my God!" This wasn't said in a good way. Later on that evening they were still tutting at me. Their central objection was that it was too short. Obviously there's a remedy for that.

Now clearly if the shoe had been on the other foot and I had reacted in anything like the same way when they came back from the hairdressers I would expect to be accused of everything from sexism through rudeness to mental cruelty.

I'm not looking for any sympathy but I do think it indicates how Dad is the only member of the contemporary family that the other members no longer think they have to be careful with. Everybody else is surrounded by an eggshell area to which they are entitled by virtue of having given birth (which is serious) or being a teenager (which is a passing condition) or having a hangover (which is fleeting).

Not Dad. Dad is, as Bruce Springsteen pointed out last week, furniture. Dad is the only person in the world whose clothes you can criticise, whose head you can pat, whose gut you can prod without the slightest chance of any come-back at all. But those people should watch out. Because I've got a blog now.