ManDaddy, huh? Yes. At the risk of implying I’m taking a drastic shift in lifestyle toward playing sugar daddy to wide-eyed twinks or becoming the first gay WWE caricature, (there’s nothing wrong with either of those, I just wouldn’t be believable in those roles) ManDaddy is the perfect name for the title of my new role brought about by the arrival of my daughter. It both hints at the boys-will-be-boys rough-housing gone by that had to go back and grab some pine and wait for its turn at the plate and the inflated male bravado I will have to carry with me everywhere like a rabid pitbull to show any other males interested in my daughter on any level, that I am not a man to be trifled with.
But more than these things, it’s the name for the rare breed of father in Los Angeles. Between all the gluten-free nonsense, hyper awareness and kale-ingesting, arts-loving testicle havers, are there men in LA? Yes. We are here. And I’m using the Royal ‘we’ because we seem to be few and far between and if I do find MEN in Los Angeles who like MEN things, they boil over into more of the douche category and these things CAN BE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE! Just because I like sports doesn’t mean I’m a date-rapist. And just because I like beer doesn’t mean I’m looking for a fight. When I call myself ManDaddy, I don’t mean to say “I’M A MAN!! BICEPS! CARS! RAWRR!” but that I’m an actual man. I fix things sometimes and pretend I can or did when I can’t. I wear too much flannel, I’ve never considered saying no to fried things. I don’t divulge emotional information mostly because I can’t access it, I have so much hair on my body and don’t concern myself with grooming it to appear less manly, that seems like vandalism. And, I like sports and action movies and games that involve guns and music to get punched in the face to.
My wife is The Vegan and we’re a fun pair, partly because we’re sort of an odd pair. You’d think she’d be married to a sensitive, earthy, politically active, Prius driving yogi. Nope, she married a dude. And, as an actor, I don’t find a lot in common with my fellow thespians. Did you see the Kings game last night? Do you want to go to this show where we try to knock each other on the floor? And “do you want to do something dumb or go break something”? Seem to fall on deaf ears when asked of an evolved human being, such as the typical Los Angeles actor.
And this half-masculinity seems to be getting more and more prevalent in 2013. Now don’t get me wrong, some of these dudes are my best friends in town and we do have things in common we like, but I bet if I lived in Brando’s day we really would have had some wild times, wait…he was bisexual-see, this is what I’m talking about.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, my daughter. Now having wanted to have kids for as long as I could remember, I aspired to having a son. Not instead of or only, but having a son was the first thought I had about having kids and any thoughts that followed pertaining to having a girl were only scary and didn’t involve baseball or martial arts or any fun boy things. Not because girls can’t do those but…whatever…its not what I thought of. I thought of the calamitous prospect of having a daughter. What if a boy is mean to her or tries to take advantage of her? What if it embarrasses her that I disfigure that boy and go to jail? What if I can’t disfigure that boy and he takes advantage of me? So many hairy what ifs.
But my wife didn’t want to know what we were having. She wanted this more than I wanted to know so that was what was happening, we were going to be surprised. Sort of surprised. We knew it’d be a baby and Irish and have a melon for a head. But aside from that, submitting to the unknown eliminated a lot of the over analytical guesswork of preparing for one type of baby or another. If he’s a boy, how much do I let him cry before I feel weird, when do I teach him to fight, how soon is too soon to tell him how to overcome being socially awkward when talking to a girl by feigning misunderstood genius? All those things. Or, if it’s a girl, where is the gun store, are chastity belts real and can I buy them on Amazon, how much would Liam Neeson charge to be my personal trainer? All these things. But I was left free to get lost in the joy of a person joining our family.
Now that having a daughter has happened. Its very real and I know its meant to be this way, at 10 weeks of age, here’s what I know:
-Any differing parental philosophies my wife and I share look much smaller now that she’s a girl. My wife’s a girl, I figure she’s got her ear to the ground on female things, who am I to say its better to raise a girl this way when I ‘m so ungirly as I’ve mentioned in grave detail?
-I want her to be a musical prodigy. I wanted this for a son too but it seems even cooler now that I have a daughter for some reason. I love Heart. I love Stevie Nicks. I’m all for my daughter being cooler than kids her age for many reasons, why wouldn’t being a guitar virtuoso be one of them? She has to play guitar because it obscures the midriff. And if she could play some other instruments to obscure other uncomfortable parts for me of her body, that’d be great too. One-woman band!
-She won’t take shit from anyone. Not if she’s like her mother and that means I married the right woman. While we were dating there was a time when I made some shit errors, some more egregious than others but it was made clear she didn’t stand for that shit and refused to be treated that way and would tell me in graphic specifics the kind of shit she wouldn’t take and what would happen to the person trying to make her take said shit in various scenarios. She’s terrifying, she’s like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. If you’re a woman that refuses to be mistreated and doesn’t let people walk all over you, you’re not a bitch you’re a person with self-respect. And that shit is attractive! My daughter will never not know what to say to a boy who wronged her or a friend that was mean to her. Her mother and I (who also doesn’t like to take shit from people, especially on the road) will let people know when they’re fucking up and she’ll be the one calling people out on their bullshit for herself or just standing up for a friend. She’s gonna rule the goddamn world.
-It’s getting better. My daughter came into the world right in maybe the middle of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s celebrity, she could see a woman president very soon. She could BE a woman president. No, she could be THE president and it wouldn’t be a big deal at all that she was a woman. She’s not fighting for women’s suffrage or begging to go have the opportunity to be educated. Maybe she’ll grow up to be the amazing kind of woman that helps women in places where they’re not allowed to be amazing.
-I’ll never negotiate the deal for her sex tape. And in that way, I’m already ahead of some fathers today.
-I’m an idiot and she knows! From the moment she was born, I feel this weird wisdom and superiority in her that makes me read into how she looks at me sometimes. And in case you had the thought, yep, that’s where I’m at. I read into looks my 2 month old baby gives me. I’m still in every sense the father and I come to her to soothe her and change her and play with her so my wife can take a one and a half minute shower. But I’m also the guy who’s new to her and she looks at me like WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? And I can tell that’s never going to go away and I almost prefer it that way. Baby cool, man.
-This child’s smartassery will put Bill Murray’s to shame. I’m a comedian. Her mother is a comedian. Our friends are comedians. Our work is comedy. Its everything we are. We’re snobs about it, like we’re shitty about it sometimes. We secretly and shittily make fun of what makes ‘normal’ people laugh in social situations. She’ll never be interested in a Tyler Perry movie. We will have problems dealing with her biting wit with authority figures. She will be too smart for her own good. She will be charming and engaging but she will also be blunt and quick. Its terrifying. For a long time, I said I didn’t want to date funny girls. Not even comedians, just girls who were funny. Because they are no walk in the park to fight with because as funny people, they know how to sting , they know what to say to cut you open. All your repressed failure pressure points. And women are hard enough to fight with, add biting wit on top of it and it’s a great recipe for a frustrated caveman tantrum. Not only did I marry a funny girl, I married a comedienne and the funniest one I’ve ever met. I really stepped off the deep end. Its like I went to the auto lot not wanting to buy a car that was dangerous and I rode home terrified on the world’s fastest crotch rocket. Not wise. Then I procreated with that woman and made someone with just as much wit and sarcasm from my wife PLUS ME. I’m so fucked.
- Speaking of crotch rockets. Goldie will never be on a motorcycle. Some of my buddies have motorcycles and uh, yeah…she’s not allowed on a motorcycle.
-Meeting first dates will play out more like the The Most Dangerous Game.
-She’ll be well read. Her mom amassed a public library before we met. All those books often get in the way of all of my dumb man shit.
-My wife is a fucking superhero. Seriously. I was in the room. For 3 days. And after it I watched her heal herself like fucking Wolverine. And needless to say I’m even more terrified of her than I was before.
-I make cute babies.
-I’m a good father.
-I also accidentally hit her head on a clothing rack trying to smell if she needed a change. She cried, I felt terrible.
-I’m not perfect.
-I’m a man.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeTruesdale