Nathan Macintosh

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No dads. It's a thing.


I grew up without my dad around. Not that he was around for a bit and then left, he was never there. I'm in that group of people that other people feel bad for. The group who is supposed to go to jail, not be able to walk around normally or be inherently good at rapping or playing basketball.
"Your turn to choose."
"All right. Out of who's left, who had a good family life?"
"Me, me! Mom and dad were around!"
"Cool. I want nothing to do with you. I'll take you, 'no dad'. You got something to prove. You'll try to dunk from half. Let's go."
Not having a dad has shaped me in ways that some people wouldn't be able to understand, good and bad, but it's something I would not change at all. And I would argue, that although it's not 'normal', there is nothing wrong with not having a dad.

Growing up, none of my friends had both parents. None. It was mostly no dads, or they were divorced, or their mom wasn't around. That's just the way that it was. I didn't feel it was weird then. Everyone around me had the same situation, so how could it bother me?
"I don't have a dad."
"Oh, yeah? Me neither."
"What the hell! You either? This is ridiculous! We need some dads around here. Where the hell did they all go?"
"Calm down, man. You were fine two seconds ago."
"Give us dads or give us death!"
"...Okay, that's a little far."
Only when I went to college did I find out that my life was 'strange'. Everyone there had their parents, or at least knew both of them, so my life was fringe to them. People didn't understand it.
"Whoa, you don't have a dad? Is that why you're going to college? So that you don't end up being a deadbeat like him?"
"Ummm, no. It's just something I wanted to do."
"Really? Wanted to do because your dad left and with that there was a huge hole in your chest that you have decided to fill with schooling?"
"…You had your dad, right?"
"I did!"
"So why are you here?"
"...I guess... I don't... know."

Honestly, it's weird to me to think about people having their dads. Since I didn't live that way, I don't get it. You mean, there were TWO people in your house who you had to run things past? That seems harder than my life.
"Hey, can I sleep at Chris' house?"
"Well, me and your dad will have to have a sit down, write out the pros and cons of your question, and decide from there. Right, Harry?"
"Right, Alice. I have a list already started. Pro: I like Chris. Con: you won't be here in the morning to do the dishes. Alice?"
"Con: I will miss you. Pro: it'll give me and your father a bit of time to still not have sex."
"Look, guys, your answer took way too long. I have already graduated college, and me and Chris stopped being friends years ago when he started dating my ex-girlfriend. I don't even live here anymore. I am here for Thanksgiving and you just gave me an answer to a question I asked fifteen years ago. Thanks."
Only having one parent? You don't have to worry about this.
"Hey, can I stay at Chris' house?"
"...You're home? Yeah, sure."

One thing about not having a dad is that every once in awhile I will see an article about single parents. I really dislike when people say that you can't raise a child with only one parent. It is said as if the people who were raised by only one parent can't hear them.
"You can't raise a kid with only one parent. Can't do it. Unless you want a mutant kid who doesn't understand anything in life."
This is only ever said by people who were raised by both parents. It's said by them because they can't picture life any other way. Of course they would say that! If you grew up a certain way, it just becomes normal to you.
"You can't raise a kid without a pool in the backyard. Are you serious!? I grew up with a pool! Having a pool was one of things that was a constant in my life. You can't raise a kid without a pool! I had a pool! What the hell?!"

It's weird that people will get sad if I talk about not having a dad, when no one really expects dads to stick around. Nobody. Most people just sort of assume that men will take off when they have a kid.
"I have something to tell you. I am pregnant. And I've locked the doors and windows so that you can't leave."
"What? That's great! I mean, that you're pregnant. Why would I leave?"
"Yeah, as if you care. Why would you leave? You just said 'leave'. The doors are locked, Steve, and you are raising this kid!"
"What the hell? I want to!"
"Want to leave? The doors are locked, Steve! Why would you do this to me? This is a beautiful moment!"
Dads are not allowed to say that they are around for that reason.
"I am in my children's lives."
"You are supposed to be! What the hell is wrong with you?"
"But so many men aren't! Isn't it good that I am?"
"No! You're just a piece of trash that didn't pull a piece-of-trash move. Hug that kid!"

Dads are held to a really high standard. Moms have a lot more leeway. Moms can mess up for years and still be loved. Dads get a lot less chances and then are written off.
"My dad? Terrible. He wouldn't even compliment me when I made a good catch. I hate him."
Moms are loved almost no matter what.
"My mom? Yeah. She was rough. Used to beat me with the crafts that I made in school. I love her, though. I mean, she brought me into this world. I can't forget that. Love you, mom. Think about you every time I see popsicle sticks."

I've noticed that people become weird when I talk about not having a dad. Why? Especially in 2012. Do you know how many people didn't have a dad and still did good things with their lives? Barack Obama, no dad. Bill Clinton, no dad. Jay-Z, no dad! One day, kids will be so pissed to have their dads. 
"What the hell are you doing here?! I wanted to be somebody! Thanks a lot, dad!"

I'm reminded sometimes why it's good not to have a dad. The guy at the bar wearing a hockey jersey, screaming about women and drinking gross beer? I don't want to be that guy! I guarantee you he has a dad. Guaranteed! He didn't learn to act that way from his mom.
"Yeah, my mom used to get me to stay up late and say derogatory things about women while drinking Coors and talking sports. She's a great mother. I'm gonna call that slut right now."

When I was young and I'd see Maury episodes where grown men would cry on TV about not having their dads, I never understood that. If he wasn't around at all, how can you be so upset by it? He was never there! You probably never had a unicycle either; there are no episodes about that.
"Everyone, meet Chris. Chris says that he loses sleep, can't work and can't handle himself in relationships due to the fact that he has never had a Super Soaker XXP 175."
"Ooooooooohhhhhhhhh."
"That's right, Maury. I mean, I was supposed to have one! Year after year, I waited for it to come. Year after year, I was disappointed."
"That's truly a sad story. But I have some good news. We hunted it down and brought it here. So here it is, Chris' Super Soaker XXP 175!"
"BOOOOOOooooooo!"
'Squirt, squirt, squirt, full water spray, pump up to 'look out', squirt, squirt, squirt."
"Where the hell have you been!? You couldn't even show up for one birthday? Couldn't spray once when I graduated high school? I needed you! Ahhhhhh!"

Now that I'm older, I get why he left. Nobody cares about dads. Only when they are not around. I saw a man get on the subway holding his baby. Holding it! No stroller, just holding it in his arms. Nobody moved to give him a seat. No one! 
"Yeah, how does that feel? The mother held him for nine months! You can hold him for nine stops."
I've seen women get on with strollers and people give them seats. Get right up. A man holding his kid without wheels? Nothing. I get why dads leave. I wouldn't be surprised if he walked away right there.
"No seats, huh? Fine!"
"Waaaahhhhaaa!"
"The baby's yours now, train! Hope he doesn't become a criminal."


Twitter @nathanmacintosh
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