Women Without Daddies Are Totally Undateable

Janelle Harris

Fatherless childYou just gotta love generalizations. All people like this do this. All people like that do that. At some time or another, you’re going to find yourself statistically or socially shoved into a category that you didn’t even know you were supposed to be in until some stranger with no relevance to your life whatsoever herds you on in to the lump.

Hence why I was so interested (with just a twinge of infuriation) in a survey of men published in June’s issue of Ebony, which included what may very well be the most ri-damn-diculous statement ever printed on those pages: “Don’t ever marry a woman who doesn’t have a father, because she has no clue how to treat a man.”

Well good skooga mooga. Not only do I get to enjoy an upbringing sans a daddy, I apparently can look forward to a lifetime of singledom because, according to this genius, women without fathers are dating toxic. Need to scare a man away? I’m your gal. 

The article’s tomfoolishness was pointed out to me by my friend Qadira, a fellow creative type and sister in deadbeat dad-ness. Her outrage was contagious. To say a chick is out of the running because a grown man couldn’t muster up the maturity and basic human instinct to love and protect her isn’t said gal’s fault. Even crazier than that idea — and I hear at least five dimwitted ideas every single day — is the fact that this man is spreading this concept, advising his friends and even his students to beware the bastard, fatherless woman.

Since when does having a father teach you about having a man? Even piecing it together sounds incestuous. The connection escapes me. Besides that, Lord knows I’ve come across all kinds of guys with mothers who don’t know A, B, or C about being in a relationship with a woman. If that’s his logic, what happened to them? He might need to check his brethren because they’re jacking up his case. This is just backward, country thinkin’.

It’s another way to divide women, to make one set of ladies desirable and another set not-so-much. Another parameter we have to meet. Another standard to operate under. Another thing we have to worry about. Another attribution to our singleness. And really, another issue that’s out of our hands.

If you adhere to his piddly poo poo theory, I guess that makes me unworthy of being a wife because I’ve never had a father. I’ve never cuddled my forehead under his chin while we watched TV together, never ran home from school to tell him some pointless, rambling story, never had him pin a corsage on me for my high school prom, carry my stuff to my dorm room when I went away to college, or listen under the hood when my dilapidated car was making a squeaky, scraping noise.

For as many years as I’ve been alive, my father has been a figment of my imagination, a figure shrouded in as much mystery as the tooth fairy and as much relevance as, say, a seamstress in a nudist colony, which is pretty darn irrelevant. I’ve never met him, I’ve never talked to him, and aside from two or three yellowed, ancient pictures that my mom saved of him from the height of his Afro-wearing days back in the '70s, I’ve never seen him. The same goes for my whole estranged paternal family. Grandparents, aunts, cousins, uncles, the entire brood.

Some of us pick up inadvertent lessons on how to behave in a relationship from watching our parents. Some of us don’t have that luxury, but it doesn’t mean that the parents we have didn’t do a bang-up job of making us good marriage material. I was blessed to have a mother who made me hardworking and honest, a grandmother who instilled faith in God, generosity, and kindness, and a grandfather who bestowed his sense of humor and life-of-the-party-ness (at least I’d like to think so). All those qualities will make me a blessing to some fine man one of these days.

Just because you have a father in your life doesn’t mean he’s a good dad. In fact, I could’ve been even more jacked up from interactions with my father than I would’ve been if he hadn’t gone AWOL. So Ebony dude’s theory? He needs to keep that mess to himself.
Are women who grew up without fathers at a disadvantage in the dating world? Did you learn how to treat a man from your relationship with your father?

Image via a_whisper_of_unremitting_demand/Flickr

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