Two Single Dads and a Former Prostitute!

When Radio 5 were chatting to me about appearing on their Men’s Hour slot I was informed that I would form part of a small panel consisting of another single dad and a woman who had been brought up by just her dad. They went on to tell me that this woman had fallen into prostitution and drug and alcohol addiction but was now in full recovery.

Interesting, I thought.

“Interesting” because one of the things I worry about (as do many single dads bringing up girls on their own) is how our daughters will form relationships with males outside of the pressure cooker that is a single dad household.  

Jon Wilde and I were chatting before the show. Jon had brought up his lad on his own and when Clare Gee joined us we were both discussing the pressures our children must go through constantly having to explain (or not explain) why they live with their Dad and not their Mum. We could tell Clare “got” this conversation.

In many ways our pre-broadcast conversations should have taped, because the three of us had really got going and the chat was fluent and meaningful and above all open an honest! Jon and Clare are highly articulate, funny and not backward in talking through some hard stuff! (It was an honour to have spent time with them)

Once live on air, the introductions to the three of us were made: It is true to say that at this point the three of us all looked at each other and almost got a fit of the giggles! To introduce Clare with the description of “former prostitute” fell a million miles short of who Clare was and is.

 Clare’s story is a compelling read. Tales of drugs, drink, and lots of sex are layered on top of vivid descriptions of emotional turmoil. I read the book yesterday. I read it with my OnlyDads hat on, but also as a father, who like Clare’s dad, must have spent many hours during Clare’s childhood wondering and worrying if he was doing the right things.

Her portrayal of men throughout the book fascinated me. Many (punters) come over as despicable, creepy and in some cases just sad. Hooked is not an easy read for a man. Some balance is struck with the occasional mention of her friend Jim – a salt-of-the-earth chap from Yorkshire. And her dad.

We get to hear a little bit about Clare’s dad. More often than not he is putting the ‘phone down on her. Angry sometimes. At other times I pictured a man seeking to secure a little self-preservation from a situation that must have felt beyond his ken and beyond his ability to help and support.

Clare traces the genesis of her slide towards an “emotional pit” to the time her mum put her on a plane from Africa to England to live with her dad who she hardly knew. And (again) with my OnlyDads focus, I ask myself simple questions:

What support was there for Clare and her Dad when the two of them spent those formative years together. How should Clare’s dad have dealt with and managed her relationship with her Mum (albeit thousands of miles away). There are no easy answers!

Meeting Jon and Clare reinforced for me the importance of the work OnlyDads can do. We are only scratching the surface at the moment. We have much to get on with.

Do look out for Jon’s writing – he’s skilled and witty and a lovely guy. I’ve asked him to guest post for us, so watch this space. As for Clare, well every good luck with the book. I know there is a sequel there too…!

Oh, and a few children down here want to talk to you about their “OddSocks” support project. But more of that anon.

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About onlydads

Single Dad living near Totnes in Devon. I founded www.onlydads.org in 2007 and live with my daughters Priya, 14 and Anya 11. I write about single parenting, work, overcoming trials and tribulations and sometimes not overcoming trials and tribulations.
This entry was posted in Bob blogs, Putting children first. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Two Single Dads and a Former Prostitute!

  1. Jon Wilde! There’s a name from the past. He was ‘my’ star freelance writer when I edited Loaded ten years ago. He is a fantastic writer and a lovely, warm human being. Very entertaining, super-self aware. Top top bloke. Please send my regards if and when you speak to him again.

    • onlydads says:

      top top bloke was my immediate reaction to him too.

      I will most certainly say “hello” next time we talk.

      Cheers Keith 🙂

    • Jon Wilde says:

      Hello Bob. Thank you for your kind remarks. It was a pleasure to meet you at the BBC. Let’s aim to keep in touch.
      Lovely to hear from Keith too. I often wonder what became of him. Had a great time with him at Loaded and I always appreciated his staunch support.
      My best wishes to you both.
      Cheers, Jon

  2. Leo says:

    Just stumbled across your blog and this post.

    I myself am a single dad in the States, and have an 8-year-old daughter. Her mom is in and out of the picture and sees my daughter around 4 times a year. So I struggle with how much I should be involved in keeping up their relationship. I also struggle with the dad/daughter dynamic in terms of how to address certain issues.

    For example, recently my daughter’s grandparents let me know that she really needed to start wearing a bra. I have no clue how to buy bras or how to have that conversation with my daughter. Luckily, the purchasing was done by her grandparents, as well as the initial conversation about wearing them. But her questions as to why she needs to wear them persist, and I constantly struggle with how much information to give her. She’s far to smart to accept “because I said so”, and the reasoning “you’re not old enough to understand” is wearing thin as well.

    I suppose it will be sooner than later that we start having the more mature discussions, but 8 years old seems so early…

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