Upon reading this (quite brilliant) post my mind turned towards an evening from late summer. I had taken Priya and Anya to our local beach. Armed with two body boards, 12 Richmond sausages, some hot dog rolls, a bottle of Doombar, a litre of coke, and a disposable BBQ we went about setting up “camp”.
As we were taking our spot (same place every time we go), a family were walking up the beach behind us. Mum, Dad, two children. Dressed head to toe in Fat Face and Boden clothes this family oozed wealth. The Dad might as well have worn a sweat shirt with “senior partner” written all over it. Their beach “kit” was cumbersome but very much in keeping with the overall package.
On the face of it – we were talking a model family. I noticed Dad playing with his children in the water – he was full of energy and his children were clearly loving it. Meanwhile Mum was laying out their picnic – that too had all the look of a Fortnum and Mason extravaganza. They seemed to have (probably did have) everything.
The comparison with my own worn-out demeanour and cheap sausages and daughters playing on their own was crunching! Such moments can be alarming in their clarity. Single parenting and a constant lack of decent disposable income has been deflating. In every sense of the word.
Such deflation takes any feeling of being an “alpha male” sailing off into the sunset. Let me put this simply. There are times when I feel completely useless as a man.
I have lost count of the times I am asked “what’s it like being a single dad – it must be especially difficult with daughters”.
My answers vary – but by and large I feel like those mathematicians who throughout the ages have tried to square the circle. Many have given it their best shot and dedicated a life-time’s work to solve the conundrum. Little knowing it can’t be done.
Like the mathematicians – I give of my best and sometimes feel I am getting close; but at the end of the day, I always feel that something is missing.
Good effort, but no cigar!
It’s a strange feeling. Seeing that “model” dad on the beach did not make me jealous. It was, in truth, lovely to see a family so in-tune with each other and relaxed and happy. But I sort of know that this particular scene of near perfection has always escaped me. Or have I escaped it?
I asked a close mate the other day why it is that I am not settled down with someone I can love and who can love me back. “I’ve got no idea” was not the most helpful answer.
But there again, I don’t know the answer either. What I do know is that embarking upon a new relationship with “Beta Male” tattooed on your forehead is never going to be that appealing to others.
Cheers Keith – thank you for prompting this post!