It was a Saturday night, and I was in the midst of my usual routine: squeezing into some tight-as-hell black pants before painting the town with my girlfriends.
When 2 AM rolled around, my phone blinked. Seeing as it was past midnight, I picked it up, expecting it to be my ex or some f*ckboy trying to get some action.
To my surprise (and chagrin), it was neither. Instead, I found multiple voice memos and voicemails from my estranged father.
I had always had a peculiar relationship with my father, to say the least. He and my mother divorced each other when I was just a baby. He fled to California, a place he still calls home, and left my mother as the sole caretaker of my sister and me.
My dad had been out of my life completely up until recently, when he popped up on my caller ID in the middle of the night.
There's no doubt I've always felt a sort of void created by his absence. One could say my tendency to begin unhealthy relationships with men who are bad for me has something to do with my “daddy issues.”
“Daddy issues” has become a coined phrase in American society. There’s a widely held belief that girls who grew up without father figures are man-hating f*ck-ups with Carrie Bradshaw-like issues -- aka we go for the Mr. Bigs over the Aidans and have no problem being 40 and single because we’ve spent our whole lives building up that much of an aversion to the opposite sex.
Well, those people couldn't be more wrong. I don't make poor decisions based on my relationship (or lack thereof) with my dad; I make bad decisions because I'm young and reckless.
Nonetheless, “daddy issues” is a touchy subject. But what can we do except laugh about it? There are even multiple hilarious social media accounts dedicated to bashing deep-rooted, father-related issues, and I admit I follow them religiously.
So here are all the times you blamed your poor judgment (or pure coincidence) on your dad:
You go for older men.
I’m a 25-year-old who’s scheduled to go on a date with a 36-year-old.
You want to date the exact opposite of your dad.
If my dad goes to bed cradling a bottle of Jim Beam in his arms, does that mean I should go for the straight-edge, emo guy who would sooner die?
You always have to have a guy around -- even if you don’t have feelings for him.
If you're not dating anyone seriously, you'll settle for the f*ckboy down the block who wants to “keep it cool,” because having someone around is better than having no one around.
You ignore that clingy guy with the dadbod’s drunk texts because he reminds you too much of your needy dad.
As if your father calling you at 2 AM in an effort to “reconnect” wasn’t bad enough, you spend your days shooing away lackluster guys you rejected within minutes of meeting them.
You incessantly go after unavailable men.
Whether they’re sociopaths who aren’t in touch with their emotions or jet setters forced to constantly be on the move for their jobs, you love chasing someone who's inherently unattainable.
There’s nothing sexier to you than knowing the guy you choose will inevitably peace the f*ck out.
You turn random strangers into replacement father figures.
The corner deli guy. The laundromat owner down the street. The Pakistani taxi driver. You didn’t have a dad around, so you’re spending the rest of your life creating deep bonds with nobodies. You let them reprimand you when you make stupid mistakes.
Somehow, it works.
You get really annoyed with someone who says the biggest grievance she has with her dad is that he kisses her on the cheek in public.
She has the “perfect” family unit. What the f*ck is she complaining about?
People mistakenly assume you want to call your lover “Daddy.”
Both on the streets and in between the sheets. Er, calling men “Daddy” was never really your cup of tea, but now that they threw it out there, it kind of rings a bell...
You view the men of the world through a cynical lens.
In your eyes, all men are pieces of sh*t. Even the ones with harmless intentions.
And you expect every good guy to leave you.
Poor good guys. They never had a chance.
You can’t talk about your dad when everyone else does, and it gets real awkward, real fast.
Father-daughter dances? Being walked down the aisle? Forget it. Your twice-removed cousin's uncle is probably walking you down the aisle on your special day, and you've learned to be cool with it.
People blame everything that's wrong with you on your having “daddy issues.”
And you're all, uh, I wasn't aware that my BAD SPELLING could be traced back to not having a father, but if you say so.
You know there’s a silver lining to it all.
After growing up without a strong male figure, you've realized -- the hard way -- that a strong, independent woman is more than capable of handling things on her own.
You never really needed one to begin with, because if you're reading this, that means you're here -- living, breathing and functioning, just like everyone else who did grow up with a father -- aren't you?
In the grand scheme of things, a father can guide his daughter, but he doesn't dictate the course of her life.
After all, Beyoncé said it best: “Who run the world? Girls.”