Face it: The older you get, the more you become like your dad. This realization might come in the form of an innocent (but embarrassing) lack of rhythm, or perhaps far nastier, relationship-damaging behaviors. Either way, following in your father’s footsteps can certainly feel inevitable at times, since his genes and your upbringing all help drive you to act the way you do.
Knowing that, it only seems fair to blame your dad for your actions, if only because, as this year has taught us repeatedly, taking responsibility for your own actions is for suckers.
Contributor Chris Bourn used the “dad dance” to explore why we can’t help but act like our fathers later in life:
“Dancing like your dad: You can dread it, you can deny it, but you can’t dodge it. Even the silkiest-hipped individual will, at some point, turn into something resembling a lobster being tasered whenever he attempts to move rhythmically.”
Staff Writer John McDermott came to the terrifying (but scientifically accurate) realization that he inherited his father’s body odor:
“I have vivid memories of walking by my dad’s soiled jogging clothes as a kid, and doubling over because of the stench. He smelled like he was sweating malaria water. And now, I inflict the same olfactory terrorism on whomever is unfortunate enough to stand next to me at the gym.”
Staff Writer Tracy Moore dissected a study claiming that good fathers can decrease their daughter’s likelihood of being promiscuous early in life:
“The study, out of the University of Utah, and published in Developmental Psychology, looked at pairs of biological sisters who, due to separation or divorce, spent different amounts of time with their dads. The sisters were at least four years apart in age, and the parents had split by the time the younger sister was 14. Given that older daughters would have had more exposure to their father, the researchers wanted to know what impact the quality of fathering — his supervision, warmth, connectedness and engagement — would have on what they called ‘risky sexual behavior’ for her, as compared with her younger sister.”
Moore later described how she never knew her father, but still somehow ended up loving his favorite cheap beer:
“For every way we were the same, it turned out that I’d had enough of my mother’s restraint in me to buffer his excess. We may have both loved old cars and music and never quite taking the world as it is, but in the end, rather like the cheap beer we both loved, I was just a watered-down version of him. The beer that had saved me had drowned him. That was nothing to toast to, but the same impulses in both of us, wrung out two different ways, was something never to forget.”
Contributor Martin Robinson discovered that actually, you can really blame your father (and mother) for just about every problem you have:
“Those early years are extremely important. When we’re kids, we observe the actions of our parents — how they react to difficult situations, to other adults and ourselves — and then we mimic what we see. It’s a subtle thing in operation, but at the same time, perfectly obvious: Kids are incredibly vulnerable and open, and also constantly imprinted with information on how to behave and, crucially, how to feel. This information is what we base our own behavior on later in life.”