Our Story Begins:
Dads And Daughters… Did I Set The Bar Too High?
Everyone told my daughter she should go out on a date with him. He was quirky, funny, a little sarcastic.
“He came in with some friends to my dorm room,” she said, describing the guy, “and he recognized the poster on my wall!”
This, by the way, is that poster. It came with my LP by the Who, Face Dances. Abbi loves the record.
“YOU know the Who?!” she inquired?
“Yeah…” he informed her. “They’re okay, not great though.”
As she recounted the story I could see the deflation in her eyes.
“You set the damn bar too high, Dad,” she spat at me! “I guess I could’ve gotten over his musical tastes, but I doubt it.”
On more than one occasion this line – setting the bar too high – has come up in conversation about dating with my daughter. It’s not just musical tastes, it’s a big picture. When I was critical of an article that painted men in a far too disparaging light my daughter informed me: “you’re not the typical guy, Dad, that’s the problem!”
Related: Our Story Begins: With a Flourish
I sincerely wanted to know, though for selfish purposes, what made me a problem. If I am going to actually venture out into the world looking for companionship again…maybe I did set the bar too high myself. My daughter informed me there were a lot of ways. I cook. I act, let’s face it, a bit silly and bizarre at home, just to get the kids laughing (not in public, unless much Scotch is involved).
“I’ve seen the gifts you give people you care about,” my daughter informed me. “You pay attention. Most guys don’t do that.”
When I was confused, my daughter pointed them out to me: her favorite movie was Charade with Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant. I found one of the old movie posters and got it for her for Christmas; When a friend admired a ring I wear every day, one made of a typewriter band, I got one for her for Christmas; When a colleague mentioned liking a book that’s out of print…I found one and got it for them.
“Most guys would get you a blender,” my daughter informed me. “They wouldn’t pay that much attention. You set the bar too high,” she informed me. “I don’t think the guy for me is out there.”
It’s here I have the frank conversation. It’s not “the” guy, it’s the “right” guy.
Sure, I hate the thought of my daughters dating, or worse, having sex; no Dad likes that. But if I can make sure they know they’ll find a lot of the wrong guys in search of the right one, I’m happy. I don’t know if there is “the one.” If that was the case, let’s face it, prevailing logic says I got my shot and she passed away. My kids deserve someone who will listen, engage, and care enough to be their friend, not just their love. Love is easy. Liking who you’re with…that’s hard. If it wasn’t, finding the right person would be easy.
Never settle, I tell them. That’s not setting the bar too high.. That is looking for what you deserve.
But I did have to tell her . . . any guy who doesn’t like Pete Townshend. . . should never set foot in my house.
What about you? What lessons do you teach your kids by your actions? By your lessons? Are you setting a bar too high, too?