Pop Culture has been presenting surprising, though positive, images of Fathers in Pop Culture – there are many ways to be good dads. Now, however, it is time to showcase some bad dadding.
Exhibit A in the Pop Culture Gallery of Bad Dads: Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music. Last year, the 66 year old Mr. Ferry married the 24 year old ex-girlfriend of one of his sons. As my youngest used to say, “Ick, is yuck”. For all I know, Ferry pere et fils dash about the Riviera in a motorboat wearing matching monogrammed Speedos and toasting each other with Prosecco. But this poaching smacks of poisonous levels of male vanity. Ferry always struck me as a guy who spent a lot of time admiring himself in the mirror. I was raised in a home where, if you dawdled over your food, my dad would try to eat your dinner and you had to arm wrestle him if you wanted the extra cherry Danish. So, I’m OK with cross-generational rivalry – within limits. When I finally beat my Dad for the Danish, he bore it with good grace and didn’t turn around and try and scoop my girlfriend in revenge.
Rule One of not being a Bad Dad: Don’t Sleep With, Date or Marry your children’s exes.
Who has to worry about this other than Eurotrash pop stars? Well, a woman I knew in university married her ex boyfriend’s father. “Dad, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend Electra”. “Well, hello there.”
Dads, if you want a young girlfriend, why not get out of your slippers and leave the house to look for one? Beyond this being a basic no-eating-your-kids’-leftovers rule, it is a metaphor: Are you putting your kids’ happiness ahead of your own selfishness? Are you a slave to vanity? Are you trying to hold onto your youth/potency at the cost of your kids?