So, last night, I spent some time at the house of some folks to whom I am only tangentially related - my stepmother's sister being the nearest "relation." This was a house where, snuggled cozily amongst the family pictures next to the fireplace was a photo of the husband and wife with their arms around President Shrub, all three grinning mightily (how they managed to get to the Prez for a photo-op might be slightly explained by mentioning that said husband owns his own small prop plane). This is the side of the family where the patriarch (stepmom's father) asks me if I'm still a Democrat and then says, "I still love you," as though there was some question about that.
I wasn't terribly comfortable there, but then... I wasn't much less comfortable there than I am at my own father's house.
I get this feeling that I'd much rather be my father's son than my father's daughter.
He got a volleyball coaching book for one of his Christmas presents (he coaches high school girls volleyball extracurricular stuff in his free time). The book has lots of advice in it about talking to officials and other coaches and such. Last night, the passage he read aloud was about intra-team interactions and not letting mistakes bring an aura of negativity to the team. The author deigned to inform us that boys will glare at the mistake-maker just after the mistake but then let it go and give a high-five to the same person moments later when they make a good move. Girls, on the other hand, we are informed, will hold a grudge for weeks, even a lifetime.
My dad read this aloud as though he thought it were great advice to point out. He listed... I think one example from his coaching experience. My youngest sister agreed with the assessment.
I felt the blood rising to my face as I struggled to quell my anger. An unsupported, uncited assertion that clings desperately to old, tired clichés about women's bitchy back-stabbing behaviors and... My dad is saying, "Yes. This is true." I felt only a slight bit of relief when my stepmother called this out. She, like me, disagreed fervently with the book's assertion, but could not convince my dad and dropped it by saying, "I'm not gonna convince you, you're not gonna convince me, let's let it go." I tried to back up my stepmother, but, frankly, I'm terrible at talking to most people about such things, let alone my father with whom I have rocky and emotional history. Plus, unlike the book's author and apparently my father, I hesitate to make assertions without some kind of evidence - and without half an hour with The Google, I had nothing.
All of which I describe for the purpose of pointing out that however much he might deny it when pressed, it seems clear to me that there is both a significant level of cognitive dissonance living in my father's brain and a non-negligible level of visceral hatred for his daughter. After all, I, unlike his non-existent son, will hold grudges for a lifetime - petty, cruel girl that I am.
Maybe it's true. I certainly hold a grudge against my father. Probably for life.
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