Bonding with my Dad

tiepicThe other day I went out to my parent’s house to drop my daughter off.  She and Dad had a date, the father/daughter Valentine’s Dance my dad has been taking her to since she was little.

My parents and I were talking about the plans my wife and I had for the evening and I mentioned the shirt and tie I’d be wearing.  My dad’s eyes lit up.  “Yeah,” I explained, “I’ve been getting into ties lately.”

Dad seemed delighted and he asked me what knots I knew and wanted to know about my ties.  My mom was also interested and after I told them about my dress shirt and tie buying experience, wanted to know what size shirt I wore.  I couldn’t remember right off and she asked,”Are you a 32/33?”

“Yeah, with a 16/16.5 neck.”

“You wear the same size as your father” and she smiled the slightly amused but proud smile that I love seeing on her face.  Man, there were years I where I didn’t see anything close to that smile on her face in association with me.  My dad and I lined our shoulders up and, sure enough, same arm length.

My mom continued with some tie buying advice, and said if I wanted to see what was currently fashionable, I should check out what the TV news correspondents are wearing and the knots they use.

My mom and dad have been doing deep cleaning on their house, hoping to put it on the market next year (hoping the market gets better, of course) and so there were interesting artifacts on display throughout.  There was an absolute pile of ties on the dining room table.  Mostly really loud patterned ones, stuff I wouldn’t wear unless it was a joke.  But there were a few Dad thought I’d appreciate, and I did.  Dark jewel tones with subtle patterns.  My mom commented that it seemed I had taste similar to my brother and his husband.

I left the house with a huge smile on my face and I still smile when I think about it.   Not only did Dad and I bond over male garments, but Mom was positive and attentive and supportive.  Wow, they have come a long way.  We all have.

This experience goes along with one I had with my mom last year.  We were having a birthday party for my wife and I was sporting a new western shirt, purchased from the men’s department.  I was butch through and through, and definitely feeling it.  My mom came through the door, saw me and came directly to me with a big smile on her face.  She said,”That shirt looks great on you.  Great style and the color looks good, too.”  She then delivered a big hug.  Now the hug isn’t odd, but my mom hasn’t commented on my warddrobe much since I was in high school.  These two experiences have been very affirming.  Could it be that they can see how much more comfortable I am in my skin lately?  That I do look good and comfortable and right expressing my masculinity?  That’s really what I’m starting to feel and it’s pretty amazing.

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