Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Project

"You are going to be my project the next few weeks," my father told me this afternoon as I was taking my medications over at his house. "We're getting your mind straight and now we are going to work on your appearance."

"Oh, shit," I thought. This was going to be another of my father's grandiose plans to reinvent Andrew.

"Tomorrow, I want you to go get your hair cut and styled," he said, handing me forty dollars. "After that, I want you to start jogging with me every night."

"I have my job," I protested. "George's mom is paying me to drive him around every night."

I didn't mention the George drinking part.

"Why can't he drive?" my father then asked, much to my chagrin.

"He has a drinking problem like me and we don't want him to get another DUI."

"I never did like you hanging around that George," my father then said.

If it were up to my father, he would actually go so far as to pick my friends for me – no doubt, the boringly middle class automatons from his circle of friends.

"I want you to start dressing up everyday," he then said. "Take pride in yourself and your appearance for a change. Quit wearing those old t-shirts and blue jean shorts and for god sakes go buy you some new tennis shoes."

I was growing frustrated with this conversation. I hate "dressing up." My father can be such a busy body.

"I also want you to go down to the eye doctor and get some new contacts that you can wear. I will pay for them. You look better without glasses. I will get your mother to make an appointment."

Like I said, dad was trying to reinvent me. I had the choice of acting surly and non-cooperative or giving in and bowing down to my father's wishes. It is best not to make waves I decided. My father is one of the most headstrong and stubborn old goats I have ever encountered and I just didn't have the will nor the fortitude to contest him and his plans for me.

"Dad has put me on his reinvent Andrew plan," I told Rosa later on the phone.

"I get tired of how your father treats you," she replied. "You are thirty five fucking years old!"

"He means well," I said. "He just wants me to be upper middle class acceptable."

"Putting on airs you mean," Rosa replied.

I laughed.

"Yes, putting on airs."


PipeTobacco said...


I too think your father is taking things too damn far. Telling a thirty-five year old man how to dress, how to wear his hair, what to do.... it is rude, obnoxious and inappropriate.

Telling you to go get contact lenses?!?! I think what he is trying to do is to change your looks so he can fix you up with some female of his choosing so you will stop hanging around with Rosa and/or George.

I really do not understand why he thinks this is appropriate, nor why you accept this.

He will likely coerce you into jogging with him specificallynto get you away from George.


Grad007 said...

As Pipetobacco suggested, maybe there's someone your father would like you to meet.

Reading what you wrote about your father presuming to tell you what to do with your time makes me feel angry. When I visit my mother, she presumes that I will stay with her, and assumes the right to organise my time around herself. By working with a therapist, I sometimes managed to stand up for my right to make my own decisions during my last trip back to the town where I grew up.

It wouldn't be so easy for your father to put you in this situation if you lived further away. When are you moving into your new home ? :-)

Jay M. said...

It does seem a bit overbearing all at once, doesn't it?

Maybe if you talk with him about it, calmly and logically, he might see that it's a lot of change all at once. Maybe you guys could come to a compromise. Get a few new shirts, and some new shoes. Maybe some stylish glasses or something.

Meet him halfway, but point out to him that he would also be reluctant in that situation. To have someone else criticize his appearance and the way he's been doing things?

It's natural to be a bit defensive in that situation.

david mcmahon said...

G'day from Australia,

I enjoy reading your work. You always connect.



Blue Gardenia said...

Andrew, us sick dudes like to dress the way we feel. The other day I noticed that people were wearing shorts and sandals. I was bundled up in a coat. It was 82 degrees. But I feel safe in certain clothes. However, it doesn't hurt to smarten yourself up a bit from time to time. Better clothes can mean a better mood and outlook. Your father might be being kind in a gruff old way. Let him do something nice for you in his ham-handed, male way. You'll never be a middle-class automaton anyway so why worry?

KYRIE said...

Andrew, count ur blessings that he has not called for "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy" people to shape u up! But just in case, u better watch out!
Contact lenses are not the most suitable thing for many. If u are the forgetful or careless type, u might forget to take it off on time or maintain it properly, n ur eyesight might get affected!N What bout all the contact lense solutions in the market tht is damaging the eyes.
I personally wear only black t-shirts with old jeans most of time and people comment tht I look untidy n messy but hell I am comfortable with wht I wear. I am not going to wear pink dresses just 2 look more lady like! So I feel 4 u dude!

Melanie said...

ack. do you think this will blow over?

you know...i don't think it's a coincidence that he's such a busybody. codependency, perhaps. he's the "Fixer".

abbagirl74 said...

Will there be pictures of you after you are done? I love makeovers!

however, I would love to see some pictures. Is the camera completely lifeless?

Terri said...

with the exception of him picking your clothing and trying to oust some of your friends, these other things are only him trying to help you or make things better for you. Jogging is good, most people would rather have contacts and a hair cut is a regularly needed thing too. He's just being a dad, slightly overbearing, but we know and you know he's just like that right?

2 LMZ FARMS said...

I think your Dad has your best interest in heart. Do you really think it's awful that maybe he wants you to find someone? I know as a Mom, I want my kids to look their best. Then again, I'm a fine one to speak, I wear jeans, boots, spurs, t-shirts, and no makeup. Hang in there and I wish you the best. You still haven't answered my question, and I'm still waiting. haha Have a good one.

Cheryl said...

I'm thinking this will be short-lived on your father's part. I think it's better sometimes to just humor your Dad. Yes, you're 35, you're a man, it's not his business. Maybe he thinks if you look better you'll be better? Who knows. He'll be in your business for a while, but it will pass. He needs you, you know? This project is as much for him as it is for you. Good luck! (I know the haircut part will be especially hard. I hope you have a stylist that makes you feel comfortable.)

justLacey said...

how about meeting him half way? all parents like to see their children make the best of themselves. that being said, sometimes we don't know what's really in style or normal for someone of that age. so maybe just do some of the stuff he wants and not the stuff you're really against? i know for myself when i look good, i feel good. i don't always bother though. sometimes my clothes are old and sloppier than i would like, but i always do my hair and wear some make up so i don't look totally like i don't care. i would like to see some pictures too if you decide to go through with it. you're already handsome so how bad could it be?

zirelda said...

I think I understand what your father is trying to do Andrew. And it's not only him. I'm a hippie chick living in a corporate world and I'm told how I will dress in order to be acceptable in this world.

It's not such a bad thing. It just is.

When I go home, I put on my Tevas and my sunglasses and my hippie shirts.

And then I go through times when I have to reinvent. Enjoy it if you can look past it.

Red Robin. said...

Two things come to my mind Andrew.

One, your old man's taken an inch, now he wants that mile.

Secondly, trees are rooted strong, yet they bend and sway with the wind.

I'm still enjoying your blog. Intelligent and insightful always.

All the best mate.

Miss Valentine said...

Thank you for your comment! You write in a refreshingly honest voice, and hence I've linked your blog :)



Are you sure your father isn't really the meddlesome jewish mother in law trying to workover the appearance to make you socially acceptable?
Hang in know more so than anyone, that no matter how dressed up you are, the pain of inner challenges doesn't change. If this pacifies your dad, pacify him, but don't change who you are.
look at it this way, it's an opportunity to get something new. Maybe you could drop the hint that not only are you willing to go through these "changes," but you'd like to start capturing the changes daily with your camera..oh, wait, dad, I think you'll need to include a camera along with the new threads and hairdo."
Make light of it, you know you can't change him. He's the Irregular person, not you.

C. R. Morris said...

For someone who is so unacceptable to his father, you sure have quite the following here. Take the money, but please...get a cut and style that suits you, not him. I mean, hey.. as long as he's paying for it. Honestly, I would be insulted. :-(

Trying2BMe said...

Reinventing the outside is only superficial. What is inside of you no one, not even your father, can touch. And who knows, the "new" Andrew just might like what he sees in the mirror.

Moonlink said...

Consider getting your dad into a counseling session or two so you can explore with a professional referee exactly what your dad is doing. He may listen to an professional opinion when he might not listen to your opinion. Arguing with a controlling person only makes that individual more controlling.

Gail said...

My guess, for what its worth, it that it seems that your father feels that you've made great progress now that you're on your meds regularly. He's pushing you to the next step by working on your appearance. These are just stages in his mind of your health. Doing this will make him feel better.

Also doing this will encourage him to sally forth to the next stage. Whatever that may be in his mind.

Is there any way that you can set boundaries with him that he can respect? He needs to balance his fear of you not being "well" against his need to clone you into his expectations.

I hope that he can learn to leave you room to express yourself along with his need to "care" for you.


Jenera Healy said...

My theory is that he is trying to show you he cares. He may not know quite how to do it. It sounds like you have all been through so much in your life and this may be the only way he feels he can 'help'. Yes, it might suck, but humoring him may be the answer. If nothing else, you'll get to spend some time with your father that even though he can sound like a poopy head at times, at least there is a relationship there-and you can always work on the relationships. Be thankful for him-you could be alone.