I remember the first time I was called Daddy. I was 38, dating a 26-year-old, and gray was appearing in my beard. We stood there in my apartment, kissing. “You’re my daddy,” he said. My dentures fell out. Daddy? Me? It seems as if just yesterday I had my hair in Björk buns and was called a club kid. I wasn’t sure how to react, yet stood there trying to suddenly fit the role.
Daddy was an older guy who had a strong personality, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and got on top of you. Daddy never showed doubt or vacillation. For instance, a Daddy would never say, “Does this contain wheat? I have a gluten allergy.” Above all, a daddy always paid for things (even when he was a ranch hand), which, I thought, ruled me out. But this young man I was dating didn’t need me to fulfill all these stereotypes. I was a Daddy, like it or not.