I'm Glad I'm Turning Into My Dad (I Just Wish My Wife Was Pleased Too!)

I'm Glad I'm Turning Into My Dad (I Just Wish My Wife Was Pleased Too!)
Image by Catherine MacBride


Over the Easter weekend, I was sitting in a taxi in Manchester waiting for my dad to lock up the house so we could venture town-wards for a long overdue father-son bonding session over a couple of pints.

As my 76-year-old father approached the car, the driver looked over his shoulder and remarked to me: "Here comes your brother."

"Brother? BROTHER?" I spluttered.

"That's my dad."

"Really? Well he must have had a very easy life and you've had a hard one."

Northern cabbies, eh? Doncha just love 'em.

Despite the, er, honesty of the driver's observation, it confirmed something that has been creeping up on me for the last few years: I was turning, and now, at the age of 50, I have turned, into my dad.

Now to me, this metamorphosis is a Good Thing – for my dad is probably the person I most admire in the world.

He is a clever, funny, sarcastic, straight-talking working class hero who takes no prisoners in his puncturing of the pompous with glint-in-the-eye mickey taking.

He is loyal and decent with an intense sense of moral justice. Before he retired, he worked the shirt off his back as a fitter to provide for his four sons and he worshipped our (late) mum like the Goddess she was.

And everyone on the council estate where we grew up and he still lives likes and respects him.

"I've turned into my dad?" I say to my wife. "Excellent. I just wish it had happened sooner."

But as much as she admires – and recognises - the traits I've described above, she has a different perspective on some others I'm either oblivious to or refuse to acknowledge.

"Stop butting in when I'm talking. You're just like your dad."

"Stop turning the telly over during the adverts. You're just like your dad."

"Believe me, when you've had a drink, you are not more interesting. Just like your dad."

"Please don't pick your teeth with the kids' school report. You're just like your dad."

"You call it 'honesty', I call it 'rude' (e.g 'Yes, your bum does look big in that. I like it that way') You're just like your dad."

"If you're tired, can you just go to bed instead of snoring like your father - I'm trying to watch Sewing Bee?"

Now, she's wrong, of course. She's always wrong: I'm just too scared to tell her.

But just for a second, let's imagine a parallel universe in which she was right. What other behaviours might my wife uncover that can be traced back to my father?

Opening all the windows first thing in the morning, even in bleak, black depths of freezing January? Perhaps.

Or turning the thermostat down every time I pass it? Maybe.

Or switching off all the lights off no matter how briefly the occupant has left a room? C'est possible.

Or tucking the kids into bed so tightly each night that they wake up in exactly the same position they went to sleep in? There may be a smattering of truth.

Or saying to my 12-year-old stepdaughter whenever I pass the TV: "What's this rubbish you're watching?" Ditto her tastes in music. It is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Or hoarding batteries, cables and takeaway menus 'just in case'. It may have been known to happen.

Ensuring the cupboards are stocked full to bursting with soups, beans and past-sell-by-date cans of veg, curry and meatballs because, you know there might be a war?

OK, OK, so I've turned into my dad. Guilty as charged. But I am not alone in this social phenomenon: it happens to all of us.

According to a poll for TV channel Gold the average British man morphs into his father at the age of 38.

The most popular telltale sign that the man of the house has become his dad is nodding off in the living room (40 per cent), followed by ownership of his own chair (28 per cent).

And one in five said a giveaway is not being able to recognise any top 40 pop artists.

Steve North, General Manager of Gold said: "The future looks bright for men: more sleep, having your very own chair, letting loose on the dance floor and finding ourselves funny."

Hear, hear to that. Now I just need to get myself a shed.

HERE ARE THE TOP 10 SIGNS THAT MEN ARE TURNING IN THEIR FATHERS (recognise any? My own are in brackets)

1. Fall asleep in the front room (often, especially during The Big Allotment Challenge)

2. They have 'a chair' (yes, and woe betide any child who wipes their chocolatey fingers on it)

3. Dad dancing (or in my case, playing air guitar in front of my children's friends)

4. Spend time in the shed (the only shed I have is a Recipe Shed)

5. Making awful jokes that only they find funny (so this man walks into a bar...'Ouch!'...it was an iron bar)

6. Don't know any artists in the top 40 ('Lost Direction. Great band')

7. Spending longer on the toilet (it's the only peace I get)

8. Keeping an eye on the thermostat (well, money doesn't grow on trees)

9. Excited about appliance sales (wish list: soup maker, deep-fat fryer, self-cleaning oven etc)

10. Embarrassing younger members of the family or children and thinking it's funny (see 'air guitar' reference, point 3)