All parents do creepy things, at least once in a while. You see, there's a fine line between being attentive and adoring, and being too attentive and adoring. Dads, in particular, have an unique way of crossing that line, whether they mean to or not. So, there are a few creepy things all dads do, and it's time we openly discuss this particular brand of weird.
Sometimes, in my honest opinion, it's not really their fault. There are so many things that have become "normal" for dads in our culture that are low-key creepy AF, from daddy-daughter dances, to onesies with messages about daddy "not letting his daughter date until she is 30" and his baby son being his go-to "wing man." As long as we continue talking about dads this way — as protectors of their daughters' virtue, who simultaneously give high-fives to their sons for "scoring" — it'll be "normal," and even encouraged, to joke about downright creepy behavior.
Then there are the things dads do that are lazy or gross, like eating their child's half-eaten, slobber-covered sandwich, or licking an unknown substance off their baby to find out if it is chocolate, or well, something else. It's creepy, not to mention disgusting, but I'd argue it's par for the exhausted, sleep-deprived, overwhelmed parenting course. Sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.
There are also some creepy things dads do for some very legitimate reasons, like asking about their kids' friends, monitoring their internet activity, and occasionally stalking their kids online. It probably creeps out our children when my husband does the aforementioned, but I'm absolutely glad he does. If there's anything that's creepier than dads, it's people who might want to harm our kids.
So, to find out if you are a legitimately "creepy dad," or a father who does unintentionally creepy things, read on. Chances are, though, if you're a dad you've done at least some of the following:
Joke About Whether Or Not They Are Their Child's Father
I don't know why dads (or anyone else, really) think it's funny to joke about paternity. When you joke about a child's biological connection to their parent, you are implying that their mom was unfaithful, is lying, or that biology matters when it comes to being a parent, when it totally doesn't. It's creepy.
Stare At Their Kids While They Play & Sleep
Watching your kids play is fine... to a point. Same goes for watching them while they sleep. There's an invisible line where this stops being attentive and starts being creepy. I have to admit, I cross that line, too.
Joke About Not Letting Their Daughters Date
I, for one, am so done with jokes about my husband protecting my daughter's virtue from future male suitors. It's not only heteronormative (because who's to say my daughter won't fall in love with another woman one day?), but it perpetuates the idea that my daughter's entire existence, and happiness, is for someone else to control.
There's also more subtle versions of this "joke" that pretty much all dads do, including but not limited to: talking about not letting them date until they reach a certain adult age, calling them daddy's little girl, implying that she's a princess to be saved, or later requiring that her potential suitor ask his permission for them to date or marry. It's creepy AF.
Call Their Partner "Mommy" or "Daddy"
This totally creeps me out. I am not my husband's mommy, and I don't want to hear him call me mommy, especially when our kids aren't around. It's so creepy.
Eat Their Kids' Leftover Food
I admit that I have done this a few times, but it's, um, not ideal. Kids are gross. They are basically covered in bacteria, viruses, snot, poop, and funk about 99 percent of the time. Eating food that they've licked, touched, and defiled? Yeah, that's creepy.
Take Their Daughters On Dates
Daddy-daughter dates and dances totally creep me out. They seem to promote the idea of possession of girls and women by men, and reinforce a culture of purity and virginity. It also feels wrong for dads to "date" their daughters and use terminology reserved for romantic or sexual relationships. Creepy.
Sniff Their Baby's Butt
Earlier today I mentioned this one to my husband, because he literally smells our baby's bottom multiple times a day. He acted shocked that I didn't do the same, and asked incredulously, "But how else do you know if he's poopy?" My answer: "I look."
Besides, now that our son eats solid food, there's no way I am smelling his butt. If he's poopy, chances are I will know before I get anywhere close to him.
Talk To Their Kids' Toys
My husband is always playing with the kids' toys, making stuffed animals talk to each other (and him) in silly voices that almost all sound like demons or monsters to me. Then, whenever I am alone in the room with said toys, I get totally freaked out. It's freaking creepy. Shudders.
Lick Unknown Substances On Their Baby To See What They Are
As a mom I learned early on to never lick something from my baby, especially if it's brown or wet. Yes, dear husband, it might be chocolate pudding, but it's probably not, and licking your kids is gross and more than a little creepy.
Monitor Their Kids' Internet & Phone Activity
My step daughter gets seriously creeped out when her dad monitors her internet and phone activity, but this is one area where I totally support him being the "creepy, stalker dad." People on the internet are way creepier than her dad will ever be, and in order to protect her and her younger siblings from harm, he sets boundaries, limits apps and websites, and is always watching or able to check out what they are doing on line.
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