What a complicated word for me. I never uttered it as a child. When my stepfather became my father, I called him by name or if endeared, Dad. We had a million nicknames for each other but he was never Daddy. Daddy is said in the south with a deep reverence. A girl’s daddy is the first man she knows n loves. The first to teach her what she should always expect from men, is what is held as the common myth. If that is true then maybe it makes sense that I am so wild and always running. The only thing I remember about my real father is him tucking a flower behind my ear and walking away.
When I was 17 I had three full time jobs and a whole world of adult responsibilities. I knew best for me. I lived by my leave, I thought I was such an adult. In reality I was a shy, scared virgin with a beautiful body and secret romantic whims in my head and a raging hormonal crush on a 23 year old “Man” called Robbie. Thank God, I had Kevin. My oldest friend.
Kevin and his brothers always looked after me from it seems the day I met Kev as a young girl. One of my jobs used to end after midnight, and I tended to walk the dark dangerous New Orleans back streets home. More times than not I would come out of the door to find Kev waiting for me. He would whisk me home and then continue his night. It was a cold night right before my 18 birthday, when the bartender “my secret man crush” asked me if I wanted to grab a beer after work. That evening as I near skipped on air, out of work, there was Kev- waiting. I brushed him off and told him of my plans. With the sheer slickness of a used car salesman Kev joined us, pinning me with such a heated glare I blushed. I still recall my heart slamming against my chest at Robbie handed me an ice cold Heineken. It was late and the old beautiful brick bar smelled like fresh popcorn and winter. It felt such a big moment. I was a coltish small girl with naive, shuttered eyes and a bruised and battered heart. I ate up every syllable and compliment that fell from Old Rob’s mouth. Mistaking his forceful banter as virile. I had it fixed in my head that Rob mounting flirting the past months would culminate in forever. He was going to be man enough to care, to never leave, I would be a young bride and never look back. Cue butterflies and talking forest animals.*snort*The minute Robbie walked away to play pool, my hand was grasped hard as Kevin yanked me past the bouncer and out the french doors of the bar. The sheer heat and protection in his eyes that I saw, was suffocating. I wanted to be as grown up, as life had forced the child within me to be. He barked that he was taking me home and I nearly tore his arm off in my tussle to break free. For the rest of my life I will remember the next moments with crystal clarity. He grabbed both of my arms tightly, yet gently shook me. He implored me, did I think Robbie was going to take me home and play patty cake? Did I want to have my virginity taken and be dumped by morning? I was way too innocent of a girl to be playing with a player.
I felt gouache, unworthy, ashamed. I cant remember my exact words, but they were accompanied with fuck off. He held me immobile, furious as he barked at me that I was nothing but a headstrong child trying to play a woman’s game and failing. He marched me to his car and buckled me in. He looked at me and cupped my trembling chin. In his gentle deep southern drawl he softly but forcefully said. “I am not your Daddy, but way as I see it, there is nobody else but me looking out for you, so you are going to mind me in this.” That night was the start of over decades of him watching over me, protecting me, loving me.
And so it began. As I entered my 20s, living brought tragedy swift and crushing. Very young, I found the life I had so carefully scripted for my future changed. Then I met E, My ex Boss. Whom my Lie and Die Team have always affectionately called BD. For Big Daddy. This man bullied, coerced, drug my by hair up the ladder in my career. By equal measures blunt force, deep affection and endless patience he made a woman out of me. I admit pride in whom he molded. He took my ideals and gave them a platform, he listened to my impassioned speeches, my handwringing anger at the org we worked for. He held me so tightly when my world fell apart and was always there, over all of my adult life to cheer me on. He became so many things to myself and my crew. But a Daddy figure, most of all. He can silence me with a look and enrage me with a word. He taught me how to drive stick 20 years ago and taught me again last week. He never forgot a birthday or xmas. always carried lollipops in his work truck for me. When I was sickest he was there. When I was lonely, he just knew. When I was scared to death, he brought me home.
I ran wild and fast. Slowing for heartbreak after heartbreak, wrenching my friend’s hearts as they saw me lose out again and again. Then I met a man, not just any man. The man. He fucked me like a woman, cosseted me like a child and made me love him deeper then I had ever loved. He was/is a naturally dominant man, I pushed that and poked at it. I played with the kinky elements of our love. He used it as a way to try and soothe me, control me, save me from myself. I wearied him with my fear of forever. I tore my sexuality apart trying to fit a mold, a label. I was simply exhausting. Then we found our stride almost as if by accident. A combination of guidance, affection, deep love, and our roles within our kinky love. I felt safe. Then a thing happened and neither of us survived it intact.
Time passed, I examined myself in the ashes of what had been our bright burning love. Then I met Andy. He was different from any other man I had ever dated. He was almost fatherly. I thought that settled life that he lead, would fit me, calm me. Youth had left him. I believed him when he said I would be safe, when he swore nothing and no one would ever hurt me again. He said before I married him that I was the love of his life. In good times he would hold me on his lap and cuddle me tightly as if I were a child. He would brush my hair after a bath. Make me hot chocolate and wrap blankets around me.He called me baby girl. I tried everything to ignite his passion. But he used first sex as a weapon, then his body. And finally, after I had lost almost everything. E, ever my protector, brought me home.
I find myself surrounded with men who look after me. Men who feel a fierce need to protect me. Who are very “Daddy like” for lack of better terminology. And while with every breath I draw, I crave being free and boldly sexual…. I find myself looking in the windows of other’s lives and narratives. Wondering if I want similar, how certain words would fit in my mouth. Pursuing dark desires yet untouched. Missing pain the way most miss pleasure. Wanting to kneel and yield, wanting to push and fight in equal breaths.Yet facing and owning the truth of what I respond to most. A man who is not afraid to tell me no. A man who sees the abandoned child from so long ago. And can both cope with her need for reassurance and juggle the sharp need of my adult sexuality as well. A man who will guard me, but sharpen my sword and fight beside me. Who will own me, respect me, laugh with me, dominate me, free me. Take me, teach me. and maybe show me that sometimes a title is interchangeable. A word has different meanings-Sugar Daddy, Big Daddy, Who’s your Daddy, Baby Daddy, Mr Daddy, Daddy Long Legs, Fuck daddy, Daddy Dom, And just because they are somewhat paternal or protective does not mean that they will always leave. Because my father who did, was never a daddy.