A lot of young men today lack role models. Even the shrinking proportion of men with fathers in their lives sometimes witness bad examples or receive poor advice: be yourself, it will just happen, one day a girl will like you as much as you like her, etc. Sometimes the father is silent and forlorn while the mother poisons her son with this garbage.This is a tremendously perspicacious article by Nikolai Vladivostok. It reminds me of my father's inability to usefully advise me when I was being regularly picked on in junior high. He would always tell me the story about how he'd had a problem with a big, ugly galoot who was jealous of him and would call him names.
Why do so many of our fathers have so little sensible advice for us on the issue of love and relationships? The answer isn’t that our fathers, if present, have been emasculated (though they may have been). It isn’t that they are terrified of standing up to their wives (thought that might be a factor). It isn’t that they are fools, nor are they trying to turn us all into forty-year-old virgins who will not burden them with grandchild babysitting duties.
The reason the baby boomer generation has so little to offer us is much simpler: they lack salient life experience. How is it, you might ask, that a man in his fifties or sixties could lack life experience? If he has nothing else, surely he has that. He does, but it is not our life experience. He lived in the past—a foreign country.
Finally, one day, my Dad agreed with the guy instead of arguing with him, and as a result, they ended up becoming friends.
I didn't bother pointing out that you can't agree with the guy shoving you into a locker, knocking you down, or kicking you in the side and breaking your ribs. Because what my father clearly didn't understand was that the situations were different, and therefore his solution didn't apply to my problem.
The problem was soluble. I was only being picked on by boys who were low in socio-sexual rank who were attempting to prevent themselves from falling into the picked-on category themselves. So, all that was necessary was to make myself a harder target than the next guy. (I was an obvious target due to the fact that I was the youngest and smallest kid in the grade.)
So, I broke the ribs of the next kid who shoved me into a locker, face-planted and bloodied the nose of the next kid who tried to knock me down in the hallway, and broke the nose of the next kid who spit at one of my friends. And just like that, no one picked on me anymore.
And for all that his advice was useless, my Dad backed me up when the school called to complain about my problematic behavior. He told them that I was not the problem and they should be speaking with the parents of the boys who attacked me instead of him.
The past is the past. The present is the present. Deal with today's problems using today's solutions. And if your father is clueless about today's problems, don't be upset or annoyed with him, just be grateful that he wants to help you, even if he can't.