with Avi Spivack
Hi, I'm Avi, and I try to put the work and the dad together, with mild success. This is all about trying to give you a view from what it looks like on the dad-man's side of the world, and I hope you find my ruminations humorous because I try not to take myself too seriously.
I dated a girl in high school who once told me that her father walked around the house naked, or at least naked from the waist down (which is kind of all that matters), and I will be honest, I was SHOCKED - both that she told me this and that she told me this and did not see fazed by it; she even asked me why I was surprised, wasn’t this something that occurred in my house as well?
Um, actually, no.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against nudity, and I frankly hate the buttoned-up and covered-up American way of life (except when it comes to our love of porn). I am not one to run off to the nearest nude beach (Boston doesn’t have too many of them), but I am somewhat reserved and I just don’t like getting naked in front of other people…even my family.
So, here’s the setup: my daughter and I share a bathroom, my wife has the master all to herself (because I am smelly, hairy, six-foot-tall primate) and that is fine with me.
What is not so fine is that every morning, at some time between 6:43am and 6:58am, I am in said shred bathroom performing my morning hygienic rituals and my daughter knocks on the door because she has to pee (fair enough). I am typically at the sink shaving, clothed in boxer shorts (minimally), or boxers and a t-shirt. But many times I am fully undressed on my way into the shower, and you can pretty much draw the picture should my daughter walk into the bathroom while I was in transit…
Another interesting scenario is when she enters the bathroom and I am already in the shower. She does her business and then goes back to her room, no harm done.
Last week she decided to be “funny” - she left, closed the door (my signal to exit the shower and grab my towel to dry off my primate-ness), and then she reappeared as I was in full-on drying mode. And yes, she took one look, gave me a look of shock and awe and confusion, and then she closed the door and left. No comment.
The questions here abound. When she was 18 months, I took my daughter swimming and I changed into my bathing suit in front of her. She barely knew English at the time, so she said, in Russian, “look, Papa has a tail.” How would she know what was going on there?
But now she is 5 and a half, and the curiosity is mounting…should I cover up or explain to her what’s going on with the difference in body parts?
When my wife was on a business trip she said she wished I could mommy; I said that would be tough to do, so she replied that the only reason I couldn’t do so is because we have different voices.
Of course my thought was: that’s not the only reason, little girl…
And so I continue to cover up, wondering when she will ask me about it, or when she’ll stop letting me give her a bath because she won’t want me to see her in the birthday suit - it all makes me wonder about how we deal with and discuss sexuality and genitalia, and it also makes me laugh.
Because what else can we do as parents except laugh, to survive it all.
What’s the naked truth for you and your family?
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