Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why I Dress Up For Daddy & Me Class

Like everybody, I have three or four levels of formality in my wardrobe, from my PJs to a nice suit.  Most days, I wear what I think of as "relaxed casual" - jeans and a t-shirt of some kind.  I also have "dad formal" which involves things like chinos and shirts with buttons.  I mostly like how I look regardless of which level of formality an event requires, and in these days of "athleisure" wear, I really could leave the house wearing my PJs and it wouldn't draw any stares.

The Toddler and I go to a class every Wednesday morning, and I noted this morning a trend.  Rather than my usual relaxed casual, I always dress dad formal for class.  It's not because the event demands it - these are all SAHDs, and attire in the class runs the range from dad formal to PJs.  So I wondered this morning why I always make sure I'm dressed well, shaved, and combed for class.

I've always thought of myself as an underachiever.  I did well in high school, got a good score on the ACT, did really well at a college where that wasn't so hard, and convinced myself that that was evidence I was destined for greatness at something.  It turns out my 4.0 GPA in college was my peak; I've never achieved anything like that success (success being defined as being better than my peers) since then, and depending on where I was in life, it's really, really bothered me.  What happened?

I've thought about it.  I've written about it.  I've come to very few conclusions.  But I do know that when The Wife got pregnant, and I knew I would be both a father and SAHD, I told people how excited I was, because I felt like I would be better at being a father and a dad than I'd been at any of the stupid shit jobs that had occupied my time since college.  I really thought of, and still think of, fatherhood as my calling.

Now I think (worry?) that I view fatherhood as a way to redeem myself, and I think (worry?) that I look my best for class because I've defined success as being better than my peers and I want to be the best, most-put-together dad in class (which is impossible, because Stylish Dad is way put together).  It's a competition, and I want to win at being dad.  I'm pretty sure that's not healthy.

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