Tatiana Talks

For My Dad on Father’s Day

What follows has more curse words than is typical for me, but it is a post for my father and he would want it that way.

Like many in America, I heard about the recent pew study finding more than 40 percent of households are being supported by women.

I can’t say this surprised me, though the total shit-storm that erupted because of it did take me back a bit. And I was going to post a rant about how screwed up some of these douchebags are, especially after watching Megyn Kelly (really? Can we see a birth certificate as I don’t buy her mother named her Megyn with a y) handed two of these assholes their hats and I found myself cheering for her. But since it is Father’s Day, and my dad has a secret crush on Megyn, I decided I would be nice.

Instead, I think I am going to take this opportunity to tell you a little something about my family. My unholy, unnatural family.

My mom was the primary earner in our house.

That’s right. My mother was one of the 40 percent before there was such a thing. Always a trailblazer that one.

Whether it was because he was in school or economic hard times kept him out of a job, for portions of my childhood, my dad stayed at home while my mom worked. Even when he worked, my mother’s paycheck was bigger than his. 

And, according to some asshats out there, my family is what is wrong with America.

Because, instead of wringing her hands and spending her time in the kitchen, my mother worked. While she was working, my father was the one who took me to dance class and piano lessons and shopping for my first bra.

Which is why I am such a fuck up today. I mean, I’m a total degenerate. As are my brother and sister.

Oh, wait, that’s not right. We're actually all pretty normal, functioning members of society. We work. We pay taxes. Ivan and Lana even rescue dogs for crying out loud. Bad people don’t rescue dogs. 

Yes. It’s true, more people know my father as “my father” or in some cases by Ivan’s first name because they just assume he named his son after himself, than they might know him from his professional life. But it doesn’t seem to bother him. Give him a cigar and a Scotch and my father will tell you story after story about running into our old teachers and coaches and friends’ parents and friends. 

My father loves being a father. More than he ever loved working. And there is nothing wrong or unmanly or unnatural about that. 

In fact, Erick Erickson, I think you should go knock on my parents door and tell my father to his face you think our family is unnatural and the reason America is going down the toilet. Because I think it would be hysterical to watch you explain to your viewers how a man who stayed at home taking care of his kids while his wife worked to support the family gave you a black eye and a broken nose.

Maybe instead of blaming feminists or women who support their families out of desire or necessity, you should be looking for ways to turn this bullshit paradigm on its head.

Maybe we should stop defining men by the title on their business card, the zeroes on their pay-stubs or the number of women they’ve banged and instead ask if he is a good fathers. Is he a good providers, not just of a roof over his family's head, but of love and support of his family and occasionally a shoulder for his teenage daughter to cry on, say when her best friend stole her boyfriend and it feels like her world is coming to an end.

Because right now, there is a man who did just that, sitting on his deck, smoking a cigar, next to a pile of opened Father’s Day cards, possibly with a tear in his eye because he got emotional after reading what his favorite daughter wrote, wishing his children would give him grandkids instead of just golf balls and cigars.

And you know what? There is nothing unnatural about him.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Fifty Shades of Gross

Like everyone else in America, I had heard of this new super series, Fifty Shades of Grey. I knew it was steaming up the bedrooms and bathrooms of women everywhere and I was even interested in reading it myself.

That is until my father told me he was reading it.

Now, I’m not a prude, nor is anyone in my family. But we all have a quiet understanding that I’m a virgin, Ivan was a virgin until he was married, as was Lana who is now saving herself for her next husband, and that our parents had sex only three times. It works for us, because, let’s be honest, thinking about a family member having sex is disturbing.

This bubble was burst when I climbed into my father’s jeep and he asked, “Have you heard of the book, Fifty Shades of Grey?”

“I have. It is basically porn (I can’t say erotica to my father). You don’t want to read it.”

“I already started it.”

I made an incredulous face.

“Your mom bought it. She said you recommended it and I thought it was gonna be like the Hunger Games.”

“I did not recommend that book to Mom. I told Lana to read it. She must have told Mom about it.”

“Well, Kid, let me tell you, you shouldn’t read it. You aren’t gonna get past Chapter Two before you run out of your apartment and just grab the first guy you see and drag him back to your place.”

I swallow back vomit.

“And I am sure as hell not going to let your mother read it.”

I give him a sideways glance at “let.”

“I’m an old man. I don’t think I could keep up with her. I would have to call friends in to help. You know that Viagra commercial with the warning about a four hour…”

“Dad! Stop!” I couldn’t stomach hearing him say the word erection. Just hearing Viagra was enough.

Now, sometimes after a night of drinking I won’t remember the details of certain conversations. I immediately started drinking hoping that would be the case here. Sadly it wasn’t, though I still continue to drink in hopes of erasing that conversation from my memory.

Warning to All Those Persons Related to Me: You May Want to Skip this Blog.

The strangest thing happened to me in Mississippi last weekend.

I was visiting Ivan, my younger brother, and his new bride Alexia. They were having a party to celebrate their nuptials with all their southern friends, and a few of their northern friends. I was standing in a corner, taking it all in (and by taking it all in I really mean sending mass text messages to my friends) when I overheard one of Ivan’s friends say to Ivan, “I’m gonna break her.”

To which Ivan replied, “Good luck with that.” And walked away.

Now, I can’t be 100 percent sure they were talking about me. I started paying attention only midway through the conversation. But something other than my own inflated ego told me I was the her he was looking to break. Maybe it was the way the friend was behaving toward me earlier or maybe it was the way Ivan grimaced and then walked away. Either way, this feeling was later confirmed by (in my own inflated ego's opinion) by all the attention this friend continued to pay me.

And while I still find it strange that men are attracted to me, that wasn’t what has been bothering me since overhearing this conversation. What has been keeping me up at night (in addition to the upper respiratory infection I picked up on the airplane ride home) was my reaction to it.
Readers, I wasn’t righteously indignant or offended or affronted or angry or any of those things I think I should have been.

I was turned on.

Let me be perfectly clear, before that moment, I wasn’t the least bit attracted to this guy. Sure he was tall and Marie thinks he's good looking (her actual response to his picture was “giddy-up”). But he was also wearing cowboy boots and Croakies and a collared shirt tucked into way too faded blue jeans. Furthermore, I have never found a southern accent charming.

But four little words later and I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I had to give myself the “this is Ivan’s friend, Tatiana,” pep-talk followed by the “he has a girlfriend, Tatiana" pep-talk repeated several times over the course of the next couple of hours. And, honestly, if I wasn’t so very afraid of the Cowboy, those two talks may have failed me completely.

Thank god I still have my fear to keep me in check.

So, once I sobered up on the flight home I started to think about why I was so affected by the Cowboy. I had already been thinking a lot about the whole generation of guys phenomenon as I was surrounded by my brother’s friends, most of whom were definite guys (some are still borderline boys). And I’m not about to suggest that the Cowboy was a man – he’s more a leader of the guys.

No, I wasn’t thinking the Cowboy was a man, but of another conversation all together that Bob and I have had on a number of occasions. And because our recent conversation about guys versus men was already on my mind, this other conversation may have been lurking not far behind.

The second conversation always starts innocently enough -- what am I looking for in a guy. This inevitably turns into me listing the things I liked about my ex-boyfriends and the things I couldn’t stand about them. And because it is Bob, and because we have had one too many glasses of wine, it moves to the bedroom. While I am not about to say that my exes have been disappointing, none of them have been the sort that would throw you (me) down on the bed (or against a wall) and, for a lack of a better phrase, fuck you (me).

And I know this isn’t very feminist of me, but sometimes a girl really needs that.

Now, over the course of the last two years I have been on several dates with guys who couldn’t even make a plan, leaving me to pick the time and the place of our dates. And, whether it’s laziness or a lack of confidence, I assume if you won’t pick a place for us to meet for a drink, you aren’t going to be the sort that is ever going to pull my hair or smack my ass.

So maybe, when I heard those four little words I realized that before me stood a man that would probably do both. It’s the only thing I can come up with. That in that moment, as my subconscious raced through the last several years of dates with wishy-washy wusses and being almost completely in control of my life almost all of the time for as long as I can remember, it was attracted to the Cowboy who could offer me a break from both.

At that moment, I wonder what it would be like to be broken.

Who am I kidding? I'm still wondering.

A Lesson From My Little Brother

“So, is it weird for you, having Ivan get married before you?”

It was after midnight. I was standing outside my hotel with a number of my brother’s friends contemplating whether I should continue to drink with them or I should just go up to my room, get out of my uncomfortably tight dress and get into my not so comfy bed. Andy, one of Ivan’s Allentown friends, was sitting on a low wall in front of me, smoking a cigarette. He was the one that just asked me whether or not I was upset about Ivan getting married before me.

Now, natural order sort of dictates that I should have attended by younger brother’s wedding with my husband, and possibly a baby bump. Instead, I showed up solo with a bit of a beer (and wine) gut. So I was prepared for this question because I had been asking myself it a lot.

This is the time of year when I typically do my self-assessment and so it was only natural for me to add this to my list of questions: like, how are you feeling about turning another year older? Am I happy where I am at, both physically and metaphysically? Am I still okay being single? Am I still sure I don’t want kids? Then, when I’m not quite sure about any of the answers, I do something to ensure I do have answers the following year. For instance, this year I joined Match.com. Yeah, I’ll be quitting that real soon.

However, unlike all the other questions I am constantly asking myself, I had an answer for this one.

I nodded down at Andy and said, “You know what? I am.”

The best part is, I meant it.

Most days I am unsure about what I want from my life. Sure, I would love to be a world famous writer, but this new job I have isn't so bad. Maybe it would be okay if I never published a novel, never meet Stewart Bradley, buy a big house in East Falls and have two of his babies. Maybe it would be okay to just stay in South Philly, with my friends and my new apartment, and maybe one day a new puppy. Or maybe that is the worst thing that could possibly happen and in a couple of months I will be bored out of my mind and I can't possibly be happy unless I am a real live writer, touring the country, signing books, and having people as important as Oprah hang on my every word.

But watching my younger brother get married I was suddenly sure of one thing -- I want what he and Alexia have and I’m okay waiting for it. If that means waiting until I am 60 or 70 to get it, that’s fine. If it means I won’t have kids because of it, that's fine too. If it means never getting it because I just never find it – well, I’m pretty sure I’ll survive. Because after seeing how happy in love those two are, I just can’t imagine settling for anything else.