Gay men have plenty of opinions about what a “daddy” is. Whether it’s part of a sexualized identity or fetish or our own fathers, gay men tend to have strong feelings about the word “daddy.” Disclaimer for those not tuned in to gay culture: a “daddy” tends to be an older(ish) man with more stereotypical masculine traits that likes have someone to take care of both sexually and emotionally. It’s not about father/son role-play, unless, of course, it is….
(Don't) Call Me Daddy
Gay culture has fetishized and stereotyped dads for generations. 20-something year-olds are attracted to men who represent safety and security. 40+ year-olds are type-cast as “daddies” the moment their gym-toned bodies fade. “Hey, daddy” is a refrain often heard from a gaggle of gays who spot a particularly handsome straight guy. For all of the issues many of us had with our own fathers and our issues with masculinity in general, why all the daddy stuff?
Men are complicated creatures. We’re taught from the very earliest ages to be tough, indestructible and powerful. We’re taught that competition, conquest and victory are the ultimate badges of honor. We’re taught that any deviation from the rugged, bold and brash ways of interacting with the world is to risk being called the ultimate insult: a sissy (or “pussy” as I was taught). Almost instinctively, we do everything we can to make our fathers proud until we realize that what we really need is something they can’t (or don’t know how to) give. And that thing is freedom — freedom from masculinity.
I’ve maintained that homophobia (specifically in straight men) is just a symptom of sexism which is, in itself, a result of the fallacy of masculinity. To be gay, in the eyes of many straight men, is to be female: to be passive, weaker and “conquerable.” To be gay is to submit to the power of another man thus failing at every cultural marker of what it means to be “a man.” It’s almost as if the penis becomes a proverbial sword with which we must destroy all threats to our claim as men. To be gay is to say, “I’m more than my dick.”
For many gay men, we feel like we could never please our fathers or truly gain their approval. And how could we? To even question the notion of what it means to be a man – a father or a son – is to essentially betray the very foundations of the cult of masculinity. To suggest a different way of being with or relating to is a violation of a societal oath that you none of us actually swore. Think it was hard leaving conservative Christianity? Try leaving masculinity.
Perhaps we have this entangled relationship to our fathers, masculinity and men because we’re still trying to figure out how to shake off generations of arrogance, sexism and entitlement. All the while, we struggle with how to redefine what it means to have a penis and to be called a man. Maybe we like being called “daddy” because we’re still susceptible to the intoxication of male power. Maybe we seek out a partner who can take care of us because we’re tired of being tough. Maybe we catcall a good-looking straight guy because…well, karma’s a dick.
My thoughts and reactions to the world in which we live...completely biased and unfiltered.