I recently went on a date with a man who talked about getting a tattoo.
“I don’t have any,” he said. “I just haven’t found anything meaningful enough,” he continued.
I nodded, understanding the importance of connecting to a tattoo because of its permanency. At 35 years old, and he at 38, we are past the recklessness of getting inked just for the sake of coolness. Or after one too many Jose Cuervo shots.
“If I do get a tattoo, it will be of a sun,” he suddenly decided. He went on to tell me why. My date has a six-year-old daughter and they have a Beatles song that they always dance to together. It’s called “Here Comes the Sun.”
In that moment, I thought of my own father. We never had a song. We never danced. He was not around long enough to cultivate traditions. The only ritual we did have, and still do, is one of unreliability. My father is predictably inconsistent.
This man, the one who wants the tattoo of the sun to symbolize those tender moments with his daughter, is different than the father that I know. And I know that I want to marry someone who is just as loving. I want to marry a man who devotes time to his daughter and who knows the importance of that relationship. Because a father is a daughter’s first love. Through our relationships with our fathers, we learn how to be loved by men, or that we are unworthy of love. If a father is loving and available, a daughter knows she is worthy of a love that is loving and open. If a father is inconsistent, a daughter learns to love men who are inconsistent.
And that is why I want to marry a man with a tattoo of the sun. This man may be it, or not. Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure – I don’t want to marry a man like my father.