Father’s Day

The day after Father’s Day was bittersweet for Dion.

His kids loved him. They told him so once per year; twice, if you counted Christmas, though Renata was an atheist now and Jayme was off in South Korea, and hadn’t been home in a couple of years.

But the day after Father’s Day, when he was again alone in his apartment with his television and his thoughts, he felt sad and happy at the same time.

They were there, if he wanted to call. They loved him every other day, though they didn’t really say so. Didn’t feel the need to. Which, Dion would concede, was his own doing, living as he did like a man. All stoicism and strength and refusing to admit to any feelings or emotions or any of that nonsense. Just good, quality manhood. Manliness. Masculinity, for the first twenty years of their lives, and by then it was just too late to do anything else.

But after Father’s Day, Dion wanted to sit and have a bit of a cry, and maybe even talk about things.

Instead he opened another beer, and turned the movie back on.

Mars v. Venus

Kaitlyn gasped.

“What is it?” Aaron asked. “What’s going on?”

She looked up from her computer to see him looking at her, worry all over his face. “Did you know that they added Dog Day to Women’s Equality Day?”

“Oh, not this again,” Aaron said.

“What do you mean, ‘not this again’?” Kaitlyn said, using her fingers to make air quotes. “Not the continued societal sexism? Not the inequality still rampant in our society? Not asking for similar treatment for your friend and coworker?”

“Yeah, not that again. You notice there isn’t a ‘Men’s Day’?”

“Because every god damn day is Men’s Day!”

Aaron sighed. “Do I have to explain this to you? The whole disparity in incomes is because of babies. Women have babies. So they make choices based on that. And they’re more likely to be chosen for easier jobs. Men have to do the hard work, so they’re paid more for that.”

Kaitlyn was dumbstruck for a moment. She stared at Aaron, someone who, until this moment, had seemed quite reasonable. He was looking at her, condescension painted across his face and flashing like neon lighting. She gathered up every line of rage from its disparate directions and condensed it into a single quiet voice.

“So the fortunes of evolution mean we should be socially penalized to propagate the species? And women are given easier jobs because, what, they’re too weak?”

“Basically, yes.” Aaron looked back to his screen to continue working.

“First off, fuck you and your condescending mansplaining. And you know I hate that word, so I don’t use it lightly. Second, give me one cogent ethical argument. Finally, back that up by anything. And Fox News doesn’t count as a source.”

“Back off, Kaitlyn, no need to freak out.”

“Right, I’m freaking out because I’m a hysterical woman?”

“You said it, not me.”

Kaitlyn stood and stared at Aaron for another moment while he continued clicking and typing away. “Aaron,” she said, making him look up. “I’m going to walk away now. I’m doing this to give me time to calm down, and to give you time to think very carefully about everything you just said. Examine it, please, in your superior manly way. While you do, imagine that it had been said in reverse. That I had said similar to you, about men. Just consider it.” With that, she walked away.

Aaron shrugged, took a sip of his coffee, and looked back to his computer.

Swim Wear

David pulled on his swimsuit bottoms, and then strapped on the bikini top.

“What are you wearing?” John asked when David left the changing room.

“My bathing suit. You ready?”

“Yeah, but, uh, why the top?”

“What do you mean?” David asked, looking down. “Does it not work with the trunks?”

“No…I mean, well, yes, it does. But why are you wearing it?”

“Should I go out in public without?”

“You’re a guy, it’s allowed.”

“If you say so. I don’t want to flash my nipples everywhere, though.”

“Why not?”

“Women aren’t allowed to. Why am I?”

“Uh, because you don’t have breasts?”

“Sure I do. I have pectoral muscles. I have some fatty tissue on my mammary area.”

“Yeah, but not, like, boobs. You have pecs.”

“What’s the difference?”

“Umm…women have more fat there, I guess? And theirs are called boobs.”

“So fat, and a name?”

“And how they’re perceived, I guess,” John said, having had another moment to think about it. “I mean, on women, it’s sexy, right? Guys with boobs aren’t sexy.”

“No, but guys with nice pecs are, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“So why shouldn’t I cover up? Besides, nipples are sensitive, I don’t want a nipple burn. Have you ever had a sun burn on your nipples? It hurts like hell.”

“No, I can’t say that I have. I usually put a bit of sunscreen on them.”

“Right, on this nice little porous area of your body, so the sunscreen can just seep in to your bloodstream lickety-split? Have fun with that. I’ll wear my bikini top, thanks. And do you know how long I had to look to find one that would fit?”

“Hm. Fair points, I guess? Is it, uh, comfortable?”

“Very.”

“Well, maybe you can, um, help me shop for one tomorrow then?”

“Sure! It’ll be fun. Wait, what are you doing?” David said as John started rooting through his bag.

“Putting on my shirt. I don’t want to flash everyone, and you have me worried about nipple burn now.”

“Good choice. Ready?”

“Let’s go get some sun.”

Bill’s Daughter

Bill and Vance sat in their canoe, staring in opposing directions.

Their fishing trip had taken a noticeable turn for the worse when Vance had expressed his desire for Bill’s daughter – now a woman of legal age, certainly – but someone whom Vance himself had helped to raise.

Corrine was 22, recently graduated from University, and very attractive. Bill and his partner, Ken, hadn’t known when they adopted her that she would be quite so stunning, and couldn’t help but feel proud as their youthful duckling turned into an adult fox.

Now, while out with his friend Vance on their yearly fishing trip (something Ken, and avowed vegetarian, despised), Bill had failed to notice the turn in conversation until Vance said, “Your daughter is totally bang-able.”

There are many ways in which a father could respond to such a comment. Were Bill a straight man in his twenties, he might even have agreed, had Corrine not also been his daughter. Were Bill a more violent man, Vance might not have survived the trip.

After sitting in total silence for nearly two hours, their lines in the water, Vance broke the tension. “Hey Bill?”

“Mm?”

“Sorry. I just meant she’s attractive. Not that I actually would. You know.”

“Mm.”

Another hour after that exchange, in which most was forgiven, Bill said, “Hey Vance?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t talk about anyone that way. Kinda shitty.”

“I know, Bill. Sorry.”

With that, Bill received a bite on his line. The fish was a healthy size, and would make an excellent dinner. Vance handed him a beer, and they drank.

Three Jackets

The first jacket is long, black, woolen; what used to be standard wear, but is now looked at as old-fashioned and sophisticated, though this one was slightly worn and well loved. The man wearing it, in a suit with no tie and the top button of his collared shirt open, chuckled quietly with a drink in his hand.

The next jacket, a dark blue windbreaker of the type you’d expect to see mainly on golf courses, hung from a more casual looking man in khaki pants and a polo shirt. He did not look as civilized as his gentleman friend, but rather more moneyed; no overt appearances betrayed this, but his general air was one of wealth.

The third jacket; old, leather, ratty, looking entirely unfitting next to the other two gentleman, and the man wearing it, bearded, scruffy, and wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, looking for all the world like a hobo. He finishes his joke, something slightly racist and definitely not fit for any company but close friends who know his sense of humour. The other two laugh heartily, knowing that neither the joke nor their friend are serious, and yet they believe the crux of the punchline to be truth. No one mentions this fact.