[Editor's Note: Bob Morris is a New York Times Sunday Styles section contributor. In his book Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad he takes a very personal, candid, and hilarious look at a year of dating dangerously. The publisher describes it as "a heartwarming account of a father and a gay son who learn how to be brave in pursing love through their love of one another." A 2008 Lambda Literary and Publishing Triangle finalist, it was also named an American Library Association Stonewall Honor book. The paperback edition includes Bob's "Modern Love" essay from the Sunday Style section of the New York Times, about his wedding in Los Angeles before the law changed.
For more information on Bob please visit www.assistedloving.com.]
What is it about fathers that make them so predictable? Father's Day lumbers up to your calendar and what do you buy the old man? What do you say to him? Is the nicest thing to do for a Dad on Father's Day leave him alone with his ballgame on TV? Dads aren't as expressive as moms. They can be, heaven forbid, a little dull. And we gay sons usually have more to do with our mothers anyway. Call it Oedipal or just chalk it up to the fact that aesthetics matter to mothers, but it's easier with them, that's all.
But it all changed for me when my mother passed away. Suddenly my Dad, at 80, was asking me to help him find new love. So I didn't only start pimping for him and screening for him (God forbid he should end up with anyone less than perfect) I started coaching him and dressing him. It got very Queer Eye for the Old Guy, as I'd scold him for talking with his mouth full of food, and I stopped him from pouring Splenda into his wine. I introduced him to concepts that were foreign to him such as the dry cleaners, and got him to stop wearing those vinyl loafers from Kmart that annoyed me more than I'd like to admit. I know I'm not him and he's not me and without my kind of raging aesthetics, he didn't live for just the right collar or cuff. Still, some tweaking never hurts.