Like Father, Like Daughter?

You know, being a daddy's girl isn't always a bad thing. Don't worry, I'm not talking about the over-indulged, baby-voiced daddy's girls who are spoiled and fluffy and silly. I'm talking about the girls, and women, who are mates with their dad. Who choose to spend time with pa. Who have a grown-up relationship with their pop. Because the relationship a woman has with her dad will be unlike any other relationship she will ever experience. People often say that my Dad and I are very alike. My Mum would probably tell you we're too similar. And it's true. We both love sport, travel and cooking.We're a bit dangerous when out food shopping together. We share an interest in history. Have a sarcastic dry wit. Are both professional writers. We both love theatre and music, although, I hasten to add, I don't share Dad's love of George Formby. But then no relationship is without its tensions … 

For a shy little girl, there's no better place than hiding with dad!

But, seriously, we're generally on the same wavelength. I say generally, because great Dad though he is, he is still a bloke and, as we all know, men and women use a different language most of the time. But I reckon my Dad and I are a pretty good team.

While the relationships between Mums and daughters are constantly changing. From nurse and guardian to friend and confidante, that between dads and daughters is more steadfast. It changes, of course it does, because people change as they experience different things. But, asking around, I know that dads are always dads. Even when their daughters are grown up, and even have children of their own, dads hold pretty much the same place in their daughters lives regardless of whether they are tots, teens or middle aged. I'm no closer to my Dad than to my Mum, but I'm more like him.

My Dad and I used to go on adventures. Once, when I was sixteen, and after all my O-Levels were complete, I was supposed to attend a week of 'Sixth Form Induction' at my school. But Dad sent me to school with a letter excusing me one day of this due to 'training' that I needed for my summer holiday job with the family firm. The fact that this 'training' took place at Trent Bridge cricket ground during an Ashes Test Match meant I had a much more fulfilling, and educational, day than I would have experienced had I stayed in school that day. He wasn't being irresponsible, just a great dad. And even now, we take time out to explore. Although playing hooky when you're self-employed doesn't have quite the same frisson. But we spend days in the more unusual parts of London, or weekends on history tours learning about the role of black ops in the Second World War. I'm very lucky to have a Dad who's such a friend, but I know I'm not unique.

And while a dad's primary purpose is to keep you safe and loved, his contributions to your life are much greater. While your friends will offer unsolicited, and often unflinchingly unedited, advice on what you wear, or the way you do your hair, your dad can be relied upon for sensible advice. Although it's a fact that, if they think your clothes are too tight or revealing, or your makeup is too heavy, your dad will let you know. While, when you're in your teens or twenties this can be a bit of a bind – after all, you're just feeling your way in the world and don't want to look like a child – as you grow up it can prove very useful indeed.  Say you're unsure about an outfit. Or you have an important engagement to attend – a funeral, a wedding, a job interview. By relying on your dad's taste you can guarantee looking classy at all times. That's not to say you shouldn't ever wear something your dad's not too keen on. After all, even dads need to learn when to let go. But we all have times when we need to dress appropriately. 

 Like father, like daughter? 

And, if mine is anything to go by, dads always know how to do it. We should never forget that dads used to be lads, so they know what lads are like. They worry about young ladies, precisely because of young lads. Not without good reason, do they check over any prospective boyfriends with a suspicious eye. Perhaps I've never really troubled my Dad in this way, but I have to say, when introducing him to any friend or acquaintance, I've never found him remotely pre-judgmental. He may well form an unfavourable opinion of my mates, I don't know, but he never expresses it.

Over the years I've found, pretty much, that I can talk to Dad about anything. That doesn't mean that I would choose to discuss everything with him because there are some things that dads and daughters are just not meant to debate. Any kind of 'women's trouble' for a start. And we don't like to discuss matters of a romantic kind either. In a way, that's sort of sad, because they say that the relationship between a dad and his daughter is the single most profound factor on any subsequent romantic relationship she might have. Yes, girls, and dads, it's true. Apparently women spend their whole lives looking for a man just like dad. Assuming he's a good bloke. Let's hope those with less than perfect dads don't do that …

They also say that a girl's view of herself depends largely on the way her father praised her (or didn't, I suppose) when she was young. In essence, a girl feels as worthy as her father told her she was. If a dad tells his daughter she can achieve anything, or that she is a great beauty, then she's endowed with a lifelong belief that this is the case. Now, I don't know whether that's true, or if at least it's the only factor. I'd like to think that all dads tell their daughters that they're lovely and clever, whether they are pretty and bright or not. And I'm not convinced that all those women who grew up without a father in their lives are doomed to self esteem issues.

Come rain, shine or snow dads and daughters have a special bond!

But there are some universal truths. No daughter is ever too old to have a cuddle with her dad. Or to be told how proud he is of her. Or to want, more than anything, to make him proud of her. I know I'm not. And, even though I've grown old enough to face alone monsters too fierce even for Dad to scare away, I know that, when I need it, he'll be there with a hug, or a refuge.

So it's little surprise that my very talented, very wonderful and very lovely dad will always be the most important man in my life. After all, he took care of me when I was young, encouraged me when I was growing and rewarded me when I did well. And now, he's still there for a hug when I've had a bad day. What other fella could you say that about?