Dawn of the Dads
August 17, 2009

This past weekend, my family had the pleasure of hosting the monthly neighborhood security watch meeting at our place. And little that I know, never having attended any of the previous meetings, and playing the role of my parent's right hand man for the day, apart from rigorously coordinating the F&B setup and logistic arrangements, hosting such a gathering would also mean having to endure, above anything else, bad jokes.

Especially when you're the sole representative of your generation.

With the kids already locking themselves up in the playroom seconds into entering the house, the moms meticulously analyzing the new curtain and no one from my age group within sight, I was left with no choice but to hang out with the street's kings of comedy (or so they thought), the dads.

They're always a lively bunch... the dads. And I'm pretty sure you've seen them before. They're everywhere. From weddings to open houses to reunions to the golf course, usually seen in a circle and generating occasional burst of laughters loud enough to deafen a baby elephant, the dads can never get enough of their own jokes; most of which revolve around the subjects of politics, their wives, work, their better halves, sports, their life partners, the traffic and the mothers to their children.

“Here's a good one, here's a good one... I got it off the Internet and tried it out right away. We were getting ready to go out the other day and I went, honey, you can definitely dress to kill, can't you? Surely you can cook for that too! HAHAHAHAHA!”


They do make me wonder, though. Given the number of men who share the similar trait once they become dads and are well in their 40s and beyond, would I, some time in the future, end up like them as well? Sure they are, more often than not, much adored and revered for being the lovely men that they are. Yet the prospect of living a life of finding enjoyment in bad humor -- which some say we already are, doing -- does terrify me.

What terrifies me further, though, are the glimpses of them that I'm starting to see in us. Usually during gatherings, I usually find myself inadvertently forming this circle with my friends. One that resembles that of the dads'. And before you know it, we're already replicating their iconic burst of laughters. Only that, our jokes, are always of the most superior of qualities.

To which people outside the circle, however, would usually strongly beg to differ. Together with the majority of our girl friends, who often label our jokes as, mildly put, utterly dreadful, my own little sisters have been our harshest critics. As every time I crack a joke that would never fail with the guys, I receive nothing more complimentary than a hairbrush being thrown my way.

I guess those are the very reasons behind people's variety in accepting different types of humor. The dads are, in fact, old enough to be our dads. My sisters are actually young enough to believe that becoming a 'princess' is a valid career aspiration. And our girl friends are, as far as we can tell, women. Age and gender differences' role behind it all are simply all too significant.

But I reckon through time, the whole cycle would still eventually repeat itself, whether we like it or not. As much as we'd like to age like Sean Connery, we'd still have to reluctantly admit that our waistlines are getting no smaller, our hairlines are getting no thicker and our sense of fashion are, at least according to the girls, so last Thursday. Just as we're finding the elderly's jokes unbearable today, our kids will someday find our jokes just as dire.

For we are all, after all, men; us and the dads. And what makes a man, are his charisma, and sense of humor. I'm sure our future wives could back us up on that someday. So long as... they're not literally on our backs and breaking 'em! HAHAHAHAHA!

Oh dear.

The Bald and the Beautiful
August 05, 2009

I don't think it was that long ago when I wrote about my single most horrified fear as a child: my cousins.

While most of my peers back then feared Freddy Krueger, Herman Munster, Beetlejuice and our neighborhood dentist, it may have sounded a little strange of me to be afraid of boys my age who weren't even old enough to zip their own pants; without risking their manhood.

Alas that, was the reality. For these boys were wholly responsible for causing me emotional distress from their constant jibe for being the only cousin to be circumcised at the tender, tender age of 3-days old.

"The one you had 'didn't count'..!" they used to jeer into the nightmares that haunted me for years to come. And I'd be lying to say that imageries of having to someday line up for the snip-doctor together with my own kids never crossed my mind.

But gone were those days. Growing up, I've been educated sufficiently enough in school, and over the Internet, to understand that the one I had... did count!

Nevertheless, I am but immortal; as anyone else. And fear, can never be foreign enough to us. From their kids, I have now become afraid of my uncles.

It's not that they scare me off like Santa do babies or anything. Though I do recall one of them disguising himself as a moving blanket to spook us out; before tripping down.

That aside, my uncles are perhaps some of the finest gentlemen around. As much as they are loved and revered as great dads, it is their receding hairline that frightens me.

Being related by blood to them, with my dad already surrendering to shining baldness and my younger brother losing hair faster than the speed of light, it is not impossible that I may one day appear on Oprah... as Dr. Phil. As researches show how 25% of men begin balding at the age of 30, the potential of my own, genetically-induced hair loss, in four years time, has become increasingly, eerily inevitable.

I've been fortuitously spared, thus far, I can safely say. Perhaps, I was blessed with my mom's gene. As photo albums of old hold evident, a family picture of my mom's side from the late 80s could give any big hair rock band a run for its money. So, there is hope.

Is it really that bad though? I don't even have to go any further than some of my own friends to point out how baldness can actually work to your favor. In fact, while some of them began losing hair as soon as they hit puberty (instead of the other way around), these guys have had immense success in the social scene; dwarfing the likes of Alfie, Van Wilder and even to the extent of making Austin Powers look like Napoleon Dynamite.

Well, figuratively speaking.

Polls have shown how women find bald men appealing. The phenomenal achievements of Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Andre Agassi, Michael Jordan and Homer Simpson are perhaps proof of just that. "They look wise..." and "It makes me wanna smear honey all over..." were some of the many complimentary remarks I've heard of bald men; told by women and men with questionable orientation. Who said which, is your call.

It remains a dilemma, I have to admit. Many would agree. And given the option, I would very much prefer to have the choice to either style it out or shave it all off; as I wish. As it stands though, I have only so much control over my bodily functions.

Here's to making enough money to afford Donald Trump's hairstylist. Or whatever it is that he actually styles.

Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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