To start things off I want to give you a mental picture. My Father is 45, he is balding, he is out of shape. He wears swim trunks as shorts, sneakers with dress pants, and a ball cap everywhere he goes. He once told me and my brother he considered himself a metrosexual. All of this never really bothered me, until my mom started talking to me about how unhappy she is because he never does anything for their anniversary and a whole list of other things. This puts me in a very awkward situation, any advice?

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Absolutely.  Regarding your parent's marriage:  DON'T TAKE SIDES.  

Regarding your father's style of dress:  I don't see the problem.  It didn't bother you before.  Why not let it not bother you now?

Regarding whether he's manly:  best not to make such judgments, at least not out loud.   Your judgment is based partly on him being bald?  That he's too informal?  Seriously?

...and regarding how you see him in your own mind:  that needs dealing with, because it may affect your relationship to him, or to masculinity.  But it's none of his business; it's all internal.

Best of luck with it.

My god a balding, out of shape middle aged guy.  Who'd have thought?  I guess he just forgot to take the magic anti-aging pill like the rest of us.

But seriously, why does he put you in an awkward position?  You already learned how not to dress, etc.  You don't have to act the way he does so live your life.

Your parents marriage is not your business.  Stay out of it.  Tell your mom to stop complaining to you about your father.

Being bald isn't unmanly.  In many cases, it is exactly the opposite.  George Patton was bald.  Bruce Willis is bald.  Lots of examples of bald guys that ooze testosterone.  Men sometimes get out of shape when they get older.  Live with it.  Being soft-around-the-middle is not a barrier to being a good man.

Dressing weird isn't unmanly either.  Whether your father calls himself "metrosexual" or not -- wearing sneakers with dress pants, a baseball cap, swim trunks, etc. is not "metrosexual".  I'm not sure he knows the meaning of the term ... but, if he sees you as a snappy dresser -- not out of the realm of possibility if you complain about his clothes -- maybe he thinks you're metrosexual, and he's trying to relate to his son.

Bottom line ... your dad sounds fine.  Certainly not altogether "unmanly".  May need a bit of work in the husband-department, but, that's not your problem.  Even if he's not as "manly" as you'd like ... you can only control yourself.  Cut him some slack.  Sounds like you're the problem.


I totally read the marriage issue differently. If these are simple, concrete complaints, like skipping their anniversary, you tell your dad, all John Alden-style, "Mom mentioned to me that she'd like you to do something special for your anniversary this year. Let me know if you want suggestions."

'cause, let me tell you a secret: Just 'cause we graduate from junior high, doesn't mean we don't continue the non-confrontational, passive-aggressive thing of "Get Jimmy to ask Johnny if he likes me, but don't tell Jimmy I told you to have him ask Johnny."

As for how your father looks, that's less than 1% of the measure of his manliness or how he treats his wife.

I'd tell mom to mention it herself.  Using your son as an outlet for marital complaints is a lousy idea.


Yea, here is my advice. 

Stay the hell out of it, don't involve yourself. 

 It will NOT end well if you go sticking your nose in it. 

 Now, if you absolutely MUST do it, do it from WAY on the outside. 

 IE: On your fathers' next Birthday or Fathers' day, buy as a gift for him, a gift for your Mom. In other words, you buy on his behalf, as a gift to him, something like one of those chocolates and roses delivery services that just automatically send out a gift package to the Lady of his choice on whatever designated date.

 You can also buy him a gift certificate to something like Jo. A. Banks, or get him a subscription to Mens' Health/Mens Life, or maybe a membership to a web site like this one Dapper Me

 But listen to me Kid. KEEP YOUR DAMN MOUTH SHUT. Stay the hell out of their relationship issues. 

I disagree with most of the other replies: If your mother can't talk to you about problems with her husband then who the hell can she talk to? You are unlikely to change your father but you must be honest with him and talk to him about things he should do or that you can do together; there is no way you should stand by and watch any man upset your mother.

If your mother can't talk to you about problems with her husband then who the hell can she talk to?

Her husband.


It is not the job of a child to run his parent's love lives, or to decide how they are allowed to romance each other.

It is not the job of a child to be his mother's substitute husband or girl friend.


If your mother was unhappy about the way she was treated by anyone else then talking to them about it would be fine, this is not so different. You can't tell the woman who carried you for nine months and looked after you through childhood that "Look, it's your problem, not mine".

Rory---No, you're right, you can't tell your mom "Look, it's your problem, not mine" because that's no way to talk to your mother.  But you CAN say "maybe we'd better not get into that, Mom...let's not go there.  I love both you and Dad, and I don't want to get in the middle between you."  Then politely change the subject.

Anyone else *is* different from a spouse.    Marriage is not a casual encounter!

Interfering in one's parents' marriage is not love; it's an Oedipal jealousy thing, centered around the child's need to have momma for himself.  (I'm not talking about OP, who doesn't like the idea either.)  And I can and will tell my mother no the minute she asked, which she would not.  That's what men do:  they separate from the mother and get their own women.  Not dad's woman.  She's spoken for.


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