No matter how well you get along with your father as an adult, dads mortify their children at one point or another growing up. In fact, there was probably a time when you truly believed your dad was the most embarrassing person in the world.
But while you might have been horrified, the people around you -- including the friends who've seen you beg him to “be chill, for ONCE” -- probably thought he was pretty cool. And while it may have taken you a few years (OK, decades) to see your dad with grown-up eyes, you realize that they had the right idea. Your dad wasn’t that embarrassing, and was actually kind of awesome.
We’ve partnered with Energizer to bring you 10 real-life stories of people who’ve changed their minds about their dads. Do you have any dad appreciation stories? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Dad: The Dance Machine
“My dad loves dancing at weddings. At many weddings, he would make me dance with him when no one else was dancing, like while everyone was waiting for dinner or during cocktail hour. I was always so embarrassed! But now it's really nice to look back on, and he totally passed his love of weddings onto me.” -- Molly, 28
2. A Father’s Keen Eye For Fashion
“My dad is an avid biker, so he would routinely show up to places, like parent-teacher conferences, my sports games, our house while friends were over, in his bike shorts. Often, he would be wearing many bright layers to be visible to cars. If it was a hot day and he was wearing a shirt, I felt like I'd managed to dodge a bullet. I think it's hilarious now, but as a 13-year-old girl, my dad wandering around shamelessly in his spandex shorts was obviously ruining my life.” -- Stephanie, 24
3. Nobody Is Staring, Are They?
“My dad would always insist on bringing a cooler of beverages and food to festivals and events since the cost of food was so outrageous. I thought it was super embarrassing to always lug around a bright red cooler, but as an adult, I totally get it. That stuff is so expensive and overpriced. I admire his thrifty mindset, especially considering the fact I can barely find time to pack a lunch for work.” — Corey, 27
4. Ground Control To … Dad?
“My dad is a ham radio operator. I always thought it was kind of weird; he even has a big tower at the house. But whenever I tell anyone about it, they think it’s actually really cool. Looking back, I guess it is really cool!” -- Jackie, 27
5. Dad Jokes Are The Best Bad Jokes
“When I was in 11th grade, my family spent some time traveling around the Northeast visiting colleges. This meant staying in hotels, something we hadn't done very much of growing up. You know how in a hotel, there is usually a huge mirror over the sink and then sometimes another mirror on the door? Somehow the hotel we were staying in had a mirror set up that allowed you to see the back of your head. Well one morning, my mom, brother, and I are lounging around the room while my dad is getting ready in the bathroom. Suddenly he pops out of the bathroom door and says "I have no hair!" We all looked at each other and him in silence. Of course he had no hair in back; he hadn't had any in years! We rolled our eyes and shook our heads.
Fast forward 12 years and my dad now shaves his head completely. I think back to that moment in the hotel room and I don't roll my eyes, I laugh. I think about my dad and his sense of humor and how he could laugh at himself in that moment, too.” -- Denise, 30
6. It’s Never Embarrassing To Be Prepared
“Both times I've leased a car, my father brought a financial calculator to the car dealership to ‘check their math.’ I was so embarrassed, but it’s actually a good idea to call the salespeople out on anything they might try to pull over on you. And I got good deals!” -- Julie, 39
7. There’s Always Time To Learn A Lesson
“My dad is a nuclear physicist, so before getting on a ride at a carnival, he made me listen to an explanation of what centrifugal force was so I would understand why the ride worked the way it did. After the ride, he quizzed me, asking at which point centrifugal force was used. At the time I was all eye rolls and ‘ugh's, but an adult, I think it's kind of awesome he took the time to teach his 8-year-old daughter about physics.” -- C.E., 27
8. You Can Have My Dad
“My friend’s dad used to always respond weirdly to salespeople. Whenever they asked if he needed help he would tell them he was just shoplifting, thanks for asking, and when asked if he wanted a box for something would respond, ‘No thanks, but I’ll wrestle you for the bathrobe.’ She was mortified, but I always thought he was so funny.” -- Amelia, 28
9. When Your Father Teaches You How To Tell Time
“My dad sets random times on the clocks around our house, especially his alarm clocks. But they all range from like, 12 minutes later than it actually is to 56 minutes or so later, so you never know what time it actually is. I used to hate this and my friends were always like, 'Why is your dad crazy?' But then I realized that it is just his weird way of trying to get places on time. Not that it works, but at least he has a system!” -- Jess, 27
10. A Fatherly Beauty Contest
“At my summer cottage growing up, dads from around the neighborhood would compete in an end-of-the-summer tanning competition. There was a little show and ceremony and everything. They’d parade in bathing suits and show off their tans to win votes from the rest of the neighborhood. Stark tan lines stretching well into the upper thigh were valorized; meager tan lines much closer to the knee were condemned. The winner would be crowned ‘Mahogany Man,’ and the least tanned participant would be shamed (or honored, depending on your perspective) as ‘Birch Boy.’ It kind of hit the sweet spot for mortifying and cool, or at least fun. The most fun part was that they did it purely for their own pleasure, a kind of private joke played out in public.” -- Stuart, 30
Whether it’s camping in the dark, walking the dog at night or making a late night snack together, make Dad a hands-free hero with the new Energizer headlights.