By Jenn Sutkowski | Mercury | Full Frontal
At Daniel Webster Farm Day in Marshfield, Massachusetts, there are angora bunnies to pet and they’re not even jumpy. There are tan and smooth beeswax candles for my candelabra from the beekeepers. There is an owl show run by a husband and wife team, both in embroidered owl vests, who try to warn the children to stay out of the center aisle lest owl pellets be visited upon them (they take the high road and neglect to mention what razor-sharp talons could do to human skin). Another husband and wife team let me taste all of their homemade (and ridiculously low-priced) jams, and I leave with jars each of delectable raspberry lime, carrot cake, peach orange ginger marmalade, and Grammy Sutton’s red pepper jam (find Sommers’ Bounty on Etsy).
A band of women which I’ve recently joined plays a set and we get some thoughtful compliments, including from a blacksmith - which seems like an omen of good tidings somehow. Sure, it’s the chimney sweep who’s considered lucky but I’ve only been complimented once before by a blacksmith, so it seems special.
Also - please don’t call a woman’s husband “Daddy.” Just don’t. Especially as relates to cash, or if you’re a man selling something to a woman who doesn’t have cash on her. My husband is not my “Daddy.”
“Daddy’s always got the money,” says the man selling the natural soaps as my husband opens his wallet.
I briefly consider not buying the soaps and rose salve after several “Daddy” comments. But I really want the soaps. Am I letting myself down, as well as all of the feminists who’ve come before me?
Now every time I soap up with my sudsy cake of oatmeal fir-needle-orange made by a woman named Hortense I’ll think of her husband who called my husband “Daddy,” I’ll think of calling my actual father “Daddy” when I was a little girl, also present in the shower will be Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem. It’s going to be a busy cycle of ablutions and should probably be a movie, in which my father and the soap-seller learn a few pointers about feminism.
Possible responses to another man calling your man “Daddy”:
Call-out, Betty Draper style: “Does your wife call her female customers’ husbands ‘Daddy,’ too?”
Inner world-weary drag queen: “Honey, my Daddy is eighty-three. I’m four years older than my husband. Does he look like my Daddy to you?”
Due-diligent feminist: “My father had better be standing behind me or else what you’re saying is pretty sexist.”
Mae West: “Where’s this Daddy you’re talking about? I could use a few more clams, see?”
Out-weirding him: “Whoa, do you and your wife have, like, freakish parental sex nicknames for each other? Kinky.”
Shopaholic: “Oh, poo. I’ll just take the damn soaps.”
I won’t let a little unintentionally sexist attempt at humor ruin an otherwise beautifully-rounded day of autumnal bliss. This city girl needs to relax.
Jenn Sutkowski is now thinking about candelabra, and that perhaps Liberace could pull off calling someone’s husband “Daddy.”
Printed and posted in The Newport Mercury Wednesday October 29, 2014.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
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