10 Fathers On How Having A Daughter Changed Them For The Better


1. I am no longer afraid of the color pink.

“I’ve always been a what they call a ‘man’s man’—big, strong, and drawn to ‘manly’ pursuits like football, cars, drinking, and pointless feats of strength like being able to crush a beer can on my forehead. Well, that all changed within five minutes of my daughter being born. I was powerless in the face of that tiny little gumdrop that fell from the heavens, and all my machismo just melted away like a snowman in the rain. I even have pretend ‘tea parties’ with her and once even let her paint my nails! And I even like ‘My Little Pony.’ No, seriously!”

—Michael, 29

2. It turned me into a sobbing, weeping, pitiful pushover.

“This society teaches men to hold in their emotions, or we’re going to be mocked mercilessly. I honestly think that’s one of the reasons that men die earlier—we’re supposed to endure all of life’s slings and arrows without even making a whimper, or it somehow brings our masculinity into question. Well, so much for my masculinity. Once my daughter came into our lives, it all went out the window. Buh-bye, masculinity! She pierced my heart open and I’ve been a bleeding heart ever since. The first time I was able to cry in my adult life was the night she had a fever of 103 and we took her to the hospital because we didn’t know if she was going to pull through. I was finally able to just bust loose and cry. And I really made up for lost time. I cry at romantic comedies, at weddings, at children’s cartoons—at everything. She’s turned me into a blubbering mess. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

—Christopher, 31

3. A spell was cast on me and I magically became less of a jerk overnight.

“Looking back, I was a stereotypical ‘bro’ before my daughter was born. I got shitfaced drunk every night, got into fistfights, made crude remarks toward women, was combative with everyone, and didn’t even really realize that other people had feelings. All it took was for me to hold that little pink bundle the first time in the nursery at the hospital, and POOF! All that was gone. No more crude jokes, no getting drunk, and like a shortwave radio, suddenly I was able to tune into the feelings of those around me and realize how callous I’d been. I even open doors for women and help little old ladies cross the street. Sometimes I’ll even do the dishes without being asked!”

—Matthew, 28

4. It brought out fierce protective instincts I didn’t know I had.

“The mere thought of someone trying to harm my daughter brings out the Warrior Dad in me something fierce. Until she came into my life, violence never made any sense to me; now it makes perfect sense to want to smash in the face of anyone who even thinks about hurting her. I even started learning martial arts and bought the most ridiculously large four-wheel-drive truck that I call my ‘Armageddon Truck’ because I’ll be able to whisk my family away and reach for higher ground should any sort of natural or social catastrophe occur. Really, I’d step in front of a train to protect her without blinking. And if her first boyfriend is anything short of Prince Charming, I swear on all that’s holy that I’ll cut him.”

—Dave, 29

5. I fell in love with my wife all over again.

“Daddy’s little girl looks almost exactly like her mommy. She even inherited some of the unique facial tics that her mom has, like squinting real hard when she’s happy and biting her lower lip when she’s afraid. I’m not a religious person, so I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I realized that the true afterlife is your children. When I look at my daughter, I realize that it’s my wife reincarnated, and I love them both so much more because of it. I used to just shrug and say, ‘Yeah, sure’ when people told me that the love you have for your kids is beyond any kind of love you’ve ever felt, but wow, were they right.”

—Josh, 33

6. It totally changed my definition of what it means to be a man.

“I used to think that ‘being a man’ meant you were physically strong and emotionally cold—that no matter what life threw your way, you just suck it up without complaining. I didn’t realize this was actually a form of weakness and that there’s tremendous strength in sensitivity. Now I’m strong enough to hold in the tears when she’s sick with the flu, but also strong enough to run to the bathroom and bawl my eyes out the minute she falls asleep. I’m strong enough to get my ass out of bed on a Saturday morning and work overtime because she needs a new pair of roller skates. Allowing yourself to truly feel things is the definition of strength.”

—Jimmy, 27

7. It turned me into such an affectionate goofball, you’d throw up just seeing me in action.

“I’d always been sort of a cad with grown women, but that doesn’t mean my little girl doesn’t have me completely wrapped around her finger. She brings out an almost childlike side of me that only people who are very, very close to me ever get to see. I’m even more nauseatingly affectionate with her than I am with my dog, and that’s saying a mouthful. I do these little baby voices, I have a million cute nicknames for her, and then there are all the songs—right out of nowhere, I suddenly became a musical composer! I keep a list of all the little songs I’ve written about her, and at last count it was over three dozen. Each one is more sickeningly sweet than the next, and if you ever heard me singing one of them in that baby voice of mine, you’d be fully justified for throwing up in my face.”

—Jason, 34

8. It made me much more suspicious of men.

“It doesn’t really matter whether it’s ‘nature’ or ‘society’ that makes men this way, but our default setting is to seek and destroy. Yes, it’s helped men conquer the wilderness and build great cities, but it’s also led to war and death and destruction. Seeing this vulnerable little pink angel in her crib every night made me feel ashamed at the more destructive tendencies of my gender. It’s boys, not girls, who make the world dangerous. I think of the way me and my buddies talked about girls and acted toward girls, and I feel a little sick.”

—Danny, 26

9. I don’t watch porn anymore.

“Even I was amazed at the degree to which having a daughter completely changed the way I look at things like pornography. Knowing how guys are—and that when my little girl grows up they’re going to be ogling her and groping at her like me and my friends used to treat girls—I became much more conscious about looking at women as sex objects. And it’s not even porn—it’s skimpy outfits, too much makeup, too much obvious cleavage, really anything that reduces a woman to a body rather than a soul. Pretty much everything looks like porn to me now. I pretty much went from being a sleazy douchebag to a clean-living Amish farmer in the twinkling of an eye.”

—Jon, 30

10. I developed a raging distaste for Brazilian waxes.

“Changing my daughter’s diaper made something click in my head—this trend of adult women obsessively removing all their pubic hair like it’s some kind of STD is not only unnatural, it makes women look like babies. For Goddess’ sake, let it grow! Let pubic hair become part of the ‘body acceptance’ movement. Leave the hairless look to the babies, just like Mother Nature intended.”

—Brian, 33