• Feis Dad:
  • 19 March 2014

What’s it like being a Feis Dad?

Just a dad in an Irish dance world,

  • Like this article? Share it with your Facebook friends!

So, not being sure what to write about for my next post, I asked my followers on my Facebook page what they thought. My idea of a blog comparing Irish Dance to American Bull Riding didn't seem to go over to well. Someone posted "how about how it feels to be a feis dad in a feis mom dominated arena? I have to assume it must be a different perspective."

Another follower posted "there is more to a Feis dad than just the Feis Dad sticker picturing dad with a handful of cash", but closed that thought with "we saw a dad putting a wig on his daughter one day and we all took pictures". That could be read 'dads are more than that, but it is so rare it is photo-worthy'. Is that a positive or negative, hard to tell.

I see two different questions there, so I am going to take them one at a time, in no particualr order.

WARNING: the following may contain extreme sarcasm which may be unsuitable for some readers.

Feis Dads, the general opinion...

OK, if you saw the opening picture, you see how I imagine the average feis-goer sees the average feis dad. Some dads can best be described as the ride and the bank. They tend to just sit in their camp chairs with a laptop or a book, with some staying there the whole day until the packout. Remember, that is my opinion, your feis dad mileage may vary. I know feis dad's like this, some barely manage to move to the stage to watch their children dance...bad feis dad, bad, you are contributing to the stigma.

On the contrary however, I know one feis dad who has 5 dancers, with their 5 black zucas in tow, and he can do it all. With five dancers, even with their very active feis mom, he almost has to. No way the mom can be responsible for all of it, with 5 dancers spread all over the venue on feis day.

Being a feis-dad in a feis-mom dominated arena...how can that be bad?

If you havent figured it out, I am a little bit extroverted. Being one of the rare species 'Feiseus Daddicus Interactivi (FDI)' could be seen as a good thing, or maybe a bad thing.

To extreme feis moms (Feiseus Momicus Dramaticus), FDIs are a threat to the inner sanctum of the female dominated world of feisdom. 'I mean, those dads already have football and wrestling, what do they need with Irish Dance? What do they know about hair and makeup, fashion and dance?' But there are boys in Irish Dance too! 'No worries, they only wear black, a vest and a tie. Black is slimming, a vest has only 3 buttons, and we can get a clip on tie, we don't need the FDIs.'

Viewed by my rational readership however, I think FDIs are a good thing, at least I hope so. We are simply the dads who are interested in our childs passion. The Irish heritage is from my side of the family, and being able to see TGC participate in something so traditional, and to love it so much, brings me joy, so why wouldn't I want to be involved? And truly, if you make it to the end of this article, you will realize that I am no threat to all the things feis moms do so well.

And from a Freudian perspective, being a 'cool dad' in front of potentially thousands of feis moms (he says confidently assuming this is just naturally happening anyway) is good for my ego, or maybe my id, never really got all that. That is happening, right? wink OK, so maybe it just plays along well with my extroversion.

Pay and drive, drive and pay...

Now this next part may come out chauvinistically, but is truly not meant to be. Irish Dancers are predominantly female, with 'female requirements' (hair, makeup, holding up the dress on pee breaks between dances, etc..), which lends itself well to having a Mom being the responsible parent. On the other hand, there are some that are more suited for Dads, and if both parents are lucky enough to participate, things just kind of settle out a certain way.

In our house, dad polishes the shoes, mom polishes the nails. Mom does the makeup and I say, 'does she really need that much makeup?' Mom puts on the wig and I stand there holding the bobby pins, and other hair accessories for easy access. When it comes to the hair, it is better that way.

Meeting expectations, I am more likely the one to drive, drop Mom and TGC off at the front door when it is raining, or when we have to park in the middle of nowhere, and carry the chairs. I tend to think that is more chivalry (or maybe caveman mentality, 'must take care women') than anything else. I am also the one more likely to tell people 'down in front' when they are blocking the stage at a feis, but that is more because of my outward, some say intimidating, appearance, which tends to get results.

There are somethings I can do that my wife can't physically, or that are not in her nature. The time we thought TGC broke her foot the night before feis and I carried her to the car, and then into the emergency room, for example (TGC and my wife are about the same size). But things like that are uncommon, and I know she would have found a way if I hadn't been there. I am also the more competitive one, analyzing the competition and coaching TGC on how to handle certain situations. But those are both 'typically' dad things, not necessarily feis dad things.

There are some responsibilities where I might cross the 'typical gender barrier' in our little feis ecosystem. I am the one who is most likely to suggest ice cream as a consolation, or possibly a celebration after a feis. I am also the one who cried when TGC finally got the last (of 8) first places she needed to move to PC. The last thing, is the fact that I write a blog for Irish Dance, which is probably the last thing you would expect a typical mid-western, outwardly intimidating, dad to do.

When it comes to being a feis dad, I tend to think I am just being a dad, doing what any normal dad would do, but surrounded by Irish dancers. To be honest, I wouldnt have it any other way.

Comments

Tom - Bristol
28 March 2014

Another great post Feis Dad. I couldn't agree more with with you!

Sign in to subscribe to comment notification emails

Add your comment

Thank you so much. I can’t say enough as to how helpful all of you have been. This has been a great experience and I appreciate all the feedback and communication.

Pat - USA
Sign in to your Antonio Pacelli account
×
Enter your email address to receive instructions on resetting your password
×