Less coy is my friend Charlotte, 52, an artist; proud to admit that her romantic relationships have been defined by Daddy.
“I was the pretty little blond-haired girl, after three boys,” she says, “which for my father was quite special.
He was incredibly kind, and my husband was too – I was attracted to someone with a similar air.
They were both so reliable, and strong.” My own father – who died 18 years ago – always grinned at my rotten jokes.
We were on holiday, in Switzerland, and a grand hotel refused to let us have a drink in their bar.
Banished into the snowy night, I remarked that they were so stuffy, “They probably have a hired ghost.” Hardly funny, but my father chortled, “A hired ghost! When you were blessed with a dad who taught you how to fish for minnows, and read you bedtime stories, the essence of that love stays with you and makes it hard to settle for less.
We talked about my cousin, an eminent professor of mathematics.
“Imagine,” said my uncle, in his thick accent, “me, a tailor, with a son who’s a professor.” Phil replied, “A professor would look pretty silly wearing no trousers.” Seventeen years into marriage, it finally strikes me that I sought out a man with Dad’s generosity of spirit, without even realising.
You just grab whatever’s on the shelf that makes you feel good right now.
When women don’t grow up affirmed and acknowledged by their fathers, they’re like hungry shoppers. If you had a father who’s cold and distant, you don’t know how to relate to men in another way.