In Search of the Paternal
after Sarah Hanner’s “WANTED: Biological Father”
ISO: Paternal Grandfather (part-time)*
Woman, 20-something searches for a father for her own father. Requirements include: AARP status. Bill Nye’s enthusiasm. Thick, salt and pepper hair slicked back with stiff gel that has a distinct smell lingers in a room. 6’0 exactly. Must want to play catch with the said son who is in his late 30s. May enjoy the occasional backyard-pond fishing. Must want grandchildren; specifically, grand-girls. Enjoys reading the daily comics. Bonus: clips the exceptionally funny ones and saves them for the eldest granddaughter—me—when she comes to visit for frequent breakfast dates. Extra bonus: saves comic in an envelope with a hand-written note. Can be married, but the wife should want a son and grandchildren. She can knit and is willing to teach me. Wife/step-mom/grandma must bake fresh cookies. Important: must not have any other children—my father doesn’t like to share. All of your attention should be on him now. Acceptable reasons for being an absentee father and grandfather: was on Mars helping build a sustainable home for when Earth dies. Got lost in an airport for 37 years. Fell down a well.
ISO: Father (full-time)*
Same 20-something searches for her own father. Must be: dirty blonde, average build, and shorter than 5’8 (I am insecure about my 5’5 height and need someone to take the blame for it). Blue eyes are a plus, but not required. Should be: funny like Robin Williams and wholesome like Tom Hanks. Talents may include: singing (quality optional) and celebrity impersonations. Enjoys trivia night, and, although competitive, never gets angry about losses. Bonus: enjoys reading classic literature. First because I enjoy it then as a guilty pleasure. Extra bonus: When not reading, you watch The Office while cooking replica Kevin’s chili. Will always support and cherish me. Important: no wife or kids. I come with two extra of your biological children: one half, one whole. Though co-parenting with our mother(s) is a must, a romantic relationship isn’t. No drugs or alcohol. No school, work, or family functions should be missed. Non-acceptable excuses for being absent for most of my life: you didn’t have a father of your own. Other excuses will be put up for review and my sisters and I will get back to you.
ISO: Future Father of My Children (full-time, no exceptions)*
Still the same 20-something, now also a hopeless romantic searches for a man who wants a wife and children. Marriage is negotiable as it is a social construct. Height, weight, and other features are negotiable. Bonus: your eyes are blue. Must want three children, no less and no more. Must also: have quirky dad-jokes, wear a pun-inspired apron while cooking, and pretend to be a princess during tea parties. Extra bonus: you recognize parenting as a partnership. In our own relationship, you don’t roll your eyes when I blame sleeping with older men as a teenager on yet-to-be diagnosed daddy issues. You won’t judge me for doing it when I wasn’t a teenager, either. You’ll be patient with my abandonment issues. You won’t become frustrated or feel neglected when I answer unknown calls during important conversations because even though we both know it isn’t, I still think it might be my long, lost father. You will comfort me when I cry because it’s a telemarketer. Most importantly, you will be the type of father to our children that my sisters and I always wanted for ourselves: present, stable, and supportive.
If any of these are you, please send headshot, bio, and resume to my provided email.
Kayla Jessop is a recent graduate of the Masters of Arts in Writing program at Coastal Carolina University. Her creative nonfiction has been published in Tempo and is forthcoming in other literary magazines. She does her best writing while sitting in coffee shops and daydreaming about possibilities. In her free time, she enjoys cross-stitching and watching New Girl.