Growing up, I recall that my sisters and I were often called, with a degree of surprise, the Spencer girls. I know that a lot of people would say that was simply our last name, but that didn’t really seem to be the reason. Even our boyfriends got that. People would say, “You are going out with one of the Spencer girls?” like they were shocked about it…or like they wondered how they had managed to live through meeting our dad…which couldn’t have been further from the truth about how our dad was. I know that some dads are the kind of guy who practically threatens any guy who wants to take out their daughters, with bodily harm if they break her heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, because our dad would have done whatever he needed to do to protect his daughters, but he was a man who would give a guy the benefit of the doubt…until they proved that they were trouble. Nevertheless, every guy we went out with was a Knot Head!! I suppose that was Dad’s way of saying that, in his opinion, no guy was good enough for his little girls…and believe me, most of them weren’t. The keepers were the ones who showed Dad that they weren’t Knot Heads.
We used to get…almost annoyed with Dad when he called guys Knot Heads, but deep inside, we knew that it was really his way of telling us that he wanted the very best for us, and this guy would have to prove himself before he would believe that he was worthy of our love. He wanted us to have men in our lives who would be good to us, treat us like ladies, protect us, and most of all, love us…until death we do part. How could we ever really be mad at him about that? It simply showed the love our dad had for his daughters…and down the road, granddaughters and grandsons, although the girlfriends weren’t Knot Heads.
Dad always had a way about him. He was able to tease us about boyfriends and yet, really mean that he wasn’t sure this guy was any good. Even while we protested at the name he gave them, we knew that it was more about us than the guy. He wanted us to know that his love for his daughters made him doubt most of the guys we went out with. He knew what most teenaged boys and even young men in their twenties were really like. Marriage and respect weren’t what they had in mind…unless they were the right guy, and that guy would endure the scrutiny and the doubt, and go on to prove to Dad and his daughters that they were the kind of men Dad wanted for his daughters…and not the Knot Head that he had thought them to be.
Looking back now, I am thankful for the scrutiny my dad used to view the men we dated, because it was through that scrutiny that I ended up with my husband, Bob. Yes, Bob was a Knot Head when we first started dating, just like every other guy I dated, but in later years, after he endured the scrutiny and passed the test, Dad often told me how proud he was of Bob. He liked him a lot, and respected him very much. Dad knew he could count on Bob to help out when anyone in the family needed help, but more importantly, he knew that Bob would be there for me throughout our lives. And he was right. Bob had proved himself, and in the last days of Dad’s life, Dad knew that he could count on Bob to help with the caregiving work that was needed in our family as well as in Bob’s, because Bob was definitely no longer a Knot Head.