Look, when you click on an article titled “What It’s Like To Date Your Dad,” you know what you’re getting yourself into. Of course, the second you see a headline like “What It’s Like To Date Your Dad,” clicking is no longer optional. It’s rather like the Babadook, in that sense.
It’s distressing! (But you already knew that.) There are a great many questions that are brought up but barely addressed within the interview! (But you already knew that.) It does not seem like the dad in question has practiced Being The Responsible Adult in a healthy and appropriate way! (But you really, really already knew that.)
But easily the most upsetting portion of this deeply unsettling piece (I DO NOT BELIEVE FOR A SECOND THAT SHE ACTUALLY TOOK HER DAD-BOYFRIEND TO PROM AND THAT NOBODY NOTICED; NOR DO I BELIEVE THAT HER GRANDPARENTS ARE TRULY PLANNING ON ATTENDING THEIR UPCOMING WEDDING) is this:
Nobody says look at King Henry VIII! The man was the picture of health, at least until his festering jousting wound limited his mobility and kept him in chronic pain. His parents were barely related – their papal dispensation was for blood relation in the “double fourth degree of consanguinity”! Henry VII was a Lancaster and her name was Elizabeth of York, for godsakes. The man was six foot two during an era when the average man scarcely rose above 5’7. He was a superb athlete, a world-class tilter, an accomplished poet and musician, a remarkable dancer, and enjoyed archery, wrestling, and tennis.
Yes, later in his reign he was almost certainly suffering from the ravages of advanced syphilis, gout, and limited mobility, but that’s hardly the fault of his bloodline, which was frankly littered with commoners, for a monarch. You, my friend, are thinking of Carlos the Bewitched of Spain, a Hapsburg and the catalyst for the War of Spanish Succession. Not this man, who resembled a particularly robust Benedict Cumberbatch and was a fine physical specimen:
But this man, who resembled, unfortunately, a Hapsburg:
(For more ghastly examples of the famous “Hapsburg chin,” please check out Michelle Vaughan’s wonderfully distressing Hapsburg GIFs.)
Carlos did not speak until he was four and did not walk until he was eight; he was plagued with ferocious emotional and physical distress for the majority of his short life. Henry VIII married six women, most of whom were barely related to him (more commoners and Germans, mostly). Had Henry VIII chosen either Nicole or myself as his consort, I have no doubt that we would have borne him a fine passel of sons, and earned his genuine love and respect for the rest of his days, but that is neither here nor there. Carlos The Mad’s parents were uncle and niece.
If you are planning on committing consensual adult incest (which I do not think is a great idea and also given that the father and daughter in question were 39 and 18, it is highly doubtful that there wasn’t a disturbing power imbalance at the outset of the relationship) and plan on invoking the royal houses of Europe as justification for your relationship, it would behoove you to know your Tudors from your Hapsburgs! If you are going to make Incest Poster Relationship your thing and give interviews to NY Mag about it you have got to sort out your Carlos the Bewitcheds from your Joanna the Mads from your Anne the Fairly Normals. KNOW YOUR HISTORY.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.