High Expectations For Potential Boyfriends
Korean idols and K-drama oppas might be raising the bar for men these days, almost in an unrealistic fashion. For me and my sister, however, the OG ‘spoil-market’ man will always be our dad.
My dad is the type of guy who will always hold the lift door for the next person. He helps fellow plane passengers load their hand luggage into the overhead compartments. With his children, he is just as big-hearted. In fact, I have come to realise that my dad is the reason why I have high expectations for boyfriends and people around me.
High-level childhood play dates
When I was younger, we lived considerably close to Pandan River. As a kid, I would follow my dad’s silhouette as we weaved through the large drains near our home, going on what we called a “longkang adventure”. Though that memory is now a vague one, there are many other ways my dad made my childhood a fun-filled one.
Before museum-hopping was cool, my dad would drive my sister and I around the island to visit local museums and nostalgic spots. He would encourage us to take pictures in front of the attraction, enthusiastically waving from behind the lens of his trusty digital camera. No need for an Insta boyfriend when your dad hypes you up.
Indoor camping and an art session with Dad
My dad was always proposing spontaneous ideas that greatly appealed to his 2 young daughters. Once, he constructed a fort out of bamboo poles for an indoor camping session in the living room. Occasionally, he would take us out for McDonald’s supper sessions at 12am. We would have McNuggets under the stars while sitting in the back seat of the car, just for the feels.
These extraordinary playdates were not marked by extravagance. Rather, they reflected my dad’s creative spirit and his desire to make the most out of his time with his children.
My dad has eternally transformed the way I spend time with my loved ones. He has shown me what it means to be completely present for the people who matter most to you. I hope my partner will do the same for me, as I would for him.
Forever a princess in his eyes
Me at my birthday party at 4 years old (left) and Dad putting up decorations for my eighth birthday party
I was lucky enough to have birthday parties as a child. Clad in a princess dress bought by Mum, I stood in front of my Disney Princess cake, smiling from ear to ear as my friends and family sang me the birthday song. As a kid who grew up watching Disney movies, these celebrations were a dream come true.
Dad would always go to great lengths to make sure everything mimicked a fairytale. He would spend hours decorating the venue, from printing out his own banners to laminating materials for party games.
Exam tea break when I was in primary 1
Even on regular days, we were still his “darling princesses”, as he’d affectionately call us. During one exam season, he beckoned my sister and I out of the study room, revealing a surprise Disney Princess tea set-up in the balcony. I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.
Morning car rides during my A-Level preparations in October 2019
As I grew older, princess tea breaks become rare occurrences. Even then, Dad’s support manifested in different ways. It took the form of having chicken rice in his car on the way to tuition and the “good luck” when he dropped me off at school.
Some parents show their love by cutting fruits for their kids, others guide their children through their schoolwork. My parents’ actions remind me that whether I’m successful or not, they love me all the same. In their eyes, we are always the same princes and princesses.
In some way, that grounds me in my journey to adulthood. It helps me to stand up again on days when I feel like I no longer matter. While I don’t need to be a princess in my partner’s eyes, I hope my relationship with him can be as consistent and comforting.
My dependable rock
My dad isn’t just about big romantic gestures. He’s someone I turn to when I encounter day-to-day problems at home too. From “Daddy, the toilet cannot flush” to “Papa, the light spoil”, Mr Chua always comes to my rescue with his handy tool box. Till this day, I still yell for my dad whenever a cockroach makes an appearance and I can always count on him to put me out of my misery.
He is also an extremely neat person who loves to keep things organised. As kids, my sister and I had to empty the cupboards once a year and discard items we no longer needed. On family trips, he would always work his magic and somehow manage to fit all our shopping into the luggage.
My dad’s organisational skills and his ability to solve everyday problems at home has made him the most dependable figure in my life. He has unknowingly set high expectations when it comes to the qualities I look for in my ideal partner; someone who puts in extra care and effort for his family.
Thank You, Dad, For Everything
Me with my family at the 2018 floorball finals
To compile images for this article, I swiped my dad’s hard drive without his knowledge. While I was aware that he kept our old photos neatly arranged in folders, I had no idea that he is still updating this collection in 2020. From selfies I sent him via Whatsapp to videos from my floorball semi-finals last year, I found them all in his seemingly innocent hard drive, storing so much of the love he has for my sister and me. It is in these small moments I know how big of a role I play in his life. That fact leaves me incredibly moved and speechless.
To Dad, thank you for volunteering for my primary 1 zoo trip; for fetching me to school in the morning, no questions asked; and now, for sharing my articles every day. As we always say, “You are super spoil market. How to find boyfriend like that?” Thank you for loving me in a way no one else can.
This article was first published on 19 June 2020 and last updated on 2 December 2023.