They (whomever they are, psychologists, maybe) claim that people tend to be attracted to potential mates who bear similar characteristics as their parental figures. A creepy theory. Creepier even still when one recognizes the truth in it.

The Sister and I, though raised in the same household with the same parents, are attracted to very dissimilar guys. She likes the manly jocks; I like the smartass nerds. Her past boyfriends play hockey and refinish the basement; mine answer the Jeopardy! questions correctly and have been to Europe. Hers tend to have an easy laugh, occurring frequently; mine are quieter, with the same dry humor that I appreciate in The Brother.

But they all have the common thread: bearing a remarkable similarity to my father. We just pick different traits. Hers are similar on a surface level; mine are those on a personality level. And, this weekend, I found myself jealous of her traits. Not that I would want to date her type of guy, but I was jealous of the way my dad treats her type. With instant connection and approval.

My parents invited my sister’s new boyfriend, as well as her (obviously) and me, over for Sunday dinner. And my dad could talk to him easily about his job as a carpenter, his truck –with a stick shift no less- or my sister’s ridiculous decisions.

With my type, I always feel like my dad is lost, clueless as to what to say or do. He gets annoyed that they aren’t desperate for his approval or eager to talk tools … while remaining oblivious that their personalities, the same traits that are causing irritation, are the exact ones reflected in him.

I’m not only jealous of the natural, easy rapport, but also jealous that she, and chosen boy, are then the favorite.

Nevermind that she called me, drunk, on Sunday morning at 6am and left two voicemails saying what I always fear her voicemails will say: “Hi, little sister, I am in jail. Well, at the hospital in jail. Call me back.” Nevermind that. That story, and that secret side of her, remains hidden and the surface details, like her acceptable taste in guys, is the discussion at Sunday dinner.

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