The Perfect Musical for Girls Without Daddies: Mamma Mia!

One girl's (fictional) search for her father made me ruminate on my own. Or lack thereof. Because I'm so lazy!
Publish date:
February 24, 2012
musicals, fathers, humor, i'm obsessed with musicals, abba, mamma mia!

I’m pretty convinced the only men who love me unconditionally in this world are my local bartender and my father. Just kidding! I don’t have a father.

What? I’ve told you guys before I’m not into feelings. Or sharing them publicly, anyway. So when it comes to things like not knowing my father, that’s pretty much verbatim how I deal with it. Well that or I wait until someone starts talking about how awesome her dad is and yell, “Stop bragging!” really loudly until a mortified look appears on her face, at which point I burst into laughter. Don’t worry though, I only do that to really close friends. And strangers.

Not growing up with a father was obviously totally normal to me since my parents were pretty much separated before I was even born. It was probably harder for my oldest (of two) brothers since he actually knew the guy for a while, but whatever, he can get his own therapy. This is about me.

All of that being said, I’m not going to pretend like there weren’t moments where I wondered where my father was or what he was like or WHY HE DIDN’T LOVE ME. Obviously there were times as a kid when it was a huge stress not to have a man I could look up to and learn from, like: when my mother didn’t give me my way. (Daddies are easier for little girls to manipulate according to “Father of the Bride” which is my sole source for everything paternal.) Also, by “my way,” obviously I mean “a pony.” Also, by “a pony,” clearly I mean “LOVE.”

I guess all of this is why when I went to see Mamma Mia! (their exclamation point, not mine) at the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco last night, I found I could oddly relate to the main character, a 20-year-old girl who is trying to figure out which of the three men that her (slut!) mother slept with in a two-week period in 1979 is her father. She invites all of the suspects to this remote Greek island (where her mother raised her) on the weekend of her wedding to figure out which of these men is supposed to walk her down the aisle.

I know, this was made into a movie and you’ve all probably seen it, so it’s annoying to explain the plot line to you, but if I’ve learned anything recently, it’s not to assume. Hence: a plot explanation. Also, I was kidding about the mom being a slut for sleeping with three dudes in a two-week period. I mean, hello: My father abandoned me as a baby. Three dudes in two weeks? TRY HARDER.

But while the story is certainly entertaining, if not totally unfair (she gets three dads and I get none?), that’s not really what Mamma Mia! is about. Because who cares about fathers when you have NON-STOP ABBA ACTION? Exacula. (I’m really trying to make “exacula” happen as a phrase. Feel free to adopt it.) I imagine there are people in the world who don’t love ABBA, although I also imagine those people live horrible lives without sequins or laughter, so they aren’t important. What is important is:

ABBA. From curtain-up to curtain-down. So much ABBA that every time they start singing a song, you’re like, “Ohmygod, this is my favorite.” And then the next one starts and you’re like, “No, THIS is my favorite.” Except you don’t say that aloud because you’re in the theater and one does not talk in the theater. One does, however, wiggle her shoulders to the beat of the music because one has a soul and she cannot help it BECAUSE IT’S ABBA.

(Seriously though. More theaters should do sing-a-long nights. Can you just imagine what it would be like to go to Les Misérables or Rentand sing aloud with every song? Could there be a better moment in life ever? Hint: NO.)

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is: If you don’t have a father and you like ABBA, you should probably go see Mamma Mia! when it hustles (yeah, I went there) into a town near you. Or go see it now in San Francisco. Even if you do have a father. In fact, what the hell: Take your dad with you. (And make him pay because that’s what I’ve always dreamed that daddies do.) Because, father or no father, everything is better with disco-pop in your life. Trust me. I needed a fun night more than anyone and Mamma Mia! totally delivered.

Also, I just want to say that while the main character ultimately chooses to have her mother accompany her down the aisle (which is obviously the correct choice since having three men try to do it would be clumsy), if I ever get married, I’m doing nothing of the kind. I think my mom did an awesome job of raising me and I know it must have been so hard raising three kids on her own, but as far as that walk down the aisle goes?

Do I really seem like the kind of girl to share that with anyone?