Today, for the briefest of moments, I actually felt BAD for Woody Allen, because his situation reminds me of my own father.
Before I continue, I have to explain that I AM NO WOODY ALLEN FAN. He brings to mind men like R. Kelly and other incredibly powerful men in the entertainment lexicon who are constantly surrounded by alleged (or in the case of monsters like Roman Polanski, proven) rumors of child sexual abuse, yet continue on with relatively unscathed, successful careers. Clearly, American society tips the scales in favor of talent over predatory behavior towards children, which is heartbreaking. Annie Hall just wasn’t THAT damn good.
Nevertheless, this post is not about creepers, but assumed fatherhood, an issue that made headlines earlier this year in the Allen Camp. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the story. Do you see that handsome young man to the left? Well, that’s Ronan Farrow. He is the son of Woody Allen (bottom, middle photo) and Mia Farrow (top, right photo.) What’s so unnerving though, is how much he looks like Mia’s ex-husband Frank Sinatra (top, middle photo).
Isn’t the resemblance uncanny?
The rumors of Ronan’s parentage dogged Mia Farrow for years before she added fuel to the fire when, in an October 2013 Vanity Fair article, she stated that Frank Sinatra was “possibly” Ronan’s father.
I don’t know about you, but at that time I could literally touch the envy of every woman that ever paid a visit to Maury and embarrassed herself, while desperately tracing over an indistinguishable feature on her child’s photo and yelling, “How can you deny my child?” Why? Because unlike too many of those women’s children, Ronan Farrow’s paternity appears undeniable. I mean, unless you’re set to believe that Frank Sinatra stepped out of a time machine into 2014 and dyed his hair blonde, circa Eminem 1999, it appears pretty likely that Woody Allen didn’t contribute a darn thing to Ronan but a screwed up paternal legacy and child support.
Now, could Ronan actually be Woody Allen’s biological child? Sure, we’ve sent people to the moon, so why couldn’t Woody Allen father a blonde Frank Sinatra? Chances are though, Woody aint the pappy. And that’s a possibility that Woody himself isn’t uncomfortable acknowledging. Earlier this year in a New York Times article, while defending himself against child molestation allegations made against him by his daughter Dylan, Woody said:
“I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son?”
No matter how you feel about Woody Allen, you have to admit that is pretty fucked up. And given that everyone clearly sees Ronan and Frank’s resemblance, especially since you can now bring Ronan into your living room via his daytime MSNBC show, I feel safe assuming Mia Farrow knew the business early on. I am giving her the serious side eye right now.
Let me say this: I am not attempting to speak on behalf of Ronan Farrow, because I don’t know what he knows or feels. This is a post about MY hurt and pain over assumed paternity, because I too am a child that has been left with questions.
The photo to the right is of me (middle), my mom (top), and my dad (bottom.) As you can see, I don’t look anything like my father. At least not anymore. There are baby pictures of me with white (literally) skin, but that quickly faded into a version of the skin I have now, as is common with most black children. Today, my dad is a slender, fit, freckled man with a hint of red in his dark brown hair. I, on the other hand, am a short, fat, mahogany brown skin complexioned young lady with jet black hair and nary a freckle in sight. Visually speaking, the only thing we have in common is our glasses, which could just as easily be explained by my profession as a graphic designer. I actually look so much like my mother, when I talk, family members often blink and marvel at how much I remind them of her. Sometimes I call people and they call me by her name. OUR resemblance is that uncanny.
And being my mother’s double is precisely why I have been able to forgive my father for asking me for a paternity test. As I grew up, family strife caused our relationship to deteriorate and he was not in my life. Silence, distance and a lack of a resemblance has a way of bringing about questions. While I won’t high-five him for his timing (I was a young teenager) I would spend a great deal of my adulthood empathizing. Every man deserves to know if he is the father. And every child deserves to live a life unquestioned.
Now, before you go thinking my mother is the Devil, you ought to know a few minor details. Like the fact that, upon my birth, mom was age 13 and dad was age 15. They weren’t exactly in a position to handle the situation like adults and clearly, somewhere along the line the adults in their lives had failed them. Nevertheless, life went on and when the question of paternity arose, it was valid. Unfortunately, my father never received an answer, therefore, neither did I.
Today, my mother rolls her eyes if you question my father’s paternity. She makes a hell of a case for why I’m definitely his child. Apparently, the level of asshole exhibited by two parties is more solid than DNA. She is certain he is my father, and given how young they were, I believe her. However, because we have not taken a DNA test, there is room for doubt.
When I was younger, that really bugged me. I hated that I didn’t look anything like my dad. When I was 8 or 9 years old, my dad had a son with his wife at the time. He looks a lot like my father and I’d find myself staring in the mirror and questioning why I didn’t see myself reflected in that part of my family. Then, as my brother grew up and turned into one of my favorite people, I found myself feeling fear that maybe he wasn’t my brother at all, which resulted in constant nights of turmoil. The pain in not knowing can be unbearable.
Luckily in this day and age, establishing paternity has never been more streamlined. You’ve got adopted kids finding their birth parents on Facebook. Children of sperm donors are finding their dads and siblings on registry websites. You can purchase a damn paternity test over-the-counter in Walgreens! In 2014, there is no reason not to know, unless you just don’t want to.
As for me, well, I no longer want to. I’ve reestablished contact and a relationship with my father and that has left me without need for “confirmation.” After everything we’ve been through, no amount of or lack of blood could change the fact that he’s my father. When I was a kid, I needed him and wanted to know that he was my dad, because then I knew that he was SUPPOSED to be there for me. At age 30, I don’t need him anymore. His primary function has become advice and conversation and it has left me with a calm about it all. Love is simpler when there is nothing dependent upon it.
Besides, after all this time, it would break my heart if we took that dang test and he wasn’t my dad. I am no longer a repressed kid that can shove my feelings to the back of my mind to deal with later. At this age, I acknowledge my pain and work on processing it. Why even go there? Sometimes ignorance is bliss.
Plus, mom is never going to stop reminding me it’s a moot point anyway. She calls me by my dad’s name whenever she thinks I’m acting like him. It’s happening far more frequently as I age. Me and dad find it funny. Some of my favorite moments with him happen when we’re both being a tool.