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Excerpt from Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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A Memoir

by Patricia Lockwood

Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood X
Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2017, 352 pages

    May 2018, 352 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Lisa Butts
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Print Excerpt


A priest 's uniform includes the following: a white collar, either cloth or celluloid. A black short-sleeved shirt, black slacks and black belt, black shoes. Black Gold Toe socks. No other kind of sock is even considered. Underwear, I think. They buy these items from a special Sacred Clothing catalog, which for some reason is illustrated with pictures of priests laughing insanely, raising crunk cups to Christ, and posing in close embraces. No one knows what they're doing, but they appear to be having just as good a time as the Victoria's Secret models. Pillowfights do not seem far away. When my father started saying the Latin Mass, he gave up the short-sleeved shirts and slacks and took to wearing a cassock, which is just a long black dress for a man that everyone refuses to call a dress. ("It is a dress," I have reiterated many times, trying to open people's eyes to the truth. "And the pope wears what a baby would wear to the prom.") The seminarian wears a cassock too, because he's traditional, and he asked for thirty-three buttons on his: one for each year of Jesus' life. On formal occasions, both of them affect a pompom hat, which has no utility as far as I can tell and which no one has ever been able to explain to my satisfaction.

"Really, a pompom hat?" I ask one day, when the seminarian and my dad are both sitting across the table from me decked out in their full regalia, looking like two dark Muppets from the realms of hell.

"It's not a pompom, it's a tuft," the seminarian tells me. "A pompom would be silly."

"We don't call it a hat, we call it a biretta," my father adds, his tuft going absolutely wild.

Ah. Why wear a regular hat, when you can wear a hat that sounds like a firearm. I begin flipping through the latest Sacred Clothing catalog and pause at a picture of a hundred-year-old priest and a twenty-five-year-old priest spooning each other in front of a stained-glass window. "Look at these incredible fantasy scenarios," I say, turning the picture sideways. "I'm taking this upstairs with me. This is my Playboy now." A few pages on, a photo of a female minister wearing vestments in all colors of the rainbow catches my attention. "Wait a minute, there are women in this?"

My father screws his eyes up very tinily, as if to cause the female minister and all others like her to disappear. "Those goofy Anglicans," he says, and then makes the distressing moo-cow noise he always makes when imitating the communications of feminists, who lurk in his imagination in rabid, milk-spurting, man-stampeding herds. "MooOOooo, we all gotta be equal, don't we?" he mocks, with such perfect assurance of my agreement that I wonder if he has ever really looked at me, or heard a single word I've ever said. Perhaps, when all is said and done, I am more like a son to him than a daughter.

Excerpted from Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood. Copyright © 2017 by Patricia Lockwood. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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