Sunday, October 14, 2012
Occasionally, when I was in high school, I'd get dressed up to go on a date or out to a party with my girlfriends. I'd think I looked very cute and stylish. Until I walked into the kitchen.
Then my dad would perk up from 60 Minutes or the football game, eye me up and down, and pronounce, "Melissa, you look like a hooker."
And my blood would boil. I'd be FURIOUS. How dare he? All old and stuff! He didn't know what was in style! Jerk! I couldn't stand him! Who did he think he was?
I'd huff and I'd puff and I'd stomp back to my room, cursing him under my breath.
I'd look in the mirror. Curse him some more. And change my clothes.
Because that's the power a daddy has. When your dad - your old, dorky dad - says you look like a hooker, it trumps whatever a magazine or music video or friends said was cool. That jerk, he killed that outfit. All the stylish joy was just SUCKED right out of it.
I had no clue. I was young, all I cared about was looking pretty. My concept of pretty was doled out to me by other teenage girls, fashion magazines and MTV. None of which have ever once been extolled for their virtuous wisdom.
My dad, though, he had been a teenage boy once. He was now a man, so his sexuality had been tuned down, what, a percentage of a percent? He knew. He knew what teenage boys are like. He knew what grown men are like. He knew what I did not know. He knew what I - now, ten years married, "middle aged," college educated, well read, passionate for equality, with several women's studies courses under my belt - still only vaguely grasp.
Tonight, facebook is all abuzz with homecoming pictures. I'm looking at skirts on 15 or 16 year old girls that are so short, if they bend over...I'm looking at strapless dresses revealing some mighty cleavage on girls who haven't been potty trained for more than a decade.
I'm thinking of my own sons, who in just a few years, wildly hormonal yet wildly clueless, will appear with a corsage on the doorstep of a girl whose daddy didn't say anything.
And I'm wondering, where the hell are these girls' daddies? Their daddies who know?
Have they so abdicated their role of protector, so emasculated themselves that they're scared to make her mad, so instead, they throw her to the wolves? Because that's sick.
Or are they proud of seeing their daughter look sexy? Because that's sicker.
I have a word for those daddies.
MAN UP FOR YOUR PRECIOUS GIRL.
BECAUSE IN CASE YOU DIDN'T NOTICE - BUT I KNOW YOU DID -
YOUR DAUGHTER LOOKS LIKE A HOOKER.