Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter
If you've ever felt protective of your teenage daughter, you'll find this parental tirade absolutely hilarious.
You want to date my daughter? Here’s the deal.
Jaxsen, is it? Fine. Whatever. Look here, PAL, I’ve got something to say.
I, TOO, was a 16-year-old boy once. I’m not an idiot. I know how this works. I’m glad that you and Raina are having fun together. But listen up, buddy, and LISTEN GOOD—it’s 2019, and if you do ANYTHING to hurt my wonderful daughter, I swear to GOD, I will be concerned and disappointed but ultimately step back and let her navigate her own emotional GROWTH.
Here’s the goddamn deal, JAXSEN. By all means, nervously come over to our house with weird flowers, pick Raina up and show her a nice time. But KNOW THIS: at every moment, I AM WATCHING myself and actively resisting my ingrained urge to INFANTILIZE MY DAUGHTER and deny her a NORMAL AND HEALTHY EVOLUTION INTO MATURE ADULTHOOD. GOT IT? Okay, good.
So, every time you two lovebirds go out for frozen yogurt and a movie, I want you to remember THIS: I will be sitting on the front porch with my REVOLVER CD playing, because I really LOVE that WONDERFUL ALBUM. And you bet your scrawny butt I’ll be READY AND WAITING to hear about WHICH FILM YOU GUYS SAW and WHETHER YOU LIKED IT.
See, CHAMP, if I ever—EVER—learn that you made my daughter cry or caused her any kind of distress, I swear on my goddamn LIFE that I will hunt you down a NICE CARD so that you can write her a proper apology, because we all mess up from time to time, especially as young people, and, FURTHERMORE, I need to accept that I don’t have the ABILITY to shield her from ALL PAIN, which is an inevitable part of LIFE. Even if I did, I would only be hindering her development of COPING STRATEGIES. YOU GOT THAT, CHIEF???
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You need to respect my daughter… and so do I!
Lotta boys out there, Jaxsen. YEP. Don’t think I don’t see ’em. They’re on her dodgeball team, they’re at parties, they’re Chatsnapping her non-stop. And, if you want my honest opinion, NO BOY will EVER be good enough for my PRINCESS. That’s a thing I’d say if I didn’t acknowledge that “princess” is a fundamentally PATRONIZING epithet. And there are probably numerous boys who are good enough for her, because that’s how DATING TENDS TO WORK. I leave it to Raina to decide whether someone’s good enough for her or not. She seems to have decided that you are, and that is HER PREROGATIVE and NICE FOR YOU.
LOOK, PAL: this is not easy for me. The minute Raina was born, she was Daddy’s little girl. HOWEVER, I MEAN THAT ONLY LITERALLY: she was a physically small human and her DNA strongly suggested that she was my kid. It still does. But, after a point, that mentality is WEIRD AND GROSS, and now I just nervously give her driving lessons and proofread her essays, and we go to BASEBALL GAMES and argue about the plausibility of most of the plot points of Riverdale.
ANY QUESTIONS? WOULD YOU LIKE TO STAY FOR DINNER? I’M MAKING SOME EGGPLANT THING FROM A BOOK.
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© 2018, Sophie Kohn. From The New Yorker (June 17, 2018), newyorker.com.