The Boyfriend

We have our first boyfriend in the family. I have to say that I am pretty excited for my daughter. She’s nearly 15 and I think that is a fair age. I trust her, but I’m not “Channel 6 News at 11” stupid. I never underestimate the tenacity of a hormone frenzied teen. The other night, my mini-me told me she had a rehearsal that wasn’t on the calendar. Immediately, my mind went to the old “I have a practice at the school and you need to take me but I’m really going to pretend to go there wait till you leave and sneak off to my boyfriend’s house” mode. After some detective work, it turns out that she really did have a practice. Poor thing. She never even knew I was investigating. Would she even know to pull something that sneaky? Damn skippy she would.

I feel like I have been preparing my girls and myself for the first boyfriend since they were old enough to talk. There were the pre-school conversations about the boy who kissed her on the cheek. That’s so cute. He likes you.

In elementary school it was more about diffusing the gross factor. I’ve listened to countless stories of how he said she was stupid, explaining that a 5th graders game was pretty sad and for the most part, he’s brain-damaged.

Middle school contained more brain damaged boys, some with weird facial hair and funny voices, but that’s about it.

Now, high school is all about damage control. The conversations have become dramatic arias about relationships that I clearly don’t understand or couldn’t possibly have experienced. I listen, face completely devoid of emotion. I have learned that if you begin to even crack a smile, it will be met with a “Mahmmmmmm! Gahdddddddd!” So, I sit like a statue, rolling my eyes on the inside.

I try to add a nugget of wisdom at the end, careful not to begin with a “when I was your age”(I was told that anything after that sentence turns into Charlie Brown’s teacher talk). I can usually get in a good piece of advice if I pretend to say it in passing. However, now that the boyfriend has entered our airspace, the commentary has become far more pointed and direct.

If you’re going to give your daughters advice, you better be willing to lead by example. It is impossible to teach your daughter how to have a healthy relationship if you can’t consider yourself a role model.

One of my pet peeves revolves around the use of the word “bitch”. Ooh, I hate that word. I especially can’t stand to hear it in everyday conversation. If you call me a bitch, prepare to be cursed out or worse. No man should ever call you a bitch. You have to make it clear that this is unacceptable. Now, if you allow this type of talk in your home, it’s not so easy to insist a boyfriend show your daughter respect. A man who calls a woman out of her name is a man who doesn’t deserve her attention. Ever.

A young lady will emulate relationships she sees. If you make bad choices and demonstrate destructive behavior; guess what. Get your act together.

My daughters are constantly reminded that their bodies are not the equivalent of a roller coaster. Contrary to some opinions, their physiques are not created for the amusement of others; to hop on for a ride, have fun and then get off. I teach them to respect their bodies by feeding them physically and spiritually. When young ladies understand the majesty of the human body, she is more likely to take great care of her own vessel. Girls who have little to no self-respect tend to become jiz depositories.

It’s okay to be affectionate toward one another. When you kiss, hormones and neurotransmitters rush through your body. Along with natural endorphins, they produce the euphoria most people feel during a good kiss. In addition, your heart rate increases and your blood vessels dilate, so your whole body receives more oxygen than it does when you’re just standing around. Also, along with the increase of the heart rate comes the increase of blood flowing to different parts of the body. Would you care to take a wild guess as to where that blood is rushing to in the young man? That’s right, my dear. You can say that kissing is the gateway drug of sexual activity. Do not pretend it means anything less.

If a young man is respectful, he will not embarrass you or put you in a position where your character may be compromised. Your reputation precedes you. Make sure it’s a positive one.

A dad or consistent positive male role model is the most important part of relationship building for a young lady. This is where she gets her healthy dose of self-respect and understanding of how it feels to be loved and cherished. If this man tells her that she is beautiful, smart and worth being treated only with the highest admiration, she will take that knowledge into future relationships with potential suitors.

My last piece of advice, this week, was to choose wisely. It’s nice to be a couple, but a couple of what is the better question. Be as particular about a young man as you are about your choice in shoes. Believe me, if they are worth your time and attention, they will understand and happily submit.

I have only hope that my daughters will listen to my advice. I know they will have to find their own way but I can sleep at night knowing we have laid a good foundation. It’s also easy to sleep knowing I have a .45 and a shovel.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Holiday Gift Giving

Each year, my husband attends an event on the Saturday before Christmas. This sacred occasion is called “Man Day”. I have been told that Man Day is held annually as a day of camaraderie where all the men can shop together for their wives. My husband swears that the support of his man friends is helpful when choosing the perfect gift for me. Apparently, he and his buddies have been searching for this perfect gift for 17 years because I have yet to see it.

Man Day traditionally begins at Hooter’s where the men gather to chart their shopping strategy. My husband and twenty of his closest friends, insist that the wings at Hooter’s will sustain them for the virtual lifetime of shopping they must endure. Several hours (and several beers) later, they strike out in search of that present. I have intelligence from a reliable source (a Man Day participant that I bullied into confession) that last year, they never left Hooter’s. However, I am told, first stop is the mall, followed by a local jeweler who sets up a full bar so the men can shop and shake off the holiday gift giving jitters. The pressure must be unbearable…

Christmas morning, I open my gift, smile, let out a sigh and say thank you. Excuse me, but does this man live in the same house as me? Is he even on the same planet?
I have the same conversation with Man Day spouses every year so I have decided to give gentlemen a few tips for shopping this season.

• Look in your wife’s closet. Get the right sizes and write them down. We are not all the same size as the petite 19-year-old sales girl. If you come home with an XS and your wife is an XL, it’s not a compliment and you’re in trouble.

• Scarves suck, unless they are from Hermes (and chances are you don’t even know what that is).

• Don’t buy us shoes. It’s the equivalent of us trying to buy you a car. You will probably buy what you like and we will end up with a pair of clear heeled hooker pumps with ankle straps.

• Nobody wears a size small in under garments except nubile young girls. You aren’t married to her, you certainly don’t know her and I’m assuming prison is not for you. If your wife or girlfriend happens to wear a size small, screw her.

• You can’t go wrong at Tiffany’s. That little blue box contains the antidote to whatever ails her. Let me help you:

• Stay away from appliances. My ex-husband once gave me a shop vac.
My EX-Husband.

• Spa certificates are welcomed. A nice, strong masseuse to work out those kinks would be great since you always fall asleep after the first rub.

• Don’t tell her to go out and pick it herself. That’s just lazy and we don’t consider that a “real” gift. We’ll take it, but it won’t count.

• Ask her girlfriends. They are your gift-giving Yoda’s.

• Don’t take your “Man Day” friends’ advice. They are as clueless as you.

Most of all, if she says “Don’t get me anything this year”, GET HER SOMETHING!

Ladies, even though they don’t always get it right (or even get in the ballpark) I will leave you with this nugget of wisdom:

After complaining about a gift I received one year, I was given the best advice ever. My friend, who my children affectionately call Aunt John, laughed out loud when I told him of the pearl earring offering. The last thing I would ever wear is pearl earrings, but that’s what I found under the tree. He said to me “Sistah, if your man can go to a jewelry store and pick out exactly what you would love without your help, you’ve got bigger problems because he’s gay”.

Good luck out there!