To those of you who may have noticed my suddenly graying hair, facial twitches, and rapid weight loss, I want to ease your minds and let you know that I am not dying of some horrible disease. It’s just that my daughter is becoming a “tween.”
For us dads, this is a time of unspeakable horror and confusion. Suddenly, a child who once insisted upon sharing her used gum with us, and happily streaked naked through Home Depot, now wouldn’t share her personal thoughts with us if she were being waterboarded at GITMO (and, trust me on this, guys . . . you’d rather be waterboarded than hear about them).
The conversations, cartoons, and “dad jokes” that, for the last decade or so, you’ve enjoyed together suddenly become “lame.” That brief shining period in which you and your 8-year-old daughter shared the same mental and maturity level comes screeching to an inglorious end. One minute, you’re the coolest, handsomest, funniest guy in her life . . . and the next, you’re a total Melvin, a white-socks-and-Crocs-wearing source of unending embarrassment and non-stop eye rolling.
The LEGO bricks, crayons, and Happy Meal toys (don’t judge me) disappear into the “lame” category, and suddenly her room is littered with makeup, “teen” magazines, odd bits of clothing and strange female paraphernalia that we refuse to acknowledge.
But, worst of all—worse than the eye-rolling, the Oscar-worthy sighs of martyrdom, the shrieks of unintelligible outrage, and the “Do Not Enter . . . Ever!” signs on bedroom doors . . .
Yes, worse than all of that, your daughter is suddenly possessed with the insane notion that, not only do boys exist, but that they are actually human, and therefore worthy of acknowledgement.