Return to Things I need to tell my teenaged daughters about boys (thing)

  • I have tried to make this generic by using the term "male guardian" so kids whose fathers aren't around (but someone else is) could use these same adages. The truth is, you are my children and I am your father and no human or hurricane or supernova starburst can change that. End of story.


  • Your father or male guardian does not have the luxury of knowing your suitors like you do. He has been protecting you for most of your life and now he needs to use his instinct for the very short period of time your new beau will allow himself to be scrutinized. He must make snap judgments. He will base his judgments on his own experience courting women. He has been where your new boyfriend is. He must make things difficult. Ignore this process. You are neither to become involved nor should you discuss it with your date after you leave the house. Your boyfriend will say, "your father hates me," and you must say, "he does not,” or "not as much as Rick."

    If things are going well between your guardian and your gentleman caller, your male guardian will dislike your new boyfriend. He'll play with guns if he has them. This is to impress the boy, not to scare him. Most boys are impressed by guns, if not desirous of them. If things are going badly, your male guardian will avoid your beau. You will hear about it in the morning. Plan to break up as soon as possible, or speak to your mother.


  • Under no circumstances are males to be trusted. They can be controlled for brief periods during which they are safe. But then they must be either released into the wild or neutered. Domestication is not possible. Under the proper conditions, any male will return to his natural illogical, biologically unrestrained state.


  • They are all stronger than you. Do not test this. Ever. Even the totally wimpy ones have the benefit of excess testosterone and muscle mass you cannot see. When enraged, they will abandon logic and self-preservation. They also have the benefit of stupidity and when excited, an amazing built-in feature that allows them to endure extreme pain for short bursts with no effect. Never allow yourself to be put into a situation where you can be cornered by one. Pretend you are driving at highway speeds and remember:

    • Always leave yourself an out.

    • Always look ahead of yourself in proportion to your speed. The faster things are going, the more you have to consider where you're going. It's too late to change the road under your wheels.

    • Trust me, when you get older, fast won't be what you're after.


  • There is nothing more dangerous than an insecure male. All the world's worst wars have been started by insecure men who blame their failures on the weather or other people, and feel their minor successes are worthy of Nobel prizes. The reason your male guardian will look your boyfriend in the eye and demand a firm handshake is not because he's trying to intimidate the boy into avoiding sex with you--he knows that will not work. It's because he knows that the ones who lack confidence are likely to hurt you. Your male guardian was a teenaged boy once and he had sex with teenaged girls and there was no way to stop it then, and there isn't now. What there is, then, is a way to keep you from getting yourself into an unsurvivable situation with a boy who cannot appropriately interpret his feelings for you and is liable to become irrational and possibly violent. Dating causes young males to become irrationally possessive for reasons they cannot understand. Sex lights a fire of possessiveness that can take months to extinguish. During this time you will find it impossible to take a breath without having it examined by your insecure boyfriend. Your male guardian has seen this, knows the consequences, and if he has his way, will not let you mate with insecure males.


  • All teenaged boys prefer the company of their male friends to female company. They need time to grow into a non-physical appreciation of women. Right now, the only reason they date women is to practice spawning and then to go back to their friends and brag. Teenaged boys are unable to conceive your mental processes. They do not think like you do. They do not feel what you feel. They are generally unperceptive of human interaction. They will make you cry and they haven't the slightest notion how they did it or how to prevent it from happening, or to make it happen (in a good way) again. If you remove sex from the equation--given the choice of spending the evening with you holding hands and talking about who's taking whom to the prom, and hanging out with his friends playing XBox or working on fast cars, you lose.

    You will notice he has very little perceptive or useful intellectual stimulation to offer you. He's in it entirely for sex. Don't worry, this will change in about twenty years. By then he'll be more interested in spending weekends with you talking about how he feels and being the kind of partner who can fill a space in you life. For now, consider him a big dangerous toy. Use this intervening time to teach him to become a good provider, or to move furniture. Abandon him the first time he asks you to get him a beer. If you can find one who's worth cultivating, then stick with him and cultivate.


  • All men have a contemplative side. Your job is to stay away from it until you can handle what's inside there. Take ten or fifteen years before venturing there. It's full of landmines and useless whining. Because men deny this contemplative side of themselves as their "feminine side" many are troubled by this aspect of themselves (see the note on insecurity). Eventually, you will have to explore this region of his psyche if your relationship is to last. But make sure you're ready to make the investment. Once uncapped, men will discover speaking about this interests you, and so will continue ad nauseum, perhaps for years.


  • Teenaged boys have a difficult time figuring out how to negotiate their first relationships. They don't understand the meaning of the term. There is only "doing" or not "doing". Everything in the middle is detritus to them. You will be attracted to older, potentially lecherous males who do not suffer from this problem. Avoid this situation. Give the guy some time. If he's worth it, he'll grow into it just like your male guardian did with the woman he married.


  • As is true for you, for young males there is a "point of no return" at which for the prospect of sex the male will abandon all common sense and commence the process whether you are ready or not. The laws of our country are uniformly clear on this point--that is unacceptable behavior. However, it is reality and there will be no cop there with you in the car at the Scenic Overlook when he starts tugging at zippers. It is your obligation to feel unsafe before this occurs, and it will occur sooner and with greater ferocity in insecure males than it will in confident ones. However, in both cases, it is nearly unstoppable--and I say "nearly" because the only possibility of getting out clean lies in your ability to generate substantive and believable ridicule. You must be totally disappointed in him. Presuming you're not dating a rapist ( in which case both you and soon your male guardian will be in a whole lot of awful grief. For you bear the physical and mental scars, and he will spend the rest of his life in jail for premeditated murder) letting your male friend know the prospect of sex with him is a major yawn is probably the best deterrent.


  • Make no mistake. Your male guardian will cause grievous physical injury (or death) to anyone who harms you. Every day he prides himself on imagining he will do that. Do not pull that trigger unless you are serious. You have seen the movies. Be careful. Some things cannot be undone.


  • Young men do not understand female sexual response. To put a finer point on it: they have zero concept. Despite the predominance of sexual material in the media today, men are not taught how a woman responds to sexual stimulation in any effective manner. He presumes he is being perceptive by theorizing your response is the same as his. Therefore, early attempts at sexual contact with a young male will be horrendously unsatisfactory to you, while entirely mythic in proportion to him. You may enjoy the new power you can exert over him, and how pliable he has become. This wears off quickly, though, and then you're stuck with in bed with a know-nothing kid. (worse, you can get just as pregnant or infected by really crummy sex as with earth-moving sex. why risk it?)

    Now, the only thing worse to a male guardian than bringing home an insecure mall rat as a date, is for you to bring home someone closer to his age. The reason for this is immediately comprehensible to your guardian, and he is liable to begin a series of illogical emotional outbursts that will last quite a few years, and may include physical as well as verbal violence.

    Your choices in this situation are simple:

    • Avoid sex. This will make your adults very happy and will protect you from nasty diseases and unwanted pregnancies. It will also keep you out of unnecessarily complicated emotional situations.

    • Teach him. For brief periods of time, he'll actually be interested in making you happy. This will get better as he gets older. We're talking about a decade, though. So don't hold your breath.

    • Date older men. Absolutely NOT recommended for lots of reasons. Many are married and simply looking to use you as entertainment. Older men have learned how women think and are much more likely to attempt to manipulate you in ways you are not mature enough to perceive. Older men are burdened with complicating factors like ex-wives, child support, felony convictions, and unpaid debts. And, your male guardian will eventually threaten to turn him in to the IRS or his ex-wife's lawyer, which ever gets him out your life quickest. Any older guy who would date you is generally better off dead (your father will gladly help to get him there) and you're much better off waiting it out.


  • Your mother has probably told you by now, men talk about themselves obsessively. They do this for several reasons. One, they like you and they're afraid if they stop talking you'll go away. Two, they have no idea how to have a conversation with you that means something to you. Three, they're afraid you'll start talking about something that interests you and they'll either die of boredom or allow you to put them into a situation where they can't utter a syllable without you taking offense. Men believe women do that to them on purpose (and you probably do.) The best way to get a guy to stop talking about himself is to go to the movies, feed him, or tire him out. Then, when he's not talking, he'll be dead silent and you'll be tempted to ask what's on his mind. Don't. Wait twenty years. He'll start having a genuine interest in what you're thinking. Until then, watch a lot of DVDs.


  • Young men are frequently ill equipped to handle the emotions that arise from having sex. The media would have you believe the whole planet is having sex and you've been left off the dance card. This is generally not true for a couple reasons. One, most people have more sense than to sleep around like sluts if only because of the horrible deadly STDs out there not to mention the fact that confident people don't need sex for affirmation (remember the caution about insecure partners!), and two, nothing other than bullets or drugs has the ability to wreck your life more than a rotten sexual relationship. Males, in general, are totally unprepared for the feelings of ownership and protectiveness that arise in them after sex. God put these feelings in their DNA through years of evolution because protective men assure the safety of the young. In an eighteen-year old, what comes out is a desire to control your movements and an unnecessarily critical eye examining every relationship you have, however trivial. You will not want to endure this obsessive scrutiny, and breaking him of this effect is a very painful, yet very necessary step. Eventually, the hormones driving these effects will wear off and the his initial reaction will be a ricochet toward the opposite of the way he's been treating you. He'll immediately question his own motives, blame you for them, and begin looking at other women. You are much better off letting him grow up a little before putting yourselves through this.


  • Your male guardian knows he cannot stop you from doing what you're going to do. He knows this because nobody stopped him, and generally, the girls were into it as much as he was. So, he doesn't want to think about it. Like most heterosexual guys, he still thinks about women in sexual ways and the fact you're becoming one is ruining a lifetime of fantasy for him and even worse, he knows how you're acting with these schlubs you call boyfriends and it's keeping him up at night, making him eat Tums till the chalk is stuck between his teeth. Yet, he knows this is an inevitable step in the circle of life. He is not enduring it happily. First he got old and started seeing his own father in himself, and then your mother started behaving like her mother did, and now everything is awfully confusing and he's feeling like his usefulness has declined to the point where he's about as important to you as a hotel doorman. Rest assured he is much more concerned with your well being than anything happening to his own life, but be patient because he may over react to situations which you feel are insignificant. He will liken himself to an old lion whose claws and fangs are worn from tearing apart elephants and locomotives, but in reality, he's more like an old jackrabbit who got hit by a couple Buicks out on the desert highway and he can't hop straight anymore. Your job will be to get yourself settled into a life he's happy you have, and then come back around once and a while to compliment his hopping and carrot eating, and maybe bring over the kids every now and then.
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