Boys, Keep Your Dirty Paws Off My Daughter

Cary McNeal
25


Flickr photo by tibchris
Boys are noticing my daughter. I don't like it.

This is nothing new. It started when she was a toddler. I'd take her to the playground, and within 5 to 10 minutes, at least one boy would've made his way over to us, like a dog on the hunt, often just to stand there and stare at my kid without saying a word. I'd give them the evil eye, but subtle looks don't really work on oblivious 4-year-olds.

"What's your name?" one boy asked her as she came down the slide. She got up and ran right by him without answering. That's my girl.

She slid again, but the little fart-knocker was still there, waiting.

"What's your name?" he asked again. Points for persistence. She told him. He pulled her by the arm and said, "Let's go over here."

Bad idea, dude. She snapped her arm away from him.

"No! I'm playing with MY DADDY!"

Ha! I wanted to pump my fist in the air and say, "WORD!" right to the kid's face, but instead I just gave him a look, one that said, "You lose. Now beat it!"

He slunk away, defeated, but I knew there'd be more.

One day, when she was in first grade, I overheard her telling her mother that a boy had asked if he could be her boyfriend.

"What did you tell him?" my wife asked.

"I said no."

"Why?"

"Because Daddy's my boyfriend," she replied impatiently, as if it were a no-brainer.

Now that's what I'm talking about! Dad wins again. I danced a little jig outside her bedroom door.

I have to relish these small victories because I know they won't last. One day soon she's going to come home from school with that moony look in her eyes and little cartoon hearts flying out of her chest, and she'll tell us about a new boy in her class and how nice he is, nice being girls' code for he's cute and I really like him. And I'll be okay with that. I think. What choice do I have?

When people meet my daughter, they'll say to me, "Oh, you're in big trouble with this one, Dad." Heh. No, I'm not. It's the boys who are in trouble, and not because of me. Because of her. The kid is tough and self-assured and has a temper. I pity the fool who crosses her. He won't know what hit him.

I know my daughter can look out for herself, and I take comfort in that. But I'll always have her back, just in case.

Read More