Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Talk

Have any of you men had the talk with would be suitors that wanted to date your daughter?
I had one such talk with a young man who wanted to take my daughter to his senior prom. It was not my practice to do an interview with would be suitors. Although, I had threatened my girls many times that I was going to have the talk. Most of the boy choices my daughters chose I approved of. In a few cases I did not know the boys but I got a sense of who they were and what their values were by listening to the daughter describe her interactions with the young man. So when the time came for an actual talk I knew which boy needed the talk and what to say. I only had the talk once and with all the horrifying protests in the past. It was interesting there was no protesting. She willingly accepted and almost welcomed the talk.
Here is kind of how the talk went. Feel free to use any and all of these examples. First I required the boy to come over and meet me a week before the prom night. He was on time – a good sign. He knew why he was coming over and he was visibly nervous, when we shook hands his hand was sweaty – another good sign.
I should note here that friends and family somehow heard though the grapevine that the infamous talk was really going to happen. My daughters aunt my sister in law called me twice in an attempt to dissuade me. That was a waste of breath, but I let her waste it. She also, magically showed up at the house 30 minutes before the young man was scheduled to arrive, with a one last ditch effort to save my daughter from this horrible humiliation that I was about to put her through. Several friends of my daughter and my wife had already called to see how the talk had gone; they couldn’t even wait until it actually happened.
I was sitting in a high back chair and the young man was sitting on the couch next to my daughter. Both were sitting on the front edge of the couch with both feet firmly planted. It looked like the young man was either getting ready for a fight or getting ready to run like crazy if this father in front of him all at once went cookoo. You have to give him credit he had courage. My goal in this talk was to instill in the young man a respect for my daughter. At a bare minimum my backup goal was to instill in him a healthy fear of me.
After a few moments of small talk, his favorite sport, where he lived, Xeroxing his drivers license, and social security card, for the back ground check. I finally got to the meat of the meeting. “Shane (not his real name – just to be fair) I have a question would you ever ask me to borrow my car?”
He looked at me – this was not what he expected. “Uhhh,” for a minute I thought maybe he was too scared to talk. “No, I don’t think so.”
“Let’s say you did, us being strangers and all, what do you think my response would be?”
“Uhhh, probably no.”
“That is exactly correct, now Shane, what do you think I value more my car or that young lady sitting next to you?”
I am not sure if he knew this but if he said my car, he was going to be leaving my house within the next few seconds. He was quite for a minute like this was a hard question. Finally he managed with a cracked voice, “Uhhh, your daughter?” Whew…I was getting to wonder about this kid. I pretended not to notice he answered with a question.
“That is right Shane, so I cannot stress how important it is for you to protect her while she is with you. Can you do that?”
Now his chest stuck out a little bit, his shoulders squared up a little more and with no hesitation, “Absolutely, you can be sure I will.” Spoken like a warrior heading for battle. We went over their schedule for the big night and I explained a few other expectations, like no alcohol.
“So, Shane I hear the dance is over at midnight. What time will you be back here with my daughter?”
“How about 1:00?”
“That would be fine Shane, I will expect you back here at 1:00.”
We shook hands and his hand was still sweaty – and I was pleased.
He kept his word, in spite that a couple of his friends had rented a suite in a hotel and had invited him and my daughter to attend after the prom. He let them know he needed to bring my daughter home.
Later my daughter heard some stories about what happened at that hotel. The talk was exactly what was needed. I have no regrets.
I would be interested in your story. Please pass them on.

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