As a father with a daughter, there are many things that keep me awake at night. True, my daughter is only eighteen-months-old but the thought of her ever dating sends a chill up my spine that sends me directly in to panic mode. What the hell do dads do when their daughter's reach dating age, and what the hell can I do now to prepare myself for this unenviable inevitability? Buying a shotgun is a given, but what else can I stick in my anticipatory arsenal to ensure that my daughter, the little girl I am bound by both duty and honor to protect (mostly from herself), doesn't find herself in a precarious position of any kind?
I lived through the Disco era, the Punk era, the Goth era, the Rave era, the Hair Metal era, so what am I supposed to do when some pimply faced, tattooed punk with green hair, eyeliner, and a lip disk shows up at my front door to pick my daughter up for their "date," (as if he would even bother to do that in this day and age)? Back in my day (not so long ago) girls weren't giving away their virginity at twelve, or "Sexting," or having Blow Job parties, or doing whatever else kids do these days. I mean, what happened to girls going to high school in sweat pants? I stood in line behind a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls at the movie theater last week and had to ask my wife if we had been dropped off at a stripper convention. Thanks a lot, Snooki. Not only do I have to worry about teen-aged boys ogling my daughter, but because of the media, and the entertainment industry, and the fashion industry, I'll be unwittingly paying through the nose for her to look that way. F@#% me. Now I don't know if I'll be buying that future Rambo knife to castrate some young pervert for groping my little girl or using it to cut my heart out every time I watch her exit the house looking like "that."
But what can a father really do? You can't fight puberty any more than you could stop a stampede of elephants. All you can really do is prepare your daughter for (I shudder) "womanhood." If you're lucky, your wife will handle the hardest parts- the biological changes, the onset of sexuality, and all those other girly details that make dads cringe, leaving you to handle the more practical aspects of adolescence, like teaching hand to hand combat, how to shank a lecherous date (prison style) with a car key, and how to knee a guy so hard in the groin he can taste his own nuts in his throat. If you want to protect your daughter, you teach her how to protect herself. You give her the confidence to assess a situation and determine the dangers on her own. You give her the freedom to explore, and you teach her the truth about the world she lives in. Or, you buy her a stun gun?
At the end of the day, a dad with a daughter is about as helpless as a kitten. You have claws, but no one's really afraid of you. The only weapon you really have is building a positive, loving, respectful relationship with your little girl so when the day comes and she's finally old enough to make real life decisions on her own she has the confidence in both herself, and your relationship, to move through life with the knowledge that her father is behind her no matter what (but not so close she can see you tailing her on her dates).
Every father fears having a daughter, it's only natural. But in a healthy relationship between father and daughter, the only one who should ever have "Daddy Issues" is you. So suck it up.
Resources for Dads:
Study "Daddy Issues" in Daughters: