Becoming a Woman, and Boys Boys Boys: More Time with Younger Daughter

Tattoo contestImage by Melvin Schlubman via Flickr
Picking up where we left off in our mother/daughter interview. Scene: Coffee shop. Rainy day. Nosy Mother and Younger Daughter stare into each other’s eyes, gauging questions and the risk of answering honestly. Nosy Mother asks, smart-aleck Younger Daughter answers.

What kind of woman do you want to be?

The kind without a penis.

That’s a given. Moving on from that—

Young Daughter giggles, then is momentarily distracted when she notices that she left a handmark on the window like that scene in Titanic.

The kind who goes shopping fairly regularly, with the money to do so—not credit cards. I don’t want credit cards. I know it might come in handy, but I don’t want one.

Happy, hopefully. Most of the time. Not like overly happy, but close enough. Um… I’d like to have a career where I can support myself and possibly children with the essentials on my own without anybody else like if they died, divorce, anything like that.

When it’s your turn, what are some of the questions you’ll ask me?

Well, you’re gonna have to wait and see, aren’t you? See, that was a question—get it? Ha ha.

I hesitate because the inteview seems to be winding down and I'm wondering where to take it.

That’s it? You didn’t ask me about boys.

What about boys?

I don’t know, what about ‘em?

What do you wish you had known before now, or what do you hope you’ll learn before it’s too late?
You mean before I go crazy and kill one of them?

Yes, preferably.

Furrowed brow.

Too many questions.

I suggest she stick with the before now question.

I don’t have that many problems. No, wait, that’s a lie. Um…. I guess, just, to know for sure how you feel about somebody before you get into a relationship.

Moving on to what she’d like to learn before it’s too late.

If I knew what I wanted to learn, then I would have already learned it, wouldn’t I? Or at least be part of the way there.

I guess I’d want to know myself better before I got into a really serious relationship with somebody. Have a little bit more confidence too—inward, not outside. My friends have told me that when we’re in public I seem really confident and everything, but then they know me. (With a lisp): Confidenth ith thexthy.

What should I be asking you about boys?

What type.

What type?

We hit pay dirt. To aid in readability this section is shown in separate paragraphs, but it’s best read in one long gulp without coming up for air in order to achieve something like the original experience. Good thing I type at over 100 wpm.

I don’t know why, but dark hair. Not that I don’t think guys with light hair are attractive but…. Like dark brown or black. It’s pretty. Attractive. I know that supposedly that’s less important to women than it is to men, but it’s still fairly important at my age, I’d say. I enjoy the attractiveness.

Some level of, of, of—like comfort, Oh, I do like them tall. Whether that’s physically because they’re like bigger and taller—I don’t like them smaller than me (shudders). I just don’t. Or just an air about them that’s kind of comforting. I’ve noticed that I always, like, no matter who the guy is if he—hmm—if he keeps kind of capturing my interest when we’re dating, there tends to be some side of danger to him. Never a biker or something, but like—should I change names?—skip that one—there was—after that….

She gazes off into the distance, rummaging through some mental filing cabinet, while I worry about the omissions.

We’ll just say Jesse. Jesse—kind of a—not a great student. He was in Odyssey (the gifted program she was in). He’s taking online classes now. Also now he does a lot of pot. So I’m glad I got out of that. But he didn’t back then. OK.

Or there’s Devin—he was a jerk around his friends but he was nice when you were just with him, so I guess that part of him that was a jerk, that was the danger aspect. I don’t like that, but--three days, I think that one was.

OK, so then more recently I’ll start with Matt. I don’t know what the danger was there, which may have been the reason that it ended because I lost interest, but he’s a really nice guy, which is kind of sad, because, well, he’s a nice guy…. I don’t know. I think Hannah liked him. I don’t think there was danger, so that might have been why.

Nyc? N-Y-C.

Chuckle, clarification that NYC is a spelling and not an offhand reference to New York City.

Scene kid, piercings, but nice guy, very hyper which I appreciated because he could keep up with me but then he didn’t pay that much attention to me. And then I found out—we were hanging out with a big group and we went to this kiddie park and there was this big No Smoking sign and I was joking and said “No smoking, Nyyyyc,” and he said that he didn’t smoke – cigarettes –and it turned out he did smoke occasionally and he smoked pot sometimes and he hadn’t told me that and I was pretty sure it was obvious that that was important to me. That was my birthday. My birthday parties are cursed. That was a bad night. He never came—to the party.

She shoots a sidelong look to see if I caught the double entendre.

Next morning I think he actually had his friend, who was his ex-girlfriend and then they dated again and then they broke up again and her heart was broken—he like told me through her that he didn’t want to date because I was overbearing because of the pot even though I hadn’t said that much. I told him he could either stop smoking pot or date me but not both which was like too much for him. Too controlling.

Most recently there was Eric. He was a junior so he was older. He was a nice guy. So it was good because I had the thing of danger because he was older but he was still nice. It wasn’t really danger but it was something extra, you know?

Like having a motorcycle. One time, I crashed a motorcycle into a fence. With me on it.

That must have been at your dad’s.

At Aunt Jeanne’s. It was a small motorcycle, not like a big one.

They have to be able to talk a lot. Sometimes it turns out that’s a problem because they don’t have as much to say as I do because they’re a guy. Ooh, she has my shoes! (Noticing the black, shiny flats on the barista)

This is by far the longest answer.

I told you you should have been asking me about guys.

A future post will feature an interview with 18-year-old Oldest Daughter, who is just as quick-witted and has four more years of experience in seeing if she can get to me, choosing what she will and won't tell me, and generally excelling at verbal fencing.