Beth Falkenstein: It is my husband's fondest dream to be the father that strikes fear into the heart of every high school boy. You see, having been a boy himself, he knows what they're after. So it is my duty to keep my husband from purchasing a 12-gauge as our daughter blossoms.
Having been a girl myself, I know how much fun the chase is. In many ways, it's the most important part of high school. The crushes, the flirting, even the bittersweet heartbreak of an unrequited affection plays perfectly into the teenage narrative. I have not one single recollection of learning about pi, but I can remember every detail of the moment the cute guy with the smoky eyes in sophomore choir first talked to me. That memory would never have happened if I had been known as "the girl whose maniac father will use your head for batting practice."
The tactic I have used with my husband is to point out to him that these interactions with boys are necessary -- vital, even. These years are the trial-and-error period when she learns what is important to her in her future relationships. Who are the diamonds and who are the duds.
That the first kiss with the shy nerd was better imagined than realized. That the strong-but-silent jock is really strong-but-boring on a date. And the goofy boy in the school play is not so goofy when you walk home with him after rehearsal.
(Okay, true confession: While all of that teen-psyche mumbo jumbo may be valid, I have an ulterior motive for convincing my husband to hold off on the convent applications for our daughter ... I am loving reliving my teenage romances vicariously through her!)
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|