A Conversation

Daughter: If I ask you a question will you promise to answer it without asking any follow-up questions?

Mother: No, because the question needs follow-up questions in order for me to answer it or you wouldn’t have asked me that.

Daughter: Fine! Nevermind!

Mother: No, go ahead ask the question.

Daughter: I don’t want to.

Mother: Yes, you do. You’re dying to ask me and it’s obviously about some boy you want to go out with that you think I won’t approve of.

Daughter: OH MY GOD! How do you know that? You’re soooooo weird.

Mother: Please. I know you better than you know yourself. It’s my motherly job. Ask the question.

Daughter: No!

Mother: Ask it.

 Daughter: Okay. Here’s the question. What’s the maximum age for someone you’ll let me go out with? And just answer it without asking me a bunch of stuff, pleeeease.

 Mother: 40.

 Daughter: What? Ewwwww! You’d let me go out with a 40-year-old man?

 Mother: See? You’re asking follow-up questions. Sometimes they’re important.

 Daughter: Very funny. How old, really?

 Mother: I don’t know – maybe 19. Depends on the guy and the circumstances. How old is this guy?

 Daughter: 19

 Mother: Where do you know a 19-year-old guy from?

 Daughter: Through my friend Shelley that I work with.

 Mother: When did you meet this guy?

 Daughter: I don’t know. I’ve talked to him lots of times.

 Mother: In real life or on chat?

 Daughter: In real life, too.

 Mother: And he’s not in high school anymore, right?

Daughter: No, he’s in university. Didn’t you ever go out with university guys when you were in high school?

 Mother: Yes, and I thought it was really cool at the time, but when I was in university I thought it was really creepy when a university guy went out with a high school girl.

 Daughter: Oh so I suppose it would be better if he’d flunked out a lot and was still in high school at 19?

 Mother: No, of course not.

 Daughter: Well, you said I could go out with a 19-year-old. What did you think he’d be doing?

Mother: Touché. I’ll change my answer to 18.

 Daughter: NOoooOOOooooo! You can’t do that!!

Mother: You should be sticking to guys your own age anyway.

 Daughter: I’ll be 18 in a couple of months

 Mother: You’ll be 18 in 8 months. You just turned 17.

Daughter: Whatever. It’s your own fault for sending me to an arts school where there are hardly any boys and the ones that are there are all gay.

Mother: You wanted to go there. I did warn you.

Daughter: How was I supposed to know they were going to be that gay? Anyway, can I go out with this guy or not?

 Mother: Where are you planning to go with this boy?

Daughter: I don’t know. For coffee, he said.

Mother: Oh, so just around the corner at Starbucks? And you’ll meet him there one afternoon like?

Daughter: I don’t know. We might go somewhere else. He has a car.

Mother: Ha ha ha ha ha HA! And you think I’m going to let you drive off in a car with some 19-year-old university guy I’ve never met?

Daughter: He can come in first so you can meet him.

Mother: No. I suggest you just meet him over at Starbucks the first time and see how it goes or go with Shelley and him and some other people. It’s never a good idea, no matter how old you are to drive off on a first date with someone you barely know.

Daughter: Fiiiiiiiiiiine!!!!!

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38 responses to “A Conversation

  1. You handled that swimmingly! For some reason that never really came up in my life with myself or with my daughter. I’m kinda glad. Well I did date a 16 yo and a 17 yo when I was 14 but I think Dad just asked my brother about them or something. Or maybe my parents just weren’t paying attention. If you decide to let them car date, when he comes in to meet you, ask to see his driver’s license and then scan it. That should keep him in check.

  2. Does any parent agree to answer a question without any follow up questions? I doubt it. So, why do kids bother asking for the promise in the first place?…lol.

    I agree, you handled it terrificly.

  3. If you’ve ever seen those cheesy 1950’s rock-and-roll movies, 20-30 years-olds would routinely date teeny-boppers.

    Funny, how times have changed.

    But then again, in those movies, the teeny-bopper actress always looked like she was 25.

  4. You handled the questions well but really a 2 year age difference seems to me to be about the norm. The fact of him being in university is irrelevant.

  5. Love it!

    When I was sixteen I started seeing my first boyfriend ever. He was nineteen and had been kicked out of one high school and registered at my school to finish his diploma. He not only had his own car, but he had a pilot’s license and was going to take me flying on our first date, but the weather was bad so we didn’t go. At the time I had no idea why my mom was concerned. Now I can’t believe she even let me out of the house. I think I lied about his age, though.

  6. Dr. Monkey – Hard to say. Depends on the guy, but probably mid to late 40s minimum.

    LGS – See above

    CP – I thought that would get a reaction from her!

    Geewits – Her friend, Shelley has gone all through high school with him, so she knows him pretty well. It was a Catholic school so I don’t know if that’s good or bad. He works at a food court, so I think I might do some reconnaissance. It’s not easy being a mother AND a spy.

    Skye – I find that my daughter anyway asks me a lot of stuff she doesn’t expect or even want me to say yes to. She’ll ask permission to go somewhere kind of sketchy and I’ll say no and she won’t even try to persuade me. She’ll just trot off happily and tell whoever’s asking that she can’t go. Why she couldn’t just tell them she doesn’t want to go, I don’t know. Teenagehood is a myserious surprise every day.

    Coyote – Thanks for digging that up in the dusty anals of Elginstreetry. Age aside, I still think it’s weird that a guy from university wants to date a high school kid.

    Friar – Like the Fonz you mean? He always hung around high school kids and he had to be in his mid-twenties minimum, didn’t he? My daughter certainly doesn’t look 25. She barely looks 17. She’s maybe 19 or 20 mentally though … for the most part.

    Dave1949 – Do you think so? I think that’s a big difference. I suppose I’m thinking of university kids who live on their own and have wild and dangerous parties and shave all the time. This kid still lives with his parents. I’m not going to lose too much sleep over it though since these things tend to fizzle out a lot faster than the time it takes me to fret over it.

    Meanie – You can always scroll back to these blog posts if one or the other of us disappears. But my experiences are not necessarily going to be yours. As with any stage in a kid’s life you can have all the great plans in the world and read all the right books and get all the best advice, but in the end you’re going to have to tailor your responses to each child individually and even to each situation individually. Nobody knows your kid as well as you do (one hopes), so only you will know what the right thing to do is.

    Jennifer – Holy crap – pilot’s license! I can’t imagine what your mom was thinking. Did you tell her he was taking you flying? Maybe instead of saying no, she just used all her mother-of-a-teenager magic voodoo powers to make the weather crappy. Did you ever go flying with him?

  7. When I was 19, I was more interested in women around 25ish… maybe just off their first divorce. Lots of fun, few hang-ups, no high-schoolish games. I didn’t date many women younger than me until I was about 25.

  8. OH MY GOD! How do you know that? You’re soooooo weird.

    When I was a kid, there was a show my siblings and I loved, but which was on after we should have been in bed. When my parents went out, the next day they’d ask if the show was good. I was sure there was a hidden camera in the house or something. It never once crossed my mind that obviously we’d watch it when they were gone and they knew that…

  9. Coyote said, “Unfortunately, 19 times out of 20, ESI Labs doesn’t bother to confirm the accuracy of the internal polling that we use to determine these factoids…”
    Coyote, I beg to differ. ESIs confirm all their finding by asking at least two people if we are right. If they both agree, then we are right.

    XUP said, It’s not easy being a mother AND a spy.
    Sure it is. .Just change jobs

  10. Theoretically, there’s nothing stopping me, legally, from dating a 17 year old.

    But reading your post just further re-inforces why I’d never want to.

    “Fiiiiine!”

    Like you know, whatever.

    PS. Wasn’t the Fonz, like, FORTY or something?

  11. Squid – Hmmm – I suspect you were interested in older women at 19 because you knew you’d be getting’ some there and probably not from the 16 year olds – at least not without a lot of craziness before and after.

    Jazz – It’s fun being psychic parent. Stuff that’s so obvious to me amazes her all the time.

    Woodsy – Spying on strangers from a white van while eating pizza is a lot easier than spying on a member of your own family or on potential dates of a member of your own family.

    Smothermother – You will. You evolve as the child evolves. It’s funny how that works out.

    Mary – Never a dull moment, for sure.

    Friar – I’m a little concerned that you’ve even momentarily considered dating a 17-year old. I’ve worked with guys though who think teenage girls are hot and who openly oogle them when we’re out at lunch or something. I always find that disturbing on so many, many levels – not the least of which is that some of them have teenaged daughters. “Ya but SHE’s not my daughter” they say laughing. (shudder)

  12. Those are pretty high moral standards to live up to, though. If we’re not allowed to even momentarily CONSIDER something.

    My apologies, for comitting a Thought-Crime! 🙂

  13. Biologically speaking, it makes sense for older men to take younger women (and multiple younger women) as brides, perhaps even a 30+ with late-teens (cue the “ewwwwwwww” reaction) – the men should be good providers by this time, with more social status in the tribe, and having made it to their 30’s are either smart or good fighters and providers – the young women would be very healthy and energetic, and make good mothers.

    Much (most) of society tells us this is wrong, although it did not hundreds of years ago.

    Biologically speaking, same sex relationships do not make sense (at least for propagation of the species).

    Much (most) of society tells us this is acceptable, although it did not hundreds of years ago (or even a few decades ago).

    Discuss.

    (Disclaimer: I am not saying that I agree with polygamy and disagree with same-sex couples, I am merely pointing out that societal norms are ever changing – so what seems odd to us may not be so to the younger generations.)

  14. I never did go flying with him, we didn’t date for very long. And I think I left out the flying detail when I vaguely described the date to my mom. Though my dad had a pilot’s license when they met and she used to go flying with him, so I don’t know that she would have had much ground with that.

  15. I think it’s more about culture than age, which is why you are more concerned about the fact he is in university. High school culture is very different from university culture.

    When I went to university, I was 17 and since we still had grade 13, everybody else was 19 or older. At that point, the actual age didn’t matter because I was part of the culture. But when I was 17 and still in high school (the Spring before I graduated) a 21 year old guy with a car asked me out and my parents said no. When I got to Queen’s only 5 months later, I had the option of dating anyone I wanted (and my parents would never know) but I stuck to kids in my year – not even upper classmen – because they were the ones having a similar experience to my own.

    That’s why most people date people their own age – because the cultural references are similar.

  16. Friar – I don’t know. When it comes to moral standards they say the thought of the deed is as immoral as the deed itself. I think it’s the bible or something that says that. Then again, the bible says a lot of strange stuff. And I know you’d never date a 17-year-old; if for no other reason than fear of having to put her through university! Ha ha.

    Brett – Actually same-sex coupling has been going on since the beginning of time both in the human and animal kingdoms. Our western Anglo society had/has some issues with it recently, but back in ancient Greece it was quite normal for men to have boys as lovers and companions and only couple with women in order to have children. And they’re not the only ones. So this, of course left the women to entertain each other. It only became “abnormal” with the advent of Christianity. Remember the Sodom and Gomorrah story? And the village men were sniffing around looking for the handsome young guys that had recently come to town? Only it turns out they were angels which totally pissed off god so he turned everyone into salt? Biologically it makes sense for males and females to couple in order to reproduce; but socially (both for humans and for animals) it makes more sense for females to bond together to carry out their work (raising & training the young, foraging, building homes/nests/dens) tand for males to bond together to do their work (fighting, hunting).

    Jennifer – Just because the parent did it, doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be okay for the kid to do it, too. In fact, often the very opposite is true as parents vigilantly try to ensure that their kids don’t repeat the mistakes of the parents.

    Julia – Totally agree. In a couple of years when she’s 19 she might be dating 21-year-olds but they’ll be in the same environment and that makes a huge difference. Just like some country girl dating a boy from New York city would be scarier than her dating a boy of the same age from a neighbouring town. Culture.

  17. Hahahaha…. Oh god… I had this exact discussion with my parents when I met my BH…. I was 18, he was 20. I don’t remember the details of what they said, but I ignored them, went on the date, fell in love, and here we are.

  18. @XUP,

    Oh yes, I realize that – just as older men have been looking at and taking (much) younger women as brides since the dawn of time.

    My points really were that what “society” deems as “normal” often doesn’t jive with what makes sense or feels good naturally.

    To add my own two cents to the conversation – something I’ve noticed over the last decade or so is that my parents generation (I am 40) has become really cautious, and seems to be trying to eradicate a lot of what they thought was cool and funny when they were my age or younger.

    (e.g. free sex, drugs, drinking, street racing, etc. – it was okay for *them* to do it, but since they now know it is bad for you, let’s make laws prohibiting others from doing the same… kind of hypocritical, no?)

  19. Well,then.

    If the thought of a deed is as bad as the deed itself…then I’m going straight to hell.

    Pray for me, if you can. 😉

  20. When I was 18, I started hanging out with a guy who was 20. Not a huge age difference, really, but I always ended up thinking that there’s this LINE of major life events (in this case, graduating high school) and it’s rare to have a working relationship between two people on opposite sides of the line. I felt AWKWARD around him because he would talk about going to a bar or running into “old high school friends” and I was still living with my parents and GOING to high school. It might seem cool at first, but it gets really hard to find common ground when you’re each in very different moments in life.

  21. don’t forget the old Half Plus Seven Rule. Take the guy’s age, divide by two, add seven. That gives you the minimum age he should be dating.
    For me, that’s 33.
    Hey, I’d do a 33-year-old…

  22. You should have expanded the age limit to 46. Then I’d come visit and she’d find out how creepy older guys really are and then she’d stop with all this dating thing until she became a cougar.

  23. Ah, motherhood–the hardest job in the world. I’m so glad my three are no longer teenagers. At least your daughter asked you and didn’t just sneak out and see him. I only met her the one time but she seemed mature to me, not silly, for what it’s worth.

  24. Stella – Were you still in high school? I think that worries me the most – not the age difference so much as that he’s in a whole other world than she is.

    Brett – Ah weel, yes. There are things I did as a kid that I don’t want my daughter doing because I know better now. If my parents had taken an interest and/or been on the ball they shouldn’t have let me do these things either. Also, when it comes to things like smoking pot in the 70s or 80s, it’s a whole different ball of wax to smoking pot these days. This isn’t stuff growing in someone’s back yard like it was back in the day. And the world has really and truly become a more dangerous place overall.

    Friar – I hope you’re having as much fun thinking about stuff as you would if you actually did it – since you’re going to hell for it and everything.

    Heather – Exactly. I think XUP Jr. is a little worried about the possibility of this date, too. I suspect she’s secretly pleased that I’ve restricted it somewhat. She works with kids in university and has a couple of female friends who started university this year, so it won’t be totally foreign territory for her.

    Bob – You wish!!! Someone else mentioned that rule previously. If we’re following rules, then I guess she’s okay.

    Lebowski – Great idea! You might actually turn her off men altogether. Forever! Ha ha ha

    Linda – Ya, she’s got a pretty good head on her shoulders and she is quite open about what she’s up to, which is really nice. Thanks

  25. Wow, I am not even her mother and that whole conversation made me break out in a cold sweat. If I would have had a child and it was a girl I would have walked around the hospital asking all the other mothers that just had sons if they wanted to trade….you know I could have come upon a woman with like 6 sons and she would JUMP at the offer of a daughter…okay, this may be why I would have made a HORRIBLE parent.

    So, did you know they don’t make chastity belts anymore? I think that is just wrong. What, are you just suppose to trust a 17 year old girl? What kind of crazy logic is that…

  26. Cedar – Calm down. It’s all okay. She’s a good girl and sooner or later she’s going to have to make decisions all by herself and live her own life. Not now. Now I still call a lot of the shots. And offer advice and guidance on most of the rest of the shots. Then there are shots she calls all on her own — a few more each day. It trust her. I don’t always trust her judgment and I trust no one else around her.

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