Through the eyes of teen boys, I’m just David, their friend, now. I’m not Mr. Trinko, the intimidating father. And I only have myself to blame.
My oldest daughter is turning 13 this week, and we had a party for her friends last weekend to help celebrate it. She’s at an age now where boys aren’t the enemy anymore, so she asked to invite some boys.
As the father of a near-teenager, I reacted in the only way I knew how. I freaked out.
I started thinking about all the ways I could try to intimidate these young gentlemen into never touching my daughter.
I thought about wearing the T-shirt my daughters bought a few years ago, the one that says, “Guns don’t kill people. Dads with pretty daughters kill people.” I considered sitting out in an open area, casually cleaning my shotgun.
My oldest daughter rejected both of these ideas. For the first time in her life, she openly expressed I shouldn’t embarrass her. That is, by the way, the reason she’ll shift into being a minor character in my columns, as I never want to permanently embarrass my children, just temporarily five or 10 minutes at a time.
Thus I settled on just being a tough-talking jerk when I first met these boys. Maybe I didn’t need the threat of a weapon so much as just showing them they didn’t want to mess with me, much less my daughter.
That was the plan, at least. I didn’t realize I wouldn’t be home when the boys started arriving.
I was on my way home from picking up pizzas for this group gathering when they began marching through my front door. I walked into the house, six boxes of pizza in my arms, when the first boy marched up to me, his hand outstretched.
I didn’t even notice him, frankly. The pizzas were hot, and I wanted to put them on the table before the boxes melted my flesh. I scooted past him to the table and put the boxes down.
As I started to walk away, the boy stuck his hand out again. He introduced himself: “Hello, Mr. Trinko.”
I absent-mindedly shook his hand, replying, “Hi, I’m David.”
And thus the tone was set. The boys spent the rest of the night joking around with me, commiserating how difficult life must be with all those women in our house.
They seemed like nice boys, but I was a nice boy once too. Even nice boys need reminders to keep their hormones in check.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I’m David, their friend, now. I’m not Mr. Trinko, the intimidating father. And I only have myself to blame.
Count this as my second attempt to clear the air with them. Yes, I’ll be friendly and joke around with you. You still don’t want to mess with my daughter.
You’ve never seen crazy like an easygoing father whose little girl is hurt emotionally or physically by your actions. There’s nothing worse than someone you considered your friend flipping on you because you’ve taken liberties.
And I’m not a lone wolf on this one. There’s a whole legion of fathers out there who feel the same way about their little girls. Once you’ve got that straight, we’ll be fine.