a thousand words

Friday, May 28, 2010

WHAT I TOLD MY DAUGHTER ABOUT MEN

Men talk at women a lot but it is harder to talk to them. Maybe we should start earlier and with the ones we really care about.

All the crap people were saying a generation ago is being said again only now the empirical data proves the problem is worse. Seventy percent of black women single? Even I was floored by that one. Seventy-two percent of babies born out of wedlock?

I don’t have a daughter and you know what, thank God I don’t. I would never sleep. But I’ve often thought what I would say to her about men, dating, sex and the like in this day and age. So here it is.

By the way, her name is SOMIE. She’s 14.

GARY: So this is it. The big talk.

SOMIE: Daddy, I already know all about sex.

GARY: What?! Who do I have to kill for that?

SOMIE: Mom.

GARY: Right. Okay, I wanted to talk about love, men and relationships, did Mom cover that?

SOMIE: No she just sang Stevie Wonder songs when I asked a question.

GARY: Nice move. Anyway first, I want you to know that we don’t care if you date outside your race, in fact, I insist upon it.

SOMIE: Why?

GARY: Because I want you to be a woman of this world not just of a particular race. There are enough people out there who’ll try to limit you. No need for you to do it to yourself. Pretty soon, we’re all going to be the same color anyway and we will replace color with some other meaningless and superficial trait. So, as long as you’re happy, we don’t care. But no Hungarians-- just kidding.

SOMIE: Okay, I guess I can do that. I mean, the white boys are always checking me out.

GARY: What the fu--?!

SOMIE: Dad....

GARY: Sorry. Anyway, I have some practical stuff to tell you. Like, start looking for a mate early. Don’t think you have your 20’s to party down or just pursue your career. You don’t. You can multi-task this. See, men and women age differently. Young men are green, young women are ripe. No matter what you’ve read or heard on TV, no matter what the feminists say, a woman’s youth, fertility and beauty are valued when they are at their height. And no matter what politically correct crap guys tell you, one thing is a proven fact: Men see better than they think. Also, you can’t control when that special person might come, so keep your mind open.

SOMIE: Wow, that’s deep.

GARY: I try. Next point; don’t be ridiculous about what you want in a man.

SOMIE: Ridiculous?

GARY: Like you want him to be tall, handsome, rich and perfect.

SOMIE: But shouldn’t I want a man like you?

GARY: You’re the best fictional daughter ever! But no. When your mom met me, I was the complete opposite of all of that.

SOMIE: Wow and she still married you?

GARY: Don’t get off topic. I’m just saying that if you have an ideal man, he should not be patterned on earthly criteria.

SOMIE: Oh no, here it comes.

GARY: Try to look past what we have here in this life and make your choices from that part of you connected to higher ideals. A relationship, a marriage, a friendship is not a person; it’s a connection to things greater than ourselves. And only by those connections can we ever hope to ride the chariot of our faith.

SOMIE: Chariot, Dad?

GARY: Sounded better than Bentley of our faith.

SOMIE: Anything else?

GARY: Yes. Women are beautiful. This is a big part of why men want them. But even if a man looks at you as a commodity you shouldn’t buy into it. It will make you arrogant about your power over them and you’ll be tempted to play that power and indulge in the party that goes along with it. And before you can say “single at forty,” you are!

SOMIE: You sound upset. You want some soup?

GARY: I don’t want soup. I want you to be happy. This is difficult stuff and Lord knows I've probably already made a hundred mistakes. I just think being a woman is like lugging around a big hunk of gold. It's pretty and valuable but it's heavy as hell. So can you think about some of this, for me?

SOMIE: Okay, Dad. I’ll will. I promise.

GARY: That’s all I ask. Okay, I gotta go.

SOMIE: Really? This is nice.

GARY: I know but I’ve made my point.

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