To the Men Who Talk to My Daughter
She’ll be 15 years old next month. She’s tall. Standing 5'11" in flat feet. Willowy with a boy’s body. Her hair is dyed flame red. Braces and a standard uniform of skinny jeans, Vans and a Panic! at the Disco t-shirt. Everything about her screams “I’m a teenager.”
These facts do not stop you from approaching and talking to my daughter. It makes her uncomfortable. She doesn’t like going into convenience stores by herself. She shouldn’t feel like that. Stop it.
It doesn’t happen to me as much as it happens to her. I’ve perfected the art of my resting bitch face. I can look you right in the eye and you’ll know I don’t suffer fools. I don’t want to have to teach her that same skill set. Not yet. It’s too soon.
I want her to be able to walk through the world and smile. Hold her head high and look people in the eye with joy.
But she can’t and she won’t. Because you’ve made it weird. I’m sure I’m not the only mother that has stood by giving you, some grown ass man, the stare down. I certainly will not be the last. But, please stop.
You don’t hold open the door for her when she walks in. You don’t smile courteously and offer her a cheerful good morning. You gawk at her. You look her up and down. You scan her over. She feels it. She sees it. She hates it. You nod your head back and offer her a “hey.” You don’t care if she feels safe in her environment. I do. It’s my job. I am her mother.
While there is a lesson to be learned about being aware of your surroundings and being slightly guarded in public, I feel like there’s a little bit of innocence lost every time you do this. Let her keep that innocence. Let her walk into a store unencumbered by the weight of your stare.
It’s not a compliment and you’re not helping her self-esteem. You’re making her wonder what the hell is wrong with you. It pisses her off.
Please know that I am five steps behind her and I’m watching you. I’m ready to jump right at you at the drop of a hat with any sign of inappropriate confrontation. Do you not see the grown adult woman standing right next to her that looks exactly like her, only older?
Let her buy a Dr. Pepper at 7:15 in the morning with the only thing on her mind being her Algebra final. She’s a kid for God’s sake. She doesn’t need your creepy face in the back of her head all day. You don’t need to be the story that she tells her friends when she gets to school. They have better things to talk about. Teenage kid things.
I’m asking one more time. Can you please, please just stop?
*If this one hit you, please feel free to check out other pieces that hit me just to write: