Awhile back, I began writing some informal “rules” for raising daughters. This all happened because people asked me why and how I get along so well with my daughters. I attribute it to, I think, teaching at a high school for 30 years… and seeing and feeling and hearing the “real” story of teenaged-girl angst each and every moment of each school day. Yes, I listened and I learned, folks. And one area where I learned my lessons very well was Boyfriend 101.
So… yesterday I was having lunch with an old friend who just happens to have a 15-year old daughter. Bless her big, crazy heart… because this daughter is a decade younger than her son. OK. Let the fun begin. And this daughter is interested in a boy that my friend thinks is totally, absolutely, unequivocally “bad.”
“Why?” I asked innocently.
The rant began. “WHY? He’s 17. In 10th grade. His vocabulary? ‘Like awesome, dude.’ His pants? Down his ass. His parents? Don’t get me started.”
“Ohhh,” I smiled. “Rule #1. Works every time.” I told her I’d email “the rule”… and but for a few more boyfriend rants, we went on to have a very lovely lunch.
My friend emailed me this morning, asking, “Don’t even tell me that this rule works…”
“Every time,” I answered.
Here’s what I emailed…
Rule #1 – Never criticize “the boyfriend”
Welcome the boyfriend. Embrace the boyfriend. If the boyfriend is not the right guy, he will disappear on his own if you don’t make him a major issue.
This is especially true of “bad boys.”
They are NEVER welcomed into a home with the obligatory embrace that I suggest, so you completely throw them off when you do. Since they are never welcomed… when embraced, they run. Simple.
This rule works, oh, 99% of the time… because there’s always that slight possibility that the boyfriend (even the “bad boy”) will begin to love your love so much that he will come to visit even when your daughter is not home.
Then it becomes sticky… because your welcoming embrace has made your daughter look closely enough at the boyfriend to have her cringe at his every move, but the boyfriend has never been embraced by any parent, anywhere, any time, and he just plain old likes it.
Then you must, must, must say to your daughter, “Let him down easy. He really is a nice boy.”
She will make you proud (and hopefully the ex-boyfriend will get over you!).
Of course your daughter will catch on that you have this “welcome and embrace ’til it’s over plan,” but you must never admit it. Until her wedding day.
Then you just smile and say, “You know, if you hadn’t fallen in love with _____ and _____ and ____ and ____, etc., and learned all about personalities and characteristics and idiosyncrasies, you would never have realized the power of true love that you know on this day.”
And she will say, “What if your plan failed and I was marrying ____ or ____ or ____ today?”
To which you answer, “I would have gladly welcomed and embraced any of those nice boys into our family!”
Ah. I give myself an A+ in “Bad Boys.” And, as fate (and technology) would have it, I am now Facebook friends with more than one of these “boys” from my (and my daughters’) past. Yeah, it’s pretty totally cool and awesome, dude.