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Bad Touch

I remember the afternoon I first told my parents I had a boyfriend. A real boyfriend, not just some celebrity boyfriend who lived in my imagination, inspired by the pictures I tore out of the latest copy of Teen Beat and tacked to my bedroom walls.

Here's looking at you River Phoenix, may you rest in peace.

I was fifteen years old and swoony over a big blue-eyed blonde boy named Bruce. (I always did have a weakness for alliteration.) I was spending the week with my best friend, who just so happened to be Bruce's cousin and I was excited to tell my folks all about my new beau.

In my teenaged exuberance, I hadn't stopped to take into account how my parents, most specifically my father, would feel about their daughter entering the dating world. I ignorantly thought they'd be as excited as I was. Because! Hearts! Flowers! True Love! Forever!

Since the boy who held my affection happened to be my father's best friend's youngest son, a boy my family had known his entire life, I naturally assumed there would be much praise and congratulations bestowed when I told my parents my wonderful news.

I stood, holding the telephone to my ear, grinning from ear to ear, staring out upon the same fields my father had stared at when he was my age, and waited for one of my parents to answer the ringing phone.

My dad picked up.

I launched into my excited tale, words shot like rapid-fire bullets into his ear, as tiny invisible hearts swirled above my head. 

My dad? He made about as much noise as a rock does as it sits in a driveway. I barely noticed as I chattered on. Innocent and so, so stupid. 

When I finally managed to stop long enough to inhale, my dad asked a question I had not expected:

"Why him? What's so special about him?"

You could say familiarity had bred contempt. You could say my father had maybe hoped I'd date a city slicker instead of the son of his oldest friend. You could even say I had probably shocked him into not really knowing what else to say. Any of this could be true. Perhaps all of it was. 

All I knew was it wasn't the reaction I was expecting. I didn't know how to answer; so shocked and stunned was I by his question.

I muttered something completely inelegant and trite, as were most of the things that came out of my mouth at that age tended to be and I staggered under the weight of my dad's obvious disapproval.

My love bubble had burst. Thanks Dad.

I had forgotten that conversation with my father, and the words he said. I had forgotten his reaction and how, for one second, it made me question everything I had been feeling towards the boy I later ended up marrying.

That conversation, that memory, had long been relegated to the dustiest corners of my brain, eroding a little further with each day that passed. 

And then my daughter started dating a boy she has known for most of her life, the son of a man my husband has known for much of his life. Suddenly, memories I didn't remember I had have all come flooding back to center stage. 

Nostalgia has washed over me, bathing me in the past, reminding me that the innocence I see upon my daughter's face was once mirrored on my own.

Is it wrong that I covet the boyfriend's truck? Complete with haybale for traction?

I never fully realized how soothing nostalgia is as a parental balm. It's probably the only thing that is keeping me from walking around screaming "Bad touch! Bad touch!" every time I see my daughter's boyfriend so much as look at my daughter.

(Okay, so I may have already yelled 'bad touch!' once or twice at them, but it was all in good fun. Maybe.)

But what I've come to realize as my daughter starts to explore her dating world, is that nostalgia isn't such a soothing balm for Bruce. It is more like Tiger's balm. The nostalgia and memories, they burn. Or maybe it is just that daddies are predisposed to growling about their daughter's boyfriends, regardless of how awesome those boyfriends may be.

I am fully enjoying watching my husband navigate this minefield my daughter has so thoughtfully lured him into. It's given me insight into my own father's reactions all those years ago. Because yes, I really did marry my father.

My husband hasn't stopped twitching in weeks. And these two kids haven't even been on a real, un-chaperoned date as of yet. 

If and when that finally happens? Well, I can't guarantee I won't be twitching right along with Bruce. Probably while reminding him that it was all our "bad touches" that lead us to this moment to begin with.

Heaven help us all.

Reader Comments (25)

My husband says he will be too busy dating our daughter for them to have time to date any other boy...and oh, if that does not work he says he will show them his gun collection. And then tell them he's not afraid to go back to jail ;)
Thinking of you - you'll get through this!

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJody @ Mommy Moment

The problem with living in the same town in which my husband grew up, and our children and our friends' children are all about the same age, is that they will one day grow up to date or at least be friends. We pray, regularly, that our daughter never comes home and says, "Mom, Grayson's dad was telling us about the time you were dating but you slept with his brother!" (NOT true, btw. I slept with him AFTER we broke up. Distinction.) Or "Mom, why did Dad and Colter's dad have to go to jail that one time?" It all terrifies me to no end.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTheOtherSarah

:) Happy Dating to your Daughter.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkyooty

Funny story about dads, guns and dating. I teach 4th grade and a girl misinterpreted her fathers "I'll show any boy who wants to date my daughter my gun" as a literal threat to a boy she knows. Which translated into much speculation at school and a lot of trouble. Poor kids didn't know that he really wasn't going to shoot anyone.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersoccermommyof6

My dad used to declare to we girls that he wouldn't allow us to date until we were 35. He was joking, of course, but he really was a mess when we did start dating in high school. I think it's the father's job. :-)

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Stoddard

My father has three daughters, the poor man. My husband has only two. He swears he learned from my father. My dad referred to every boy who dared to darken our front porch, and there were more than a few, as HLBs(Hairy Legged Boys). Daddy never has owned a gun, but he has a look that can still strike fear in the hearts of his sons in law. The look worked for awhile with our now almost 20 year old; but the older those HLBs get the less they seem to worry about Daddy. My husband is a very twitchy man these days. Me...I'm ready to tell the first one with a good job, education, no ex-wife or children running about NO TAKEBACKS when he shows up at the door looking all smug.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTressyjo

Our daughter started to date this year too. At first we were quite liberal and heh so long as she is happy and he treats her well ...
I just can't help it, I don't like him. Its not as if he is rude, disrespectful or a bad boy, quite the opposite and my husband likes him.
Its just me, I don't like him. It did occur to me, that maybe it was our girl growing up that I didn't like! But, no, I have decided its just the BF I don't like. It's hard.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterViolet

Im 38 and my dad has still never approved of any of my Guys... I think that is a bit extreme though I do understand it comes from a good place.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

I'm surprised, in that, when all three of my kids starting dating there was no nostalgia only the fear of them being hurt, that breaks my heart more than anything.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlwaysARedhead

My Dad actually DID meet my first date at the door with a gun! He cocked it, and drawled, "you better bring her home on time, boy."

We were caught behind a train on the return home from the dance, and that poor boy practically threw me out of the car when we got to my house. He never got out. He barely stopped!

Good times.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSassC

My husband thought he'd gotten off easy with our oldest daughter because she's a lesbian. Nope. He's just as protective. Then the younger daughter moved in with a guy he doesn't like. Poor dude isn't going to make 45, at this rate.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKel

Ah young love! Best of luck during these "sweet" times! Love your blog and always look forward to the latest posts!

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi Eckl

It has long entertained me to try to picture my oldest daughter's classmates hitting puberty and starting to date one another. I expect it won't be so funny in another four or five years when it really happens. Stowing away "Bad touch!" for future use.

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Marsh

Your awesome stories just keep writing themselves! Sometimes, I wonder why we are at all surprised when follow right into our parents' footsteps after disagreeing with them all through our teenage and early adulthood. It seems like these things are bound to happen. It's as if someone's using us as experimental guinea pigs where they put us through the same scenarios as our parents and study whether we react the same way, make the same choices. Spooky, innit?

March 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPallavi

This made me giggle. Hubby (and I) spent 2 years twitching when Beautiful B dated her first serious boyfriend; he was truly awful but knowing my displeasure would only drive them closer we kept quiet and waited for the fall out.

Which makes her latest foray into the dating world almost fun. I spent the years in-between the horror boyfriend and the latest one telling her she needed a boyfriend just like Hubby and she found one. Hubby stopped twitching after 6 months (and reduced his intake of alcohol) ;-)

That is a badass truck! :) I want one like that for my youngest son. Daughters...I know I don't ever want to let mine go and she's 20! hahaha!!

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda B

This is a testimony that i will tell to every one to hear. i have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until i meant a post where this man Esango Priest have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my love Husband home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: esangopriest@hotmail.com he is a good man and straight forward human

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersabrina

I am SO nowhere near ready for Emily to date. Thanks be that she's only 6.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngella

If memory serves, isn't that the same kind of truck YOU first 'did it' in?? (NOW you're twitching, right?)

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissMaryMac

Oh boy...I'm still worried that I'll be hearing the "but you and daddy did..." stories when my girls start dating...praying that the twitching subsides or becomes less noticeable

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrystal

I was raised in the hilly county of southern Indiana and I can still remember my day cleaning his gun as I introduced my first boyfriend (who happened to be so short that I learned how to slouch). Dad kept rubbing gun oil on the barrel saying "I don't mind going back to prison, son."

Dad was never IN prison, but he got his point across.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlottajoy

Hahahahahahahahahaha! Karma's a bitch, isn't she?

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCat Lady

left this in the wrong post...somehow...not sure either. But had you not hyperlinked that, I would have corrected you.

Tiger Beat.

March 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

"And these two kids haven't even been on a real, un-chaperoned date as of yet." As far as you know!

I have to admit that whenever my friends talk about their daughters starting to date, I am reminded of Al Bundy walking prospective suitors for Kelly into the door frame while escorting them out of the house.

March 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersumo

Ahhh, good times. Funny writing.

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAl_Pal
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