Dads and Daughters

I was 16 years old. I wore a padded bra because I was so damned flat chested I worried people would confuse me for a boy. I had one of those damn spiral perms and I looked like I was wearing triangle on my head.

In my eyes, I was freaking hot.

It was the summer and I was boyfriendless; (having already given Boo the ceremonial boot before school started,) I was on the prowl for a little romance.

Of course, romance then is a defined differently than romance now. I was more interested in french kissing and the occasional boob graze back then. Now, I'm more interested in someone folding the laundry for me and maybe taking out the garbage.

After a marathon telephone call with my girlfriend, we gathered our troops and made plans to all meet at the local hotspot downtown. A popular restaurant the older boys frequented. We'd doll ourselves up, drink virgin margaritas and hope to land a big fish.

I didn't drive yet, I was too scared to attempt to take the driver's test, so I hopped on a bus and tried to block out the image of the skeevy 40ish year old man with long stringy brown whiskers leering at me and my padded chest, as I made my way to my destination.

Dinner was uneventful. The restaurant was packed. With families. Not a teenaged boy in sight. Still, we had a good time, pretending to be sophisticated. One of my friends decided to come back to my place and I was thrilled to have company on the bus ride home.

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Oh ya. I'm so sexay.

The bus was running late, so my friend and I sat on a bench gossiping the way 16 year old girls do, when two men rode by on the busy city street on their bicycles. One was blonde, the other dark and mysterious.

It was like a scene out of a low budget movie. The dark haired man took one look at me and then did a fast double take. He immediately called to his friend and suddenly they stopped pedaling their bikes and jumped the curb onto the sidewalk and out of traffic's way.

I looked at my friend, curious what this was about, why these men looked at us and stopped so suddenly. As they walked their bikes closer to us, I saw they weren't as old as I thought, they were teenage boys.

The night suddenly got a whole lot better.

The dark haired, muscular one was named Cam. He didn't stop staring at me the entire time we giggled and flirted and I felt on fire. Giddy with the power of being able to attract such a young studly dude.

Then, all too quickly, the bus arrived. I was crushed. Cam quickly scribbled my phone number on his fore arm and promised to call. Him and his friend madly pedaled after the bus, as my friend and I sat in the back seat watching them, until the bus pulled further and further away.

I never really believed he would call. He was 19. Too old to be interested in me. But it sure felt good to be a traffic stopper for one night in my life.

Except, he did call. And thus was the start of a torrid teen romance. Torrid as in a lot of french kissing and constant evasion of his grabby hands so he wouldn't discover my breasts were actually cotton padding.

My dad didn't like this boy. He was too big, too muscular and too old for me. He growled whenever Cam called or showed up at my house, hot and sweaty from his long bike ride to my house.

It didn't matter to me that he didn't have a car. Or that he worked in an electronics store instead of going to university or college. Or a loser by other people's standards. He was my summer romance, my heart and the fact he annoyed my father just added more excitement to push my teen age crush to higher levels.

One night, Cam and I sat on the front steps of my house, chatting under the stars and sneaking furtive kisses in when ever we could. My dad sat in the living room, glancing out the big bay window every few minutes in a fatherly bid to ensure my chastity, my virginity.

Fatherly delusions. Apparently he was worried I'd strip buck nekkid and hand over my well-guarded cherry on our front lawn in the middle of suburbia, with the first older boy who pedaled my way.

Apparently, I inherited my over-active imagination from my daddy.

It was 11:30 at night and my curfew was midnight. As every minute ticked past on the clock hanging above my father's head, he became more and more agitated.

I grew more and more enamored with my bicycle riding boyfriend.

At 11:35, my dad came to the front door and growled through the screen that it was time for me to come in.

I brushed him off, in that way snotty teenaged girls do, and told him I would be right in. I had no such plans on coming in. My curfew was midnight, and not a minute before.

Cam and I continued to talk and a few more minutes later, my dad increased his volume and bellowed at me to get "my skinny ass into the house, before he had to come out there and get me."

Rolling my eyes, I yelled back at Dad, "Mom said I could stay out till midnight." Like jeez dude, wtf? Back off, I'm getting my romantic rocks off out here and you are killing my mojo. Duh.

I was a cheeky little witch back then. Not at all like the docile, rule abiding woman I am now. Heh.

Several more minutes passed along with a few more stolen kisses, when the screen door banged open and my dad stood there in his robe, steaming pouring out his ears.

"If you don't get your ass in the house right this minute young lady, you are gonna regret it."

I looked at my dad with horror on my face. How dare he embarrass me in front of my boyfriend? How could he do this to me? Yet my survival instinct kicked in, and I knew I was in danger of getting my just desserts.

"Fine," I snottily replied. "I'm coming in. RIGHT now. Sheesh. I'm just saying goodnight." And then I turned my back to my dad and apologized to Cam for my dad's behaviour. As my dad stood and watched. Because I had a death wish, apparently.

Dad backed off, or so I thought, and in my hormone addled brain, I pushed. Dammit, I still had ten minutes before my curfew and he could just bite my skinny little arse if he thought I was going in a minute earlier, I thought to myself.

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So I snuck in another kiss. And another. And a few more minutes rolled by. And unbeknownst to me, my dad was slowly losing his mind over my disobedience and my cheekiness and the audacity of this man to ignore his wishes and leave.

Just as my tongue was in this kid's mouth and half way down his throat, my dad came thundering out of the house, ready to kill.

Cam, knowing full well when his life is in danger, jumped up from having me inspect his tonsils, and started running. For his life. Like a weeny.

Picture a dark haired teen, running down the empty side walk of a surburban city block with a 43 year old man hot on his tail screaming at him to "Get your ass back here so I can choke the life out of you, you little shit!"

Now picture the same scene knowing my dad was wearing nothing but a pair of dirty tighty-whiteys and barefoot to boot. While chasing a teenaged boy down the block.

I stood there, stupefied and beyond mortified, yelling at my dad to "Stop EMBARRASSING me, DADDY!" while tears streamed down my face.

I was horrified. And slightly terrified, because if I incited my dad's wrath enough for him to run down the sidewalk, barefoot and in his gonch, you can bet your ass there would be hell to pay when he got back and got his hands on me.

The seconds slowly ticked by until I could no longer see either man. The last image I had in my head before slowly making my way down to my bedroom to pray for leniency was Cam looking over his shoulder with fear on his face and my dad closing the gap between the two of them.

And there may have been a skid mark on the back of his underwear.

Fifteen long minutes later, my dad came back into the house and into my room, huffing and puffing. He was out of breath from his impromptu midnight run and pissed off that he couldn't catch the little bastard who was macking out on his daughter.

I wailed at Dad at how he ruined my life. He bellered back that that was good, since I was now grounded for the rest of it.

"He's never going to want to date me again," I cried after my dad when he left the room with out a sympathizing bone in his body.

"Not if he knows what's good for him," Dad growled back.

Apparently, Cam did know what was good for him. He managed to hop over some fences and hid like a pansy ass in the bushes of my neighbour's yard and waited two hours before he slunk back to my house and retrieved his bicycle. Or so I later heard from a friend of a friend.

I never heard back from him again. Ever.

My dad was quite proud of himself. I was not.

But boy did I learn to listen to my dad after that, and not push his buttons. Heh.

My dad will never chase after another boy again, in his life. Time and disease has taken a toll on his still young body and today he's in surgery having part of both feet removed.

In an effort to prolong his life.

I didn't appreciate all that my dad did for me, for our family when I was younger. I didn't see the blisters and sore muscles he rubbed every day as he worked his tail off to support our family.

I didn't appreciate all the times my dad growled at my boyfriends in an effort to preserve my chastity. And I certainly didn't appreciate him when I phoned him to tell him Boo and I were dating and I knew he was the one. The love of my life. The man I wanted to be with forever.

Dad grunted into the phone and simply said, "He's not good enough for you."

I didn't understand a lot back then. But as a grown up, a wife and now a mother, I get it. And I appreciate it.

Thank you Daddy, for all that you have done for me. For raising me to be the person I am today.

And thank you Dad, for running barefoot down the block in your skivvies, to chase away a boy you knew wasn't worth the time of my day.

I love you. Every inch of you. Even if there will be less of you tomorrow to love.