8 simple rules about dating my teenage daughter

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I’d browsed, chatted to pleasant assistants, and enjoyed fresh air and light. What sort of people can think of nothing better to do on a Saturday than trail around a vast temple of triviality, picking things up, putting them down again, then maxing the plastic because it’s impossible to go home empty-handed?

I am a female employee in my late 20s working for a large Fortune 500 U. One day a couple weeks ago, my boss was talking as usual about how his daughter is very attractive and wants to start dating.

My problem isn’t that she wants to be with a girl, although admittedly I was shocked as my daughter has always been interested in boys (or so she says).

The problem is that this girl has left school, lives on Jobseeker’s Allowance (although who knows how she is going to get a job looking the way she does — twice-pierced lip, tattooed neck, pierced and shaved eyebrow), comes from a home which seems rather free and easy in the approach to parenting — is, in fact, everything that we are not.

But he is also a devout Christian (we’ve discussed this many times), not to mention my boss. Actually, you shouldn’t be calling them “whores” even if it weren’t age-appropriate or culture-appropriate.

That’s a horrible thing to say about another person — sexist, punitive, and demeaning, and another person’s sexuality is none of your business — and I hope you’ll take this as a flag to rethink whatever thought pattern led you there.

And even when I let it out of my chest, it wasn’t love. Telling someone you love them doesn’t mean that you do.

My boss has been acting weird/standoffish towards me since I made this comment, and understandably so. This is problematic on multiple levels, including that you shouldn’t be calling teenage girls “whores” for expressing a perfectly age-appropriate, culture-appropriate interest in dating.

I guess that’s why I told my wife I loved her on our second date. But it wasn’t that she wasn’t giving me love, it just seemed to come at different times. I don’t think I noticed this consciously for a while. And after each time, there would be this look she would give me. It wasn’t something I could force, just something that would come about as a result of my giving. And how much I’m sure those messages are bouncing around in other people’s heads as well. Living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives.

I had tried really hard up to that point to hold it back, honestly. I think part of me recognized that she was much smarter and more modest than me. This fire was burning in me, a fire that burned just like that second date: I was in love. Marriage, quicker than I was ready for, did this thing: it started sucking away that emotion. In other words, it was in the practicality that I found the love I was looking for. That fire I felt, it was simply that: emotional fire. I think that might be a big part of the reason the divorce rate is so high in this country. It’s time that we changed the conversation about love. Because until we do, adultery will continue to be common.

We mustn’t assume that coupledom is the only fit state for human beings.

I like it for myself, and it happens to be the case (statistics show) that people are generally happier that way — but there is no ‘one size fits all’ for relationships, and I detest that narrow, black-and-white approach to the complexity of life. The other day my modest haul consisted of books, skinny black American jeans, and high-top sneakers in grey, studded leather — all bought from small, independent shops.

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