Terrifically Unfair

So much has happened in the last 18 hours. I’m having trouble processing it – struggling to arrange it all into a coherent story. Perhaps I’ll start at the beginning.

I was sitting in the junk room yesterday afternoon, minding my own business, when a chat window appeared in the browser – a friend who lives across the way. She asked after me – asked if I was doing anything for my birthday. I said no – and that it really didn’t matter – there were more important things to worry about.

Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and discovered the same friend standing on the doorstep brandishing a red party bag, and the cheekiest grin I have seen in quite some time. I invited her in, and followed her through the house towards the kitchen – laughing when she agreed that her arrival was as much an escape from her own house, as an opportunity to deliver emergency birthday supplies.

The party bag contained two bottles of beer, and a bar of chocolate. I smiled as I lifted them out onto the kitchen counter, and offered a cup of tea.

“No thank-you. You always offer me a cup of tea when I come to visit, don’t you”

“Yes. I’m going to have one anyway”

We caught up with what our respective families have been doing, and I found myself listening, smiling, and realising how lucky I am to have at least a few really good friends. I might not have as many friends as most, but those I do have are pretty great – this particular friend perhaps being a favourite (don’t tell her – she’ll tease me unbearably). I told my small circle of friends how much I valued them late in the evening of a party last year, and got laughed at for being sentimental and drunk. I had to agree, but I meant it.

A little later in the evening Miss 17 went out to a house party, along with a friend she has had since secondary school. After spending several hours doing each other’s makeup, they set off, and I started to worry – in the way parents do when their children head out into the world.

Four hours later there was a knock at the door. The friend started apoligising immediately. Miss 17 was in the play-park across from our house, and wouldn’t come home. I pulled on a coat and shoes, and wandered off into the night to find her – spotting a familiar silhouette curled up in a ball at the top of the climbing frame.

Guess who – after talking her down, and holding her hand all the way home – spent another night alongside his 17 year old daughter again. I’m not going to get into the drama that had unfolded, because most of it is her story – but there is something I want to say that’s directly related to the tearful story I heard.

I think it’s terrifically unfair that teenage girls have to deal with the unchecked behavior of teenage boys – and that teenage boys, despite having the message about consent drummed into them from a young age, still think it’s fine to corner, and pressure girls. Why do girls have to learn to deal with so many assholes? Why is it seen as normal – as a right of passage – as part of growing up ?

I’m just thankful that Miss 17’s first instinct was to bail on the party – to come home – and that her friend had the sense to do the same.

After helping remove her makeup (spectacularly badly), we curled up in bed and watched “The Good Place” on Amazon. Within a few minutes she was fast asleep. After watching a few episodes, and half watching her sleep, I quietly turned everything off, and fell asleep alongside her. She woke several times during the night, waking me in return. I asked at one point if she still wanted me to stay – hoping to sneak back off to my own bed. She reached across and held onto me.


9 thoughts on “Terrifically Unfair”

  1. Your such a great dad .. it is sad what girls have to go through. My heart breaks for her. My son worries about that .. he has a girl he ha liked for yrs and dated off and on and there’s been a few times he’s wanted to go after some guys who are pushy like that . I’m happy I have a son that is decent. I hope your daughter is doing better today.


  2. Urrrghhh your daughter’s story genuinely upset me. Some boys need to grow the fuck up and realize that girls/women are not their property and do not exist to do what they want. Sorry for becoming French or whatever that saying is – soft spot. Good on her friend for leaving with her, that’s a good buddy right there. I have my own stories of asshole boys and so I am so glad that your daughter got out of that situation. I hope that she is okay now. You’re a really good dad, good on you for even tackling some make up removal! My boyfriend enjoys giving me a good jab in the eye even when he’s trying to be his most gentle haha! The Good Place is such a good show! I need to start watching season 2!


  3. Wish there was an unlike button. My heart aches . None of us our unscathed but to see your own daughter in such pain is unbearable .


  4. I’m glad to hear that you had a friend who took the time to acknowledge your birthday. Not so glad to hear about what your daughter had to deal with. We often have conversations with our sons about the proper way to treat a female. I’m glad to hear that she had the instinct to remove herself from the situation and I have no doubt that she appreciated your support.


  5. A good read. My daughter is 7. However i am dreading the day that she gets to the age of boys and parties. I know i cannot stop this from happening but it still scares me a lot……


  6. The fact that she trusted you enough to stay with her, to help her through the hard stuff of processing such rubbish that affects girls so deeply is a testimony to your faithfulness as a dad, your commitment to the long haul, and your unconditional love for her. Well done, JB. It sucks that you had to go through that, but to do so with such compassion shows her what kind of man she should want as she gets older.


  7. You’re a great dad and a great model of what she will hold out for as a partner. As a woman with a terrible role model, and subsequently terrible choices in men, I would like to say thank you for showing your daughter what she should seek. Great job! And so nice of your neighbour friend to come by.


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