Sheila’s ode to James DiMaggio reminded me of a non-conversation I had with my daughter.
I came in to the TV room where Γ (now my co-blogger "Aquilla") and her best friend / next-door-neighbor were watching NCIS (probably, since its in syndication now on USA and this summer she’s been watching it for several of the 12 or so hours a day they run it). Γ is sitting at the end of the couch that faces the TV (the only really suitable place to sit), BF is sitting more-or-less in the middle.
“Scoot,” I instructed Γ.
“Slide over. I want to sit next to you on the end.”
“No! Go sit next to BF!” she replied, gesturing vaguely at the empty spot on the other end.
I glared at her for a few seconds. “Seriously. You’re not scooting over?”
How do I explain this? I thought to myself as I sat on the floor. How do I tell my daughter that the rules are different for men, that the trip from “family friend” to “creepy old guy” is very short, that as she gets older there is a non-zero probability that certain . . . physical geometries will make her friends uncomfortable, and that her father lives in mortal fear of those probabilities.
Ultimately, I didn’t. Instead, I told her later, “look, the person who is my daughter is you. It’s your job to sit next to your dad, and it’s very bad form to try to foist that job onto your friends.”
She was receptive to this. I think she understood at least some of my implications, which is more than I expected.