Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Things I would/wouldn't let my girls do

I'm making a list.

1. Wear makeup at age 13 -- Well, YES. Everybody knows that makeup is one of the most wonderful, beautiful things ever invented and that everyone has a responsibility to the general public not to go around looking all tired and pale. It's about being a good citizen.

2. Dye/bleach their hair an ordinary color -- Yes. Because hair grows and can be re-dyed. I know this from personal experience.

3. Dye hair an unusual color -- Probably not. Maybe just a strip of an unusual color, like pink. Again, because hair grows.

4. Get a tattoo -- No. But more from the "do you know what that thing is going to look like when you're 42 years old and have stretch marks?" perspective than from the idea that permanent body art is evil. I think we need to face the facts that youth and firm skin do not last forever. I heard Cher's speech about this. I believed her. And then at the pool I saw a woman about my own age with a rose tattoo on her upper left breast that had obviously gone from being a bud to an elongated, indistinguishable blob of red. And she wasn't fat or wrinkled or anything. Just middle-aged. It was horrifying.

5. Get their ears pierced -- Already done.

6. Get their tongues, lips, eyebrows, chins or noses pierced -- Abso-freakin'-lutely not. Facial piercings look like a fast track to life behind the counter at Dairy Queen. It doesn't look edgy or cool. It looks like a cry for help. "I am willing to mutilate myself if you'll only pay attention to me."

8. Get their navels pierced -- At this point in their lives, my kids don't wear clothing that displays their belly-buttons, so this one isn't really up for consideration.

Which brings us to...

9. Wear revealing clothing -- We work really, really hard to make sure the girls are dressed fashionably, but modestly. It's very hard. I mean, thankfully, the era of slutwear inspired by Britney Spears and her ilk seems to be waning, but it is still hard to find cute tops that aren't too low cut. I know how important clothes are, and making them dress as if they go through grandma's closet when they get dressed in the morning is not helpful. Like it or not, people judge us by our looks and I don't want people looking at my beautiful, kindhearted, funny kids and dismissing them with a scornful, "Oh, look. An Amish nerd."

We do a lot of layering, higher cut tops underneath lower cut tops.

9. Go on birth control -- I know this probably sounds harsh for a blog that is usually very light-hearted, but in my frank opinion, this is the kind of thing that loser parents do in order to shrug off their parenting responsibilities. They don't want to have to say "No" and take the time to explain why "No" is a reasonable answer, so they say "Yes" to going out on dates alone and "Yes" to going to parties and "Yes" to renting a motel room with a group of other loser parents so that the kids can "party safe" after the prom.

Even saying "Yes" to the question "Can Ben and I go up to my room to study? It's so noisy down here" is a really stupid thing to say. They don't want their daughters to get pregnant, but instead of providing some guidance and supervision and old-fashioned chaperoning, they let their girls use birth control so that some pimpled Romeo can paw her in his car. And then go tell all his friends. Because if you think he's not telling all his friends...hello?

I have no patience at all for all the lazy parents who say, "They're going to do it anyway, so she might as well be protected." Did such people learn nothing about venereal diseases in eighth grade health class? There are things out there that are a LOT WORSE than pregnancy, and none of them can be prevented by taking a pill or by using Norplant or getting an injection of Depo Provera.

An unwanted streak of pink in a girl's hair when she's in her teens is a lot easier to fix than an undected case of chlamydia that has rendered her sterile in her thirties.

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