What will you do? You are merely men!

 The illustrations are originals by @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.

On a recent Spanish holiday I observed the scene depicted below. My one year old daughter was hanging out, minding her own business, thinking about whatever it is that one year olds think about. Meanwhile a two year old boy walked past, holding his mum’s finger, and, as he passed my daughter, he craned his neck to get a look. The poor lad almost fell over as his staring at my daughter caused his body to half twist and follow his gaze.

My daughter, for her part, didn’t even notice.

She doesn’t know the little boy but I think it’s fairly obvious he wants to know her.

I’ve entitled the picture “And so it begins”.

How am I meant to react to this as a father?

The stereotypical response would be threats of violence towards the boy, right? Perhaps its time to get a shotgun and build a porch in front of my house? Maybe I should be scooping her up and shipping her down to the Ye Olde Chastity Belt store until she is well into her 30s?

I’m afraid I don’t feel that way.

In fact I absolutely disagree with that point of view. This idea that, as her father, I will keep her locked away from the attentions of boys until she is magically revealed to the world on her wedding day is madness. Do you have any idea how much work that would be? Any idea how many boys I’ll have to chase off that porch, or the locks on the windows I’ll have to install to keep her inside?

Not to mention I have a job, another kid, and I’m planning to educate her in a school with lots of other children. There is plenty of potential for her to escape my watchful eye!

There must be an easier way.

You know that saying:

“You give a girl a fish, she’ll eat for a day, teach a girl to fish and she’ll eat every day?”

Surely I can apply this to my daughter?

I’m not going to stand between her and boys, I’m not going to shelter her or raise her to rely on someone else to decide who is suitable for her.

I’m going to pump up her self-esteem. I’m going to give her my trust now so that she’s knows I trust her to choose wisely with her partners as well. Her mother and I are going to model for her what a positive relationship looks like. I’m going to teach her how a good man acts and that she deserves one for herself.

Of course, I’m not naïve, there are plenty of dickheads out there. I’ve fulfilled that role, at times, in my youth. Therefore she is going to have learn to be a badass. Learn how to weed these guys out and have a strong enough sense of self to send them packing when they cross the line.

The good news is she is already halfway there:

Firstly, as a one-year old, she is already a self confident, independent, badass.

Secondly, we named her after a siren that lures sailors to their death with the warcry “what will you do? You are merely men!”

Not to mention all that concern about boys might be futile, she might like girls. In which case, my insistence on badassary and picking someone worthy and nice still applies!

 The illustrations are originals by @Paulcarlonillustration on Instagram.

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