In my previous post, I posited the theory that at one time or another all teenage girls become evil – not permanently, mind you (at least, I sure hope not). Thanks for the hundreds of emails and letters people never got around to sending me in staunch support of my theory.
In fact, based on further limited but rigorous field research I did (comprised mostly of renting the movie Mean Girls) I have concluded there appear to be several actual city ordinances which require girls in some affluent suburban neighborhoods to turn evil (or at least seriously bitchy) by the time they reach puberty. This ordinance clearly is in effect in Beverly Hills, Orange County, Palm Beach, Florida, the Hamptons, Greenwich, CT, and oddly enough, Omaha, Nebraska*. (I know, that last one surprised me too.)
Now, you may still say, “Evil”? Really? Isn’t that a bit of a stretch?” Well, I don’t mean evil in the “sociopath stalker kills five, kicks puppy” sense. Of course not. No, I mean evil more in the “You just don’t like him because he has a purple Mohawk, a tattoo of a king cobra on his neck and a chain that runs from his ear to his nose. You’re so judgmental. I hate my life!!” sort of way. You know, the she-doesn’t-have-time-to-take-the-3-extra-seconds-it-would-require-to-pick-up-her-bowl-of-half-eaten-ice-cream-that-she-left-on-our-expensive-leather-couch-for-the-fifth-time-this-week-so-the-cat-finally-knocked-it-over-leaving-a-six-inch-stain-of-Rocky-Road-that-will-never-come-out sense. That sort of evil.
Here is a quick seven-question test you can administer to determine whether or not your own daughter might currently be evil – and it does not require any urine samples or swatches of hair:
• Has it been more than 3 months since your daughter last cleaned up her room? (Add 10 points if you can no longer determine the color or texture of the flooring because you cannot actually find it.)
• Is your daughter thoughtful, considerate and respectful to all non-familial adult authority figures (teachers, coaches, etc.) and is able to maintain this highly respectful manner effortlessly for hours on end until… precisely the moment she comes through your front doorway?
• When you gently offer support and advice to help with your daughter’s agonizing problem with her on-again-off-again-on-again-off-again-on-again boyfriend with the king cobra neck tattoo named [check the appropriate boxes: ___Chad ___ Jacob ___ Ethan ___ Daniel ___ Noah ___ Joshua] is your counsel immediately dismissed out of hand with the phrase “Arrgh! Forget it, Dad. You just don’t get it!!” [insert the mandatory accompanying eye roll here.]
• Has she told you more than once in the past 24 hours how borrrrrr-ing school is, and that she doesn’t see the point to going anymore and is debating whether to catch a bus and move to Florida with snake-tattoo boy [check the appropriate boxes: ___Chad ___ Jacob ___ Ethan ___ Daniel ___ Noah ___ Joshua] because “I can take care of myself.”
• Have you wondered quietly to yourself more than twice in the past week, “Who is this girl in my kitchen wolfing down stale potato chips, a slice of cold pizza, and Diet Mountain Dew for breakfast, and what have they done with my real daughter?”
• When you enter her room at bedtime to say goodnight, tell her you love her, and kiss her on the top of her head, does she lovingly respond by shrieking “Geez, you’re ruining my hairdo! Go away! And close the door behind you!”
• Do you routinely find yourself gritting your teeth, with flashbacks to your own father as you shout: “You’re NOT leaving this house wearing that!!” as your daughter attempts to sneak out the door wearing banana-yellow 5-inch spiked heels and a miniskirt with a hem that stops roughly 2 inches below her navel? (Score yourself an additional 10 points if you spot something on the small of her lower back that vaguely looks like the top part of a tattoo with snake-tattoo boy’s name and the word “forever.”)
If you answered YES to six or more of the questions above, your teenage daughter currently is, statistically speaking, evil. (For full disclosure, this test has a statistical margin of error of +/- 100%). So if your daughter scored EVIL or just Moderately Wicked, don’t worry. From the research I’ve done, most of the time this turns out to be a phase they grow out of — as soon as they have future evil daughters of their own.
So, are most teenage girls truly evil? Perhaps not. Perhaps my judgment is clouded by the latest Category 4 hormonal hurricane that just blew through my living room this afternoon screaming “You never do ANYTHING for me” in response to my calmly worded observation, “No, I will not buy you an iPhone for making your bed.”
And back to the initial research report from Part 1 of this post. Maybe it’s true that parents of teenagers are the least happy people of all. But I don’t want to trade places with any of the other groups – and certainly not with Melvin Zemmecki of Newark, New Jersey.
I might not be able to compete any more with [check the appropriate boxes: ___Chad ___ Jacob ___ Ethan ___ oh, whatever the hell his name is] for my daughters’ attention. But in those increasingly rare moments when I am lucky enough to taxi one of my daughters to her soccer practice or to her sleep-over at her friend Maria’s, and she leans over, gives me a kiss and says, “I love you, Daddy”, I pause and realize that just then – at that precise moment, I am the happiest person in the world.
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
(* My sincerest apology about the comment that Omaha, Nebraska was a city with an ordinance that requires teenage girls to turn evil. After further fact-checking, I realize I meant to write Bismarck, North Dakota.)
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2010 – 2011