Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex

ApprehensiveDad

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Ferrett Steinmetz is tired of being told that he should point guns at his daughter’s boyfriends.

There’s a piece of twaddle going around the internet called 10 Rules For Dating My Daughter, which is packed with “funny” threats like this:

“Rule Four: I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilising some kind of ‘barrier method’ can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.”

All of which boil down to the tedious, “Boys are threatening louts, sex is awful when other people do it, and my daughter is a plastic doll whose destiny I control.”

Look, I love sex. It’s fun. And because I love my daughter, I want her to have all of the same delights in life that I do, and hopefully more. I don’t want to hear about the fine details because, heck, I don’t want those visuals any more than my daughter wants mine. But in the abstract, darling, go out and play.

You’re not me. Nor are you an extension of my will. And so you need to make your own damn mistakes, to learn how to pick yourself up when you fall. I’ll help. But I think there’s value in getting lost. I think there’s a strength that only comes from fumbling your own way out of the darkness.

Because consensual sex isn’t something that men take from you; it’s something you give. It doesn’t lessen you to give someone else pleasure. It doesn’t degrade you to have some of your own. And anyone who implies otherwise is a man who probably thinks very poorly of women underneath the surface.

Yes, all these boys and girls and genderqueers may break your heart, and that in turn will break mine. I’ve held you, sobbing, after your boyfriend cheated on you, and it tore me in two. But you know what would tear me in two even more? To see you in a glass cage, experiencing nothing but cold emptiness at your fingers, as Dear Old Dad ensured that you got to experience nothing until he decided what you should like.

You’re not me. Nor are you an extension of my will. And so you need to make your own damn mistakes, to learn how to pick yourself up when you fall, to learn where the bandages are and to bind up your own cuts. I’ll help. I’ll be your consigliere when I can, the advisor, the person you come to when all seems lost. But I think there’s value in getting lost. I think there’s a strength that only comes from fumbling your own way out of the darkness.

You’re your own person, and some of the things you’re going to love will strike me as insane, ugly, or unenjoyable. This is how large and wonderful the world is! Imagine if everyone loved the same thing; we’d all be battling for the same ten people. The miracle is how easily someone’s cast-offs become someone else’s beloved treasure. And I would be a sad, sad little man if I manipulated you into becoming a cookie-cutter clone of my desires. Love the music I hate, watch the movies I loathe, become a strong woman who knows where her bliss is and knows just what to do to get it.

Now, you’re going to get bruised by life. But I won’t tell you sex is bad, or that you’re bad for wanting it, or that other people are bad for wanting it from you if you’re willing to give it. I refuse to perpetuate, even through the plausible deniability of humor, the idea that the people my daughter is attracted to are my enemy.

I’m not the guard who locks you in the tower. Ideally, I am my daughter’s safe space, a garden to return to when the world has proved a little too cruel, a place where she can recuperate and reflect upon past mistakes and know that here, there is someone who loves her wholeheartedly and will hug her until the tears dry.

That’s what I want for you, sweetie. A bold life filled with big mistakes and bigger triumphs.

Now get out there and find all the things you fucking love, and vice versa.

This article originally ran at theferrett.com under a slightly different title.

You might also like a mother’s letter to her son:

An Open Letter to My Son About Sex

 

Photo—Stewart Black/Flickr

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About Ferrett Steinmetz

Ferrett Steinmetz - @ferretthimself on Twitter - is a Nebula-nominated science fiction writer and C-list blogger who blogs about puns, politics, and polyamory at http://www.theferrett.com - that's two "r"s, two "t"s. His urban fantasy debut novel Flex, described as “A desperate father will do anything to heal his daughter in a novel where Breaking Bad meets Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files,” arrives on September 30th and is available for pre-order. He lives in Cleveland with his beautiful wife Gini, a friendly ghost, and a small black dog named Shasta.

Comments

  1. I am a 26 year old that had a father exactly like this.

    I have friends around my age who had a range of different upbringings eg. overbearing father/mother, none at all etc etc.
    I feel that I have a much healthier association with males than my close friends and a wonderful confidence about myself that many other girls are not lucky enough to have.
    I have become a much more balanced, happy, confident woman because of the way my father was with me and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Trackbacks

  1. […] not me,” Ferrett Steinmetz writes. “You’re not an extension of my will.” Telling her I Hope You Have Awesome Sex,” he […]

  2. […] Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex […]

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  4. […] not me,” Ferrett Steinmetz writes. “You’re not an extension of my will.” Telling her I Hope You Have Awesome Sex,” he […]

  5. […] Dear Daughter hit a nerve because it is exactly how I feel, and I’d lately seen too much of the dad with shotgun meme. We always had a saying for how we treated our kids: they’re little, not stupid. For the shotgun parents I would say: they’re people, not property. […]

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  11. […] but is utterly neglecting his teenage daughter is the man who wrote the recent internet sensation, “Dear Daughter: I hope you have awesome sex”. The open letter, written by Ferrett Steinmetz, has over 305,000 ‘likes’ and was shared over a […]

  12. […] Read this: http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/brand-dear-daughter-i-hope-you-have-awesome-sex/ […]

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  15. […] Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex […]

  16. […] For more go to Ferrett’s Blog or check out the repost at The Good Men Project. […]

  17. […] “I’m not the guard who locks you in the tower. Ideally, I am my daughter’s safe space, a garden to return to when the world has proved a little too cruel, a place where she can recuperate and reflect upon past mistakes and know that here, there is someone who loves her wholeheartedly and will hug her until the tears dry.” – Ferrett Steinmetz in Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex […]

  18. […] Dear Daughter: I hope you have awesome sex by Ferrett […]

  19. […] the Met but for nice young people. She also mentions a letter a father wrote to his daughter titled Dear Daughter: I Hope You Have Awesome Sex. I don’t have many regrets in life but one sticks out in my mind. When I was in my early […]

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