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Oh Captain, My Captain

The other first date rite of passage...

Just like the besieging intestinal revenge felt after succumbing to that late night, tequila urge to munch on the mystery-meat-on-a-stick from that shady Acapulco street vendor, the visceral reaction to my son’s first date hit painfully hard, and sooner than expected.

It’s happening and dad’s gotta deal.

Maybe her parents bring their daughter to us, so the parents can meet, and we can together commiserate this rite of passage; this unrelenting march of babes-to-teens.

Naturally, it’s awkward.

The men know. And so too do the women. We’ve all been there. This unspoken dance is payback, so said our own gleefully boasting parents. We all do our best to ignore the cranial echo of their taunting, cackling voices. It didn’t work.

Yes, payback is a bitch.

We made small talk, nervously smiled, probably pressed sweaty palms, but I confidently assured them that I am a responsible chaperone. I’ll be close, but as pleaded by my son on bended knee, not too close. However, his request that I see a different movie: Denied.

After the meet ‘n greet, and the teen-embarrassing hugs and kisses bestowed by her anxious parental units, they depart with hopes and prayers that we return their child as she had been left. But prior to, figuratively only, leaving their young in the hands of another, they confirmed that I had both of their cell phone numbers and that I’d call if there were any problems.

With a wry grin and an I’ve-got-this wink, I provided them with the last piece of comfort needed to send them on their way. I assure them. There will be NO problems. After the third parent finally bowed out, just three remained.

It was now dad and those two thirteens; both too old for My Little Pony, and too young to drive. It’s an awkward age; a confusing age with so many difficult-to-decipher mixed messages. But I remember. And more importantly, I remember me. For the sake of all parents involved, I had this. My reputation depended on it. And so did our collective futures. In short order, I would set the evening’s tone, dad style.

I felt their palpable excitement, and worse, the surge of their raging, unbridled hormones. Orthodontically-braced teeth sparkled. Instagram-influenced hair coifed. Multiple acne washes effective. As they quietly stood close, waiting for transport, their fingertips brushed and so too did the unmistakable wandering looks of pubescent curiosity. It made my freakin’ skin crawl.

With their growing confidence, the kids boldly braved my presence, reached for each other, and held hands. In your face, old man!

Clearly, it was go time.

There was one last thing left to be said before we departed. It was of sorts, a reminder of previously discussed, man-to-man, age-appropriate date night behavioural expectations, and the ramifications of their violation. As my son then found out, this dad keeps his promised threats.

Heeey, buddy, does my BIG BOY need to make a POOPEE before we go?”

Yes Siree Bob, Captain Cock Block at your service. And folks, I’ll be here all night.


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