Love in the 3rd grade

Hannah asked me a question the other day which had me laughing for days on end. Primarily the laughter of fear, impending doom and complete and utter self-denial...

I pull up at school to collect her, she pops her bag in the boot, opens the passenger door and slides into the passenger seat. I get the usually ‘Hello daddy’ and am presented a cheek for kissing - sometimes it’s the forehead, sometimes it’s the lips, it’s a mood thing I guess. I reverse, before setting off onto the main road and wondering what I’m going to cook for dinner.

‘Dad,’ she says innocently.

‘Yes baby,’ I reply equally innocently.

‘How do you deal with two boyfriends at the same time?’

I suppose if you were an innocent teenager back in the day, and you were always faithful and never broke girls’ hearts and always did the right thing, this would be a perfectly innocent question, from your perspective that is.

However I am  a survivor of tumultuous broken hearts, known in some quarters by one-syllable derogatory terms not fit to mention on this site. Girls used to have meetings to discuss just exactly how they would make me pay for hurting them with the lies and deception I dished out just to get into their pants. Well as such a S.O.B, at this moment I suddenly see my life flash before me and realise with distinct clarity that payback is indeed a bitch. Nice one God, nice one indeed.

I maintain my composure and keep the car on the road before asking timidly…’two boyfriends?’

‘Yes daddy,’ she says. ‘Both Jack and John (not their real names) like me.’

I suddenly have this unexplained sensation of bile moving up my throat, a slick taste of gunmetal and yuk.

‘But, baby, what do boyfriends do in the 3rd grade?’ Thin beads of sweat now line my brow and I begin to fidget uncomfortably in my seat, making driving rather challenging.

‘Well, nothing actually Dad, you know, they just chase us around the playground and say stupid things to us.’

Aha, a slight reprieve, the little bastards don’t know what they’re doing yet... I have time... maybe a few more months. Oh God, give me strength! Soon it’ll be dating, and g-strings, and Oh my God, tampons and then (yes I am balling my eyes out now) oh no I can’t say it AAARRRRGGGHHHH sex, sex, they’re going to be having sex soon. Yes, so? It was only 16:30 in the afternoon, and so what, I had a whiskey. I bloody needed it OKAY!

At what age should girls be allowed to have boyfriends?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams
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