Dear Young Dude,
I’m the mom of that girl I saw you checking out today, but don’t get nervous. I just want you to know some stuff about middle school girls and their parents. Pop open a Coke and take that entire new bag of Doritos hiding in the back of the pantry and let’s have a chat. I won’t tell your mom and dad about the Doritos.
Remember when girls were full of cooties? When the only interesting girl in your class was Jenna C. because she picked her nose and ate it and Maddie M. because she could rip off twenty-five pull-ups in P.E.? Those were the days. Now that you are older and wiser, you know lots of girls are actually kind of great, even the ones who can’t crush a pull-up. They’re great, but some days, you probably wish they came with operating instructions. Or some kind of app. The Girl Translation App, some kind of guide to make sense of the rules that seem to change, the behavior that doesn’t make sense.
I hear you. I was a middle school girl once and now I am the mom of one. Middle school girls are going through lots of stuff, just like you are. To help you navigate these choppy seas, I’d like to offer you five insider tips on how to approach your relationships with the girls in your life. Here they are:
- Be a gentleman. Chivalry is not dead! Open the door for her, help her carry her backpack if she’s also carrying her trumpet and her art project. Use your manners, even when eating triple-cheese pizza. Look her (and me!) in the eye when you talk, and be kind. Being a gentleman says to a girl that you think highly of her and want to treat her well.
- Stand up for her. I’m assuming you won’t have to take on a rebel army or fight someone to the death to defend her honor, though if you do, please let me know because I’m going to want to record a video of it on my phone. But even without the drama, a girl likes a boy to stick up for her in the presence of doofuses. When another guy (or girl) is hurting her with his/her words, online or in person, say something. Your willingness to stick your neck out on her behalf will make an enormous impression on her and her parents.
- Don’t be the creepy guy who wants to touch her all the time. Gross. I asked my daughter about this and she looked a little like she was going to throw up in her mouth. So I’d say to stick to fist bumps and high fives, maybe a side hug every now and then if you don’t think she’ll flip out. But anything closer than that and you’re introducing awkwardness where you probably don’t want it.
- Remember she’s on a team. In our house, our daughters know that any boy who wants to date them one day will need to go to breakfast with my husband first. This requirement is good for everyone. The boy in question will need to have the courage to spend time with a dad who loves his daughter and wants to protect her. And I’ve already seen my daughter screen future date prospects with this idea in mind. Would this guy be able to have a breakfast meeting with Dad? If the answer is, “Um…not a chance,” she listens to that instinct. Be the guy any girl would like her dad to meet, over pancakes and otherwise.
- Spend time with God every day. This is never, ever time wasted. And time with the God who wired you and knows you is the best time you can spend while growing into the man you’re becoming. We need good men in our world, and you have all the makings to be a great one.
Now put away the empty Dorito bag before someone catches you. And brush your teeth. Dorito breath is a challenge for any girl.
Thanks for reading.