A Boyfriend Conversation With My Kid

Fade in to a restaurant dinner scene. It’s family pizza night at Grimaldi’s. A Mom, Papa and their two daughters, Chloe and Sophie, are patiently awaiting their food.  The camera pans in on the midst of their animated conversation about Chloe’s 12-year old male French cousin who has a girlfriend.

“What would you say if I told you I had a boyfriend?” asks Chloe.

“Why? Do you have a boyfriend?” Mom asks in return, hesitating to glance up from her game of Hangman with Sophie, her 8-year old, lest a gaze into Chloe’s eyes reveals a truth she’d rather not face.  Indeed, Mom would be happy to postpone the inevitable another decade.

Emphatic adolescent roll of eyes. “No, Mom. I don’t have a boyfriend. It was a hypothetical question.”

Mom looks up. “Do I need to have THE conversation with you?”

Papa laughs and says, “I’m definitely not going to have it with her.”

Second emphatic adolescent roll of eyes.  “You mean, the sex talk?  Jumping to conclusions any, Mom?  Jesus!”  In this family’s house, the use of “Jesus” as a pseudo-curse word is allowed.  Because Mom and Papa are heathens and really don’t give a shit about Jesus or any other stand-in for religion.  “I just said, I don’t have a boyfriend.”

“Fine. If you DID have a boyfriend, I’d want to know his name and meet him.  Meet his parents. Make sure his bona fides check out.  And he better treat you well and be smart, too,” says Mom.

“Mom, that’s so offensive.  He can be nice and not be the smartest kid and that’d be ok!”

“I don’t want you to be attracted to someone just for his dreamy eyes.”

Third emphatic adolescent roll of eyes.

Papa chimes in at this point, attempting to come to his dear daughter’s rescue. “I think we should change the subject.”

“No.  Chloe brought it up and I’d like to finish our conversation,” says Mom, trying to put her serious Mom face on, but failing pretty miserably. “If you had a boyfriend, I hope that you’d let us know and come to us for support.  What in the hell do couples do together anyway in 7th grade?  We really need to define what a boyfriend is at your age.”

“I don’t know, Mom.  We’ve talked about this a million times. I don’t have any friends who have boyfriends.  But there are a lot more couples in school this year than I thought.”

“When I was your age, there were very few couples.  I don’t remember any.  We all just hung out together. Seriously, though, I’d really like to know how these precocious classmates of yours spend their time.  You’re all so young,” says Mom, attempting to sound cool but starting to feel a little nauseous about her daughter’s upcoming 13th birthday.

“Mom, you are so annoying!” exclaims Chloe, unsure whether to roll her eyes again or just laugh.  She chooses the latter.

“No revealing selfies. No sexting. Don’t get too attached. You should just have fun because you’re too young to have a serious relationship.  I wouldn’t want you to get all lovey-dovey and hurt because at your age it won’t last,” Mom rambles on, eyes wide, increasingly panicked at the thought of her oldest  child sucking face with a pimply, pubescent boy.

“Ugh! Give me some credit, Mom. Now I’m not sure I’m going to tell you when I have a boyfriend.” Chloe always knows which buttons to push.

Mom panics some more, realizing that her lame attempts at sarcasm and humor are failing miserably.  Mom changes her tone. “Seriously, Chloe. We would support you and be happy for you and encourage you to talk to us about him.”  Not content to leave it at that, Mom pushes on.  “Are you sure you don’t have a boyfriend?”

Fourth emphatic adolescent roll of eyes.  “You’re so annoying!”

Mom silently stares at her oldest daughter who will soon be using the dreaded “teen” suffix when announcing her age.  “Shit, we’re screwed,” Mom mumbles to herself.

8-year old Sophie, who is until that point bored by the conversation, suddenly chimes in. “Ooh, Mommy said a curse word!”

Ignoring her younger sister, Chloe turns to look at her mom. “Have some faith, Mom.  I’m smart.  And maybe I’ll tell you when I have a boyfriend, but maybe I won’t.  You’ll just have to wait and see,” says Chloe with laughing eyes and a sly smile on her face.

Mom returns to playing Hangman with her little Sophie. It’s safe for her there.  Fade out.


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