Wednesday 22 July 2009

More advice for the parent of teenage children.

Last night I met a guy called Guy.

Remember, I live in France so read that as – last night I met a guy called Gi – but his name is Guy not Gi.

IF this hadn’t been the first time I had met him, IF I had known him better -and he, me - IF he hadn’t been the father of the daughter my son had gone on his date with and IF we hadn’t been heading to the bar to suss each other out - I would have laughed and made a joke.

As it was the situation was rendered more delicate by the fact that a friend is staying who doesn’t speak French and assumed from the sound Gi that we were talking about cheese and became further embroiled when we explained to him that this was guy – because he thought we were saying that this was a guy and he clearly already understood that.

My friend, let’s call him Simone (even though he is neither French nor female) is a playwright and you have to be careful when he is visiting. He has been known to use incidents around him as material for his plays and my kitchen has appeared unfavourably in several questionable episodes.

Usually we try to keep our family tiffs and eccentricities under lock and key when he is visiting and I am hoping that by writing about this first I can lay some copyright claim to the moment, although I suspect that he will weave a better narrative with it than me.

My wife solved the problem by diffusing the moment with a loud chortle and an explanation to Guy (gi) that a guy (not gi) was “mec” in English and Guy (gi) replied that he was a mec and a guy and a Guy.

Simone looked lost.

It would be easy amidst all this to forget what a momentous occasion this was -My son was on a date, I was there too!

When I was a teenager I lived at home too but there the similarities of our coupling history diverge.

We had one phone in the house centrally located next to the living room, adjacent to the kitchen and at the foot of the stairs that led to the bedrooms. It was cunningly surrounded by glass that both amplified all sound and left you visible as well as audible so if any female dared to ring me the entire world knew.

Mobile phones have changed that and now I am often surprised as I wander the local market or festival and my daughter points some beauty out and informs me that ‘that’s loui’s ex”.


That’s the other thing that’s different today – when teenagers go out they don’t “Go Out”. They….. well actually…… I don’t know.

So imagine the shock when I not only KNEW my son had a date, I KNEW the name of the girl, they were really “going out” AND I find myself taking a shower at the same time (and in the same bathroom – that hasn’t changed) as he is brushing his teeth AND shaving.

I confess, “I wonder if it’s serious” was a thought that passed through my mind.

I don’t usually associate washing activity with my son (he holds the unofficial world record for consecutive non-toothbrush activity – a title he surprisingly holds in association with that of unofficial world record toothbrush ownership) so I considered taking a photo.

Worries about possible shower cubicle electrocution stopped me.

My confusion was further heightened when it subsequently turned out that his ‘going out’ was to the same cinema that I was going to.

The fact that it is the ONLY cinema in the forested region where we live clearly had something to do with this.

So as I sat down to watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Commercial Rip –Off, I was somewhat in a state of gleeful anticipation.

Sweetly my son entered the cinema with us and not the girl (she had not arrived) and then confirmed my suspicions that he is from the distant planet Zog by sitting by with us expecting her to appear.

In my last act of parental duty for the evening I gently suggested that he gentlemanly waited outside for her. If procreation ensues at some future date he will thank me for this.

Or at least I will constantly remind him as a doddering senior citizen that it was all down to ME that he found the love of his life.

Now it was time to settle back and deal with the conflicting needs of remaining low profile and gloriously living up to being the stereotypical embarrassing parent.

I was so gobsmacked that he chose to sit with his date NEXT to our family and friend group that I forgot to trip and fall at the front of the auditorium with an overloaded box of popcorn.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince turned out to be such an entertaining romp that awareness of teenage emotions faded to just those on display in celluloid version.

I hope the solitary, helplessly uncontrolled shriek that escaped my tense lips, as the evil disembodied hand reared from the dark waters to grab Harry, does not leave a permanent scar on their budding relationship.

More Advice for the parent of teenage children here.


Anne Hodgson said...

It's quite touching when they want you to meets their favorites.

popps said...

Touching (and a little frightening i found).