There is an unsung band of heroes in this world, people who walk on the edge every day of their lives, people who voluntarily place themselves in uncomfortable situations despite the dirty looks, disgusted eye-rolls and a real danger to end up on one of those registered sex offender lists. These people are fathers of girls. You haven’t known shame until you had to hang out by the door of a women’s restroom resisting peeking inside to see if your child is drowning in the toilet. You didn’t know what courage is until you had to ask a random lady to check on your kid who went in the restroom 15 minutes ago and never came out. You haven’t experienced dirty looks until you had to wait while your daughter is trying on a blouse at the dressing room of Forever XXI.
Other parents have it easy: mothers can take boys with them into the ladies’ restroom and no one will run out screaming and start calling police; I don’t even need to mention the other two situations – those are just business as usual. But unless you want to explain at length to your child why are all these men are peeing standing up, bringing a girl to the men’s bathroom is not as optimal as it might seem. Hence the nervous and uncomfortable pacing outside the restroom door, hoping that your daughter will get out alive, undamaged and hopefully with her clothes on.
And that’s just the beginning of your problems. Remember the innocent days when you thought buying feminine hygiene products was embarrassing? Soon you will navigate the tampon aisle like a pro: with the picture of what she needs on your phone you will elbow away diaper-buying old ladies and stay-at-home-moms with shopping carts full of snot-excreting children. You will finally learn the things you have successfully avoided up to this point in your life – which shirtless boys are hot, and discover the existence of beauty products besides shampoo and deodorant.
And that brings me to the misleading title of this post. If you are a straight male over 30 hanging out at Forever XXI or H&M there us nothing you can do to not look like a sex offender. Acting busy? Playing with your phone? Reading? Staring at the floor? Smiling for no reason? That’s exactly what a sex offender would be doing. There is no escaping it, this is the burden you have to carry.
Actually there is one thing you can do – just don’t go into the store. Let your child do the shopping while you are hanging out by one of those smokeless cigarette kiosks at the mall and wait for her to text you when it’s over. Then you just march straight to the cash register with the look of determination on your face, quickly pay and leave.
Because if there is one thing we know about perverts is that they are cheap. Oh, wait ….