Let’s Be Honest

The advice I’d give my daughter if I had one.

So, I’ve decided to compose a letter to my future daughter, to give her when she hits the teenage years. I feel I should write it all down now, because when she’s old enough, I’m more likely to barricade her in her room than give her rational advice. Here goes…

‘Dear Charlie [or possibly Madeline – I’m not sure yet].

Hi, it’s Hamish here, but you can call me "Dad". Come to think of it, you probably already do. You’re at that age when boys are no longer pushing you over on the sports fields – they’re trying to talk to you. This is because they want to get their hands on you, my beautiful, special, precious daughter. You may be suspicious about this sudden change in their behaviour (and you’re right to be), which leads me neatly to my first warning:

Common lies used by the male species include "You’re the only one for me", "I’ve never felt this way before" and "Those other girls mean nothing to me." The tricky bit for you is, two percent of the time this will be the truth. (The precise percentage will increasingly frustrate you as your life goes on, but it’ll stop doing so just before you turn to lesbianism.) You might find a guy who appears to be The One or, if not, at least someone who could be in the finals (if dating you were a reality-TV show, which it isn’t). No doubt this punk (sorry) will seem reluctant to lock himself into a relationship. This is because there’s a part in the male brain that fails to appreciate the good thing it has and wants everything else as well. You might have heard the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" but the way that global warming is going, in the future you might not know what grass is. So, let me give you my next bit of advice:

I don’t mean with a knife (leave that to Dad) but with ultimatums. Guys, like crows, will sit on a fence as long as they can until you kick them to one side – don’t be scared to do it. To guys, I mean. Once you are in a relationship, I can guarantee things will be perfect. For at least two weeks. Then you’ll begin to see certain things in your boyfriend that you hadn’t noticed before or (much more likely) things he’s getting sloppier at concealing. They may be big things; they may be little quirks that irritate you. Either way, you now face a tough question: can I change him or should I cut my losses? After seeing many of these cases, I have formulated this specific rule:

What I’m saying is, if a guy were a car, you could change the seat cover, wash it, and maybe give it some cool racing stripes and perhaps a new spoiler. But when it comes to things possibly outside your area of expertise, like the engine, it’s time for a new model. Finally, sweetie, the only thing you really need to remember is this:

They’ll forget about your R2 000 shoe bill when distracted by a R30 steak. Use the basic rules you’d use on a chimp with average intelligence and you’ll go far. Hopefully you’ll find a guy who sweeps you off your feet (like I’m planning to do with your mom).

Best of luck and lots of love, Hamish (Dad).’