This past weekend I took a trip to Myrtle Beach with 13 of my friends. Friends I have known for almost 30 years. I will have a story about them once the statute of limitations expire and I won’t incriminate anyone. But, for this, I wanted to write about one of the nights there and how my life has changed because of my 14 year old daughter, or as I call her, the “convenient feminist”.
I joke with her and call her that because she is a feminist when it fits into her life. Like, I am guessing most 14 year old girls are. She is a super opinionated girl about lots of worldly topics. She is my favorite person on earth to argue with, even if I ultimately agree with her point of view I challenge her and fight for the other side. I live for these discussions, and nothing is off limits. Recently, we have been discussing abortion. She is incredibly passionate about her rights as a woman and feels very strongly about being pro-choice. And, while I completely agree with her, I talk to her about how I grew up in a pro-life household because of my grandfather. My grandfather was an incredibly gifted doctor. But, his religious beliefs were centered around being Pro-life and fighting for the unborn. I really wish he was still alive to have these discussions with my strong willed little girl. They would have loved to argue. Both very intelligent, talented people, I would have paid money to see them just sit and talk with each other.
So, I grew up pro-life, but as I got older and I was surrounded by more and more women I changed by view and became pro-choice. So, when my daughter brings up a topic on abortion I do tell her that and I tell her that not all people have people in their lives like her that can help change peoples minds. Just recently, we were watching a story about WWII and how those who fought were heroes. So, I asked her if they are heroes but they believe in pro-life do we weigh their opinion more because they fought for our freedom. She thought about it, and said “they can be heroes, but they can also be wrong”. I loved the way she could see them in both lights.
Never in my life did I think I would be able to discuss abortion with my kids. This wasn’t in any of the books I read about being the Dad of two girls. Maybe I will have to rewrite that book someday.
One of the nights in Myrtle beach we went to a bar, called The Bowery. It was a “redneck” bar in every sense of the word. It looked like it was directly out of the movie Road House. The stage up front even had plexiglass to cover the drummer from getting hit with flying beers or whatever else you could throw at him. The bar only served one type of beer in these big giant mugs and everyone in there was dressed in some type of country clothes. The band played lots and lots of Sweet Home Alabama and Tennesseee Whisky and the singer had beer chugging contest and yelled about how he loved being a redneck. It was actually a very good time. Even though, all of us idiots dressed in our golf gear, polo shirt, khaki style shorts looked completely out of place. At one point my buddy said that his shirt might as well say “I’m a DEMOCRATE”. But what hit me was a one point I looked at the display at the bar and they were selling lots of little items with the confederate flag on them. I immediately thought of my 14 year old daughter at home and how she would have lost her mind. I could not wait to get home to talk with her about it. About if it was okay I was having fun in there. Was it okay to have fun in a place that celebrated that flag?
That same night one of my friends and I also went to a black or urban club. Not sure what the correct term for it is, but we had a blast in there. I thought it was funny we went from a redneck place to an urban one, and again I thought of my daughter and wished she was here with me to see all of this. Wishing I could talk to her about how I was seeing so many different cultures. And then, well, things got a little more interesting. That same friend and I stumbled into another bar. I went the bathroom and when I came back I saw my buddy talking to these two guys. As it turns out, they were a gay couple. So, I walked over and jumped into the conversation. It was a really fun time. But, neither of us even noticed we were at a gay bar. We were just having fun. Having a really fun conversation with these guys, until they started to aggressively hit on us and we had to get out of there. As we walked out my buddy said to me “that was almost the most action either of us have ever gotten on a golf trip”.
So, on one night I went to a redneck bar, a black bar, and a gay bar. All I could think of, after getting rid of the hangover, was talking to my little convenient feminist daughter and telling her all about it. Explaining to her about how I could be President now that I saw all those different environments. How I had fun in each of those places, how while we are all different, we all want lots of the same things. We all want the same freedoms to just be ourselves. And how her Dad was still getting hit on at the age of 39, although it was from two gay gentlemen.
I have great relationships with my kids and we have different things we connect on. But, I love that they open my eyes to see the world differently. They aren’t just like me. My 14 year old feminist is exactly what I need in my life to balance me out, to ensure whatever sexist thought I had are completely erased. I swear it is her mission in life to make sure men and women are treated completely equal and she has been using me as her first convert since the day she started talking.
I go away for a weekend of drinking and debauchery with my friends and all I can think of is how cool that night was and how I wish she was here with me to see all that cool stuff. She’ll grow up to be successful and I’ll always be her biggest fan, and I feel bad for all the other men in this world once she is on a big enough platform to change this world. They have no idea how powerful this girl is.