Thursday, June 22, 2006

Parenting of young daughters

As discussed earlier in this blog, I rather like the idea of a mother playing a role in evaluating a young daughter’s potential mate. The mother’s main role is to keep the daughter from making big mistakes, and largely that involves sizing her daughter’s suitor up and evaluating whether he is deceptive or likely to screw her daughter up. The problem with letting a father get involved in this sort of evaluation is that genetically parents have more interest in not allowing the idiosyncrasies of the other parent evaluate a daughter’s potential mate than they do in being true to their own true (also idiosyncratic) self. The tendency would be for each parent to come to a kind of conformist compromise (each parent would forfeit his/her weird parenting tendencies in exchange for the other parent doing so), which would cause skill at evaluating suitors to evolve very slowly in parents. Indeed, such skills can only be selected for by evolution to the extent the skills are actually used, which won’t be the case very much if parents don’t use their own skills to evaluate male sordidness, but just evaluate a male’s sordidness by what conformist opinion is.

Though obviously the girl’s opinion of me matters most, I like the idea (at least in a world with reasonable laws) of not having sex with a girl until her mother is so comfortable with it she can just nonchalantly walk right into the room her daughter and I are having sex in, and as she refills our water glasses or drops off a snack by our bed, feel really good about her decision as she looks at the clean benevolence of me while I am having sex with her daughter.

I can’t really say the idea of a father looking at me at all so carefully does appeal to me at all. But I do feel the father or other male relative should play an important role in parenting. It’s just that the father shouldn’t judge a relationship so much by judging the suitor, but by judging his daughter. When at the dinner table, for instance, he should look at her before and during the relationship, and reassure/protect her according to the extent she looks like she possess/lacks the same snow-like innocence of untouched youth. A good man having sex with a girl overcomes her fears by teaching her what to fear, rather than by making her pretend sex is no big deal. And because he is honest, and because he appreciates and learns from her gracefulness, then shares what he learns, and because sex is such an effective and intimate means of expression (if had for real true other reasons), he will make her if anything even more innocent and clean than she was before. Probably not until the brightness of the innocence of his daughter’s lust for me is so strong it makes her dad squint would I feel ideally I should have sex with her.

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