Richard W. Reith

(A Father’s Perspective of those “Special Years”)

After writing a poem about the relationship between a father and his daughter, it came to me that far too little research has been done on what REALLY happens during those years we laughingly call “Puberty.” I have conducted exhaustive research involving 122 dads, as well as copious quantities of Jose Cuervo Tequila, and now present this scholarly publication for review.

Most dads go through those years with a look similar to the deer in the headlights. We all come up with our own theories, which fall into three distinct categories. My poll of the fathers interviewed revealed the following:

  • 32.647% subscribe to the IEC theory
  • 19.220% subscribe to the BPD theory
  • 18.177% subscribe to the IAT theory
  • 22.013% gave up trying to figure it out and went on a 6 year drunk
  • 3.956% are still on it.

NOTE: Total does not equal 100. Not because of rounding, but because I was in public school when addition was taught, and in public school grasping the concept is what matters, not getting the right answer.

The IEC Theory

The International Estrogen Conspiracy Theory, to which I am partial, holds that females are always born in pairs, a fact that has been kept from men throughout history. This became a problem in the sixties, when men started actually WANTING to be in the delivery room instead of being off doing manly things, such as sitting in the waiting room with a beer and watching football or going out to hunt mastodon.

The medical community quickly solved this dilemma through the creation of the George the Janitor Robot (GJR). As the baby is born, the ultra-sterile GJR enters the delivery room sweeping up, and while everyone shoos him away (diverting your attention), the other baby is delivered, handed to a nurse who whisks it out of the room and gives it to Aunt Gladys. Everyone has an Aunt Gladys somewhere, who is part of the conspiracy, and who hustles the baby off to a closet in your house where she will remain undetected for at least a decade.

Over the next ten to twelve years, the twin contentedly stays in the closet. (One thing most people don’t know is there really is nothing about anorexia as it relates to body image – it is simply having the good twin squirreling away her food into her napkin to bring up to her twin who, by the age of 12, winds up looking like Mama Cass in a Funhouse Mirror. Meanwhile, the good twin looks like Olive Oyl on the South Beach Diet.)

But I digress.

Sometime during 10-12 years, the “Wide Wonderful World of Estrogen” hits, and the twin in the closet decides to come out now and then. Dads quickly learn the dazed look he must put on, while waiting for his daughter to speak so that he knows if it is the good twin, or the evil twin.

Luckily, sometime in her late teens, the evil twin accidentally gets too much sunlight and, like all vampires, goes back into the dark of the closet, and life can return to normalcy.

(Side Note: In about 1 out of a thousand twin sets, there is an unexplained genetic abnormality with the X chromosome, and it is the evil twin that survives. These are where Goths come from, easily spotted by their Coat-of-Many-Colors hair, black nails, black lipstick, black eye shadow, and makeup by White-Out.)

The BPD Theory

The Bi-Polar Dad theory holds teenage girls are hormonally rock steady, but it is the dad who is all over the map. How better to explain how he can be the most wise man in her life, then suddenly turn into the most clueless creature God has ever breathed life into, in just a week? Or a day. Or an hour? And then back to a wise father again. And then…

Luckily, dads finally snap out of it after a few years, just in time to realize that any guy she dates is a pervert that she needs to be protected from.

She would rather he stayed bi-polar.

The IAT Theory

The Intergalactic Alien Teleportation Theory believes all aliens must spend time on earth in order to understand the human race. They are teleported back and forth, Star Trek style, in a duplicate of your daughters’ body, at regular intervals. They choose this particular time of life because there is less language training needed. All they need is to teach the four wonderful words that put every father at bay… “You… JUST… don’t… un-der-STAND!!!”

Now and then the human needs to come back to the oxygen-rich atmosphere of earth before being teleported back. The aliens likewise must be periodically returned to the helium-rich atmosphere of the holding planet, RO’D IV, where everyone sounds like Donald Duck and all the female aliens look like Rosie O’Donnell. (In the early days of humankind, men were transported too, but they all refused to return…)

No matter what the correct theory, those are years that try dad’s souls. Moms went through it themselves, but for most fathers it comes as a complete surprise.

However, there is one benefit. Having gone through the evil twin period with his daughter, a dad is far better prepared to handle the sequel: