About Me, My Childhood

Fathers, Brothers, Lobster Hats, and Polaroids…

…the Recipe for Embarrassment.

What follows is truly an embarrassing story. One of those events in my life that I, at the time, wished would end in my death, rather than proceed. But – I look back on it now and laugh my friggin’ ass off and would NOT trade it for the WORLD. You males may want to stop reading after the first sentence – but don’t. If you have daughters, plan to have daughters, or even nieces or step-daughters, you may want to stick with it so that you are prepared for the horror that may be a girl’s journey into womanhood, and why you should Not Ever Celebrate This Event With Your Daughter/Niece/Stepdaughter/WhateverFemale. EVER.

So – the background: Once upon a time, I got my period. That is really all you need to know. I was 13, and thanked the Lord above it happened on one of the weekends I was at my Mom’s house (I was raised by my Dad, went to Mom’s every other weekend). At the time, my Dad was dating this really cool woman we’ll call N. I liked her a lot. Her daughter was in my class at school, that’s how our parents met.

Okay, so the weekend I became a woman came and went without fanfare. My mom took me to day camp on Monday, and my Dad picked me up that afternoon after work. This is what he said:

Dad: Your mom called me. She told me what happened this weekend. N thinks we should celebrate.
Me: ???

See – my dad and I? We didnt have THAT kind of relationship. I mean, really, what Fathers and Daughters DO? We didnt discuss “girly” stuff. I didnt want to. I was FINE the way things were. But N was very proud of her feminism (which is why I liked her so much) and thought we should celebrate. I knew this was going NOWHERE good. As much as I liked N, I really kind of was wishing, at THAT moment, that she was dating a DIFFERENT girl’s father. I feared what was to come.

So, we go to Red Lobster to “celebrate” with my Dad, N, N’s daughter and my brother. The more I thought: We are going to this restaurant because I started my period. I want to die…the more I really wanted to die. I just kept hoping it would never come up, the actual subject of the celebration. Maybe we’d just eat and go home and we would all KNOW why we went out, but we wouldn’t draw attention to it, right?

Wrong. We get to the restaurant and N (I think it was her) tells them its my BIRTHDAY. Okay. It was NOT my birthday, but now? I have to fake it. They thought this was the best idea ever. I was NOT loving it at all. My brother and my father were loving it about as much as I was. They wanted to die too, I could TELL.

So – do you know what they do for Birthdays at Red Lobster? The put a damn lobster hat on you and sing to you. THEN – they take a polaroid picture of you and give it to you to keep for all of time. Then – the picture ends up at my school with the appropriate description which was NOT “Look at Zoot’s birthday party picture”. So, the whole school, not only KNOWS I’ve gotten my period, but also has a mental image of me in a Lobster hat to go with it. THEN, 15 years later, N’s daughter emails me the picture. And what do I do? I post it on my blog. Because the only way to make sure the embarassing moment lives on – is to share it with the world.

I remember EXACTLY what I was thinking. It was: Go to Hell. All of you. Its not bad enough that I’m celebrating my freakin’ period with my DAD and my BROTHER. No – I am now sitting here, in a public place, with a freakin’ Lobster hat on my head. Also? All of you freakin’ strangers are singing Happy Birthday to me. Go to Hell all of you. We – at this table – all know its NOT my birthday, I just got my freakin’ period. I swear to the Lord God above, if someone hands me a gun right now I will use it to kill everyone involved with this spectacle. And I would feel no guilt. Take the picture NOW asshole before I jump this table and cram this lobster hat down your throat. CHEESE.