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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Next Person Who Says My Daughter Is Flirting With Him Will Be Punched

We are out dinner. (I’m on a cooking hiatus. Ask my empty refrigerator.) Next to our table is a trendy woman who is at least seventy (honestly, the entire restaurant is pushing seventy. It’s 5:30 p.m. in a Greek restaurant. Everyone outside is still digesting LUNCH.) She’s fashionable and wrinkly, which I admire.

Until we leave, and she says to my one-year-old daughter: You’ve been flirting with my husband all night.

Why is this an appropriate comment? I HATE IT!

My daughter smiles at EVERYONE. I’m pretty sure the dude in the shiny shirt and blingin’ gold chains got as many looks as your husband. And also the fork that she spent a good five minutes chatting with.

But I just keep walking. (I already got in a fight with a blue pickup truck this week. The sign clearly says: RIGHT LANE CLOSED. But he and fifteen other jerks keep going in the left lane until OH WOW I HAVE TO MERGE. LET’S ALL TAKE TURNS. Um, no. I’ve been waiting here for fifteen extra minutes because the cars in front of me are letting your friends cheat their way into the line. So like any good, grumpy, used-to-have-road-rage, driver, I ride the bumper of the car in front of me. And when the blue truck begins its ascent into my lane, I honk and gesture. Wildly. To the point that he stops. I go on. And the white van behind me? Spends a full minute reenacting the scene and laughing. I’m pretty sure that they were impressed with my moxie. Or afraid for my children. Who are like: WHY DID YOU HONK YOUR HORN? I patiently explained why. And my son said: You shouldn’t do that Mama. You should be happy. {Sigh} But it felt SO GOOD, sweetie!)

Yes, the old lady with giant dentures (seriously.) meant: YOUR DAUGHTER IS ADORABLE.

But the idea that it is somehow cute for my daughter to flirt with your husband now, but in seventeen years, you’d march over to my table and cuss her out for being a hussy seems like, I don’t know, A MIXED MESSAGE?

And the idea of my child making eyes at any grownup and especially at your SEVENTY YEAR OLD MAN is gross. YOU can make eyes at him. THAT’S AWESOME. It gives me HOPE. But my small child? That makes me want to poke your eyeliner eyes out.

I’m not saying that children are asexual lumps of clay. I understand that they are exploring their bodies and minds on every level from very early on. But flirting? Have any idea what to DO with their bodies and body language? NO.

In fact, I think that it irritates me so much because it feels like YOU are sexualizing my children. They clearly aren’t flirting. Are you flirting? Creepy lady in the fabulous dress?

And why is waving and smiling considered flirting anyway? What does that teach us? Our children? Don’t smile? Be mean unless you want to get in my pants? You must WANT SOMETHING if you are friendly?

Maybe I am over-thinking it. Maybe it’s just SOMETHING PEOPLE SAY.

Great! Just say it to that other kid. Because my kids are not flirting with you. And I’m happy to show you just how much they aren’t flirting by gesturing wildly. And possibly honking. Your face.

This post is written by Alex Iwashyna, a happily married mom of two children with a BA in Political Philosophy and a Medical Degree.  She currently spends her days as a stay-at-home mom who writing poetry and blogs.  A much better plan than hers!  She blogs at Late Enough, hangs out on Facebook and tweets @L8enough but be prepared for baby poop and liberal bias


  1. I don't have that sexual connotation on the word "flirt" so perhaps that is why I think it's cute. To me, that word means to be playful, to tease ... I don't think there is anything inherently sexual in nature to it and don't believe anyone means it that way. My son bats his eyelashes at any woman within 10 feet because he loves the cooing and attention he gets, kids are flirty by nature :)

  2. I can definitely understand what you're saying, but I sometimes say it about my own child. Men and women flirt with each other, sometimes with intent, sometimes just for fun. I think kids sometimes are considered flirty just because of the lighthearted ways that they connect with people, strangers, even. I'd chalk it up to the lady and her hubby feeling happy to have a sweet lil one playing with them that way.


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