What if I said something like, "Check out those legs!" or "Look at that sweet ass!" or "Nice rack!"?
How about if I said something crude, like, "I've got a big hard-on from staring at those tits," or, "I really want to fuck that girl"?
Another question. What if my son was to say any of those things to me, how enthusiastically should I respond? Would, "Yeah, I really want to fuck her too!" be OK?
I never had those kinds of conversations with my father. I never wanted to. As far as I was concerned, the more emotional distance between us, the better.
I don't know what a typical father/teenage son relationship is like these days when it comes to openly talking about desire. What if my son was 17? Or 15? Or 13? How much should his age affect my openness?
Once, a year ago, when my son was 19, he said to me, "Dad! Check out that girl!"
I didn't know how to respond, for a few reasons. First, I was driving and literally didn't see the girl. Second, it often feels weird to me to ogle women, especially very young women. And third, I was uncomfortable with my son's openness. I felt like he was still at an age where he needed a father, not a buddy.
He knows I'm not straight and he claims to be bisexual (although I've never seen any indication that he's attracted to men, ever, in any way), so theoretically we could talk about both men and women....but I don't know...being that open, even about women, feels highly inappropriate.
I've also recently had a few awkward conversations with my 14 year old daughter about desire.
She's not one of those screechy early teen girls who "LOVES!!!!" Justin Bieber or Harry Styles. She's actually a little dark and sarcastic. One subject she talks about endlessly is the TV show "The Originals" which is a (horrible) spin-off of the (equally horrible) show "The Vampire Dairies." Interestingly, what she likes to talk about the most is how badly the 1,000 year-old vampire brothers and sisters treat each other.
Her favorite actor is Daniel Gillies. A few weeks ago, as she was talking about him, she showed me his picture and asked if I thought he was good-looking. The question caught me off-guard. She'd never asked me anything like that before. Mostly she prattles on (and on....and on...) about the characters on the show, not how they look. I tried not to pause or flinch or blush or do anything that wasn't father-like. Instead I gave her a very matter-of-fact, "Yes, he's good-looking."
Then she showed me a picture of a woman from the show that I know she despises, Phoebe Tonkin.
I answered my daughter, "Yes, she's very good looking."
I wanted to be equally matter-of-fact about her as I was about Daniel. That's how dad's are supposed to be, right? Balanced and diplomatic.
Fortunately, my daughter's game of "Is this person good-looking?" ended there, which was a huge relief. It would have been torture to dead-pan/be matter-of-fact about 10 or 20 different people.
Another awkward conversation happened just the other day. With Valentine's Day coming up, my daughter decided to give me a lecture about how empty and pathetic my life is. I've heard her lecture several times before, I know the drill. Or so I thought.
This time, she really shocked me when she asked, quite energetically,
"When's the last time you got laid, Dad?"
What the...?????? Did my daughter really just ask me that question??
That time I flinched...and paused...and blushed.
What kind of 14 year old girl would ask her father that question??!
The one I'm raising, apparently.
Needless to say, dear old dad wasn't about to go down that path. Once I recovered from the shock, I gave her a disapproving look and said nothing.
The kid is a relentless broken record, however. I just know it's only going to be matter of time before she asks me again.
Ah, the endless joy of being a single parent...
I'm curious about what others' experiences have been when it comes to talking about desire with close family members, especially between parents and their teenagers. Please share your thoughts or experiences below: