I had just turned 18 and I was terrified of the life I had ahead of me.
I was still in my senior year of high school and I had a boyfriend I loved very much, but as soon as I graduated, I was moving to a different state. A state that would be over 900 miles away from the boyfriend I loved very much.
I was a realistic teenager, which looking back, might have been my biggest downfall, because we all know that all being realistic really means is to be negative. I prided myself on not being another stupid teenager that actually believed my high school boyfriend and I would actually last, no matter how much I loved him. So I dumped him.
It turned out I wasn’t nearly as cool, or as strong as I thought I was though, because a few minutes after I had broken his heart, mine shattered too. Most girls would probably call their moms in this situation. I called my dad, and at the time I wasn’t sure why. I loved my mom, and whenever I needed a lap to cry in, I always knew she would be there. But still, I called my dad.
He answered on the second ring. “What’s up, dog?”
He’d always been that way—a cringey, but still somehow endearing dad. His daughter was calling him crying, and completely cluelessly, he just called her ‘dog’. But it’s okay, we can laugh about it now.
Normally I would have even laughed then, but I couldn’t. “Dad,” I cried into the phone as tears soaked my cheeks. “Cory and I broke up.”’
There was an awkward silence that stretched between us. I wonder now if even he had been wondering why I hadn’t called my mom in that moment.
He was a dad after all. And boy talk with his teenage daughter wasn’t a dad’s job.
“Why?” he asked gently.
I cried a little harder. “I don’t know,” I lied. It was because of me, obviously, but I wasn’t about to explain all that. “There’s…there’s something else.”
“What?” he asked, sounding a bit nervous.
“We had sex,” I blurted out.
Still to this day, it is the weirdest thing I have ever chose to blurt out to my dad, and at the time, I had absolutely no idea why I found that information necessary to share with my father.
I cringed as soon as the words left my mouth.
He sure as Hell didn’t want to hear that, right? I was his little girl after all, and we all know how dad’s feel about their baby girls having sex.
“Don’t date until you’re 30.”
“Don’t have sex until you’re 30,” they say too. “No, make it 50.”
“If my daughter brings a boy over, it’s time to get the shot gun out and give it a good clean.”
“Daddies with pretty daughters own guns.”
We’ve all seen our male friends sharing those shameful posts to their Facebook page, haven’t we? We’ve all heard our male family members mutter those phrases out loud at a family gathering before, right?
And when all that finally clicked inside my mind, I understood why I was telling him. I wanted validation from the first man I ever loved. But of course he wouldn’t give that to me, and now all I wanted was to take those words back, but it was too late. I cried after losing my virginity, because society taught me from a very early age that a girl having sex was shameful, and men should protect them from it. I didn’t let my dad protect me from it, and I had just ruined our relationship, I thought.
Biting down on my lower lip until I tasted blood, I sat there quietly, waiting for my dad to respond. A million awful responses rushed through my mind. He was going to be so disappointed in me. He was going to hate me. He was going to think I was disgusting. He was going to hang up on me.
“Dad,” I said out of panic. “Are you still there?”
“Oh Aly…yes I am still here.” He sighed, trying to collect himself. “That’s okay,” he said gently. “Were you safe?”
“Yes,” I replied instantly, nearly out of breath. What? It…it was okay?
“Then that’s all that matters. I love you.”
He said so little that day, and yet somehow it meant everything. He wasn’t ashamed of me, so why had I ever been so ashamed of myself?
I was raised by a man who was strong enough to handle his daughters sex life. He didn’t go out and buy any guns. He didn’t shame me for having completely natural urges. And he didn’t love me any less for being a woman.
And to me, that’s what a real man is. A man who not only loves all the women in his life, but respects them, and then accepts them for exactly who they are.
Oh, and as for that boy I dumped, don’t worry, I broke his heart, but he married me anyway. Which has nothing to do with the story. I just really love to say it.