“Phrases You Are Permitted to Use” (or, Comforting Your Daughter: An Instruction Manual)

When I was young I fell in love about once a week, hard and fast and always to boys I had never even spoken to let alone shared eye contact with. I day dreamed about these boys as they walked across the hall in middle school, staring in a just-shy-of-creepy way and feeling that I knew them deep down to the bottom of their souls if I recognized the band name on their t-shirt.

I always knew we would click instantly as soon as I gathered up the courage to say “Hi”.

I imagined all kinds of conversations taking place between me and my rotating roster of loves, and sometimes I even wrote about them. The boy in question would always find me refreshingly witty and I would be mysterious but oh-so-very interesting and we would fall in love for real, go to prom, get married, and live happily ever after. Sometimes there would be a love triangle, tragedy nearly tearing us apart, but true love always triumphed.

What can I say, I was maybe a little strange.

But sometimes my pattern of watching from afar and writing angsty novellas worked and the boy in question actually talked to me. Perhaps because he found my stalking adorable or maybe it was just to ask me whether or not we had any homework. Whatever the reason, when it happened (which it did far more often than I bet you would have guessed) I would blush from head to toe, mumble something inaudible, and speedily walk away in whatever direction was available, even if it was the opposite of where I wanted to go.

And then the highlight? I would go home and watch Gilmore Girls with my Dad, dissecting every moment of the encounter and asking him what he thought I could have done different (“Not run away for a start!” was usually his response).

Naturally this caused some memorable moments between my Dad and me, usually because he said the wrong thing and I ended up frustrated and feeling weird (probably because I was weird more than because of anything he said). It was our ritual.

Then one day in grade 10, to curb these instances of misguided parental advice, I wrote a list of “Phrases You Are Permitted to Use When I Am Upset” and gave this to my Dad.

The list is actually quite impertinent and apparently amused my Dad a great deal.

It also didn’t work as he continued on saying things I should be hearing instead of things I wanted to hear. The jerk.

Still, these chats with my Dad were a big part of my teenage years and I am very grateful for them.

So, without further ado, I give to you dear reader “Phrases You Are Permitted to Use When I Am Upset” (please note these still hold up today).

Phrases You Are Permitted to Use