When a man becomes my age, we stop looking at our outward selves. More to the point, we avoid mirrors in the way the Wicked Witch of the West runs from showers. You know, why bother? I’ve got no hair to comb, parenthetical citations around my eyes, and crow’s feet tapping dancing upon the sands of my ever widening forehead.
So at my daughter’s urgent behest, we pushed the shopping cart away from the Ruffles and LAYS and moved instead toward the cosmetic’s section. Of course, this was even more of a disaster.
Men have no natural intuition in this realm. The typical male doesn’t know a Loofah brush from a pumice scrub. The closest thing we primates ever have to a guide through the Dante’s Inferno labyrinth of woman’s health products is maybe an ex-girlfriend in the seventh grade who gave us cologne as a Christmas present.
So, as I was standing there, temporarily blinding by the infinite stacks of Panteen Body Washes, Balancing Lotions, and 3 in 1 Foundations, you can only imagine my surprise when my eldest daughter leans over, looks at me with the most earnest face and asks, “Dad, what is sperm?”
Yep. It was the final nail in my coffin. She might as well have had lizards coming out of her ears or a chorus of magical dancing elves doing a jig over her head. I was stunned. Flabbergasted, really. I know she has left the Taiwan school and moved to an American one with American kids. I know this means she’s now light years ahead of most Asian kids in self-discovery, but I had no idea it would come this fast. I was just beginning to appreciate her coming home with colloquialisms like, “Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish” and “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
Sometimes this is even more a quandary. Because how does one know how to do anything? Fall in love? When to fight? Who to hate? When to lie? What constitutes truth? I stepped back from my three daughters whose faces had turned from concern over the impossible task of making their father look human to absolute fear at the thought they wouldn’t be little girls much longer.