Sunday, June 16, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on December 3rd, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 39

Tears of a clown

Krider attempts to decipher the meanings of female emotions


I have a teenage daughter in high school. Yes, thank you for your condolences. With a teenage girl around there are a lot of crazy emotions bouncing off the walls of my house at all times. Having a young lady as a resident of the household has made being a parent suddenly quite difficult.

Not that parenthood was ever easy, but it was certainly emotionally easier when the kids wore diapers versus when they wear Miss Me jeans. Sure, diapers were dirty, but that was a mess a simple baby wipe could clean up. Emotional messes are much tougher to clean and unfortunately they don’t sell a box of disposable wipes at the store to solve these sorts of problems. 

My usual go-to move of “child rearing through sarcasm” has proven to be too volatile a method with a teenage girl. Tears seem to be a daily occurrence at my house, and untimely sarcastic comments from dad, like, “What’s the matter? Did Walmart run out of mascara?” only seem to fuel the female fire. And where there’s fire, there must be water, thus the tears start to flow.

I’m not exactly sure why there are so many tears because my teenage daughter’s 21st century air-conditioned, middle-class digital life has almost every creature comfort available to humankind (I know because I’ve spent the last 14 years of my life spoiling her to death). I see my daughter’s existence as pretty easy and convenient. Obviously, based on the amount of tears, she does not see her life the same way. She sees her existence as pretty tough. 

She has boys to balance with her studies, and numerous hairstyle choices to wake up early to maintain. She says she has to watch calories. She has her social life to advance, her social-media life to protect (a 24/7 job), her “selfies” to Photoshop before they go on Instagram, and the final decision to make on her toenail color before cheer practice. To her, dealing with all of these forces makes her life difficult. Using a more global view, I think slavery was difficult. I think a woman traveling out west to a gold mining camp in a horse-drawn wagon back in 1850 was probably difficult. I don’t see how using an app on an iPhone to find out the best price of some Miss Me jeans (complete with rhinestones on the butt) makes for a complicated or difficult life. It certainly doesn’t seem like a reason to cry. Regardless of what I think, my daughter still cries. In fact, making statements like, “Don’t you think Anne Frank had it a bit more difficult when she was a teenage girl?” only causes my daughter to cry more.

Yes, her tears may be somewhat my fault since I am an uncool dad with a sarcastic mouth and an insensitive sense of humor, and who obviously doesn’t comprehend the difficulties of being a teenage girl. But even without all of that, it seems that teenage girls don’t need an actual reason to cry. Physiologically they are just required to cry about six times a day to keep their eyes damp. I have a theory that teenage girl crying is a reaction to excessive eye makeup. Maybe 14-year-old girls, who wear 85 percent of the world’s mascara, need to constantly cry to keep their eyeballs from drying out. Regardless of the reasons for the tears—makeup blockage or dumb sarcastic comments from dad—if I ask my daughter why she’s crying (because deep down I actually do care), I get my head chewed off. This creates interesting dinners at my house.

The other evening after we ate, I asked, “Honey, could you finish rinsing the dishes?” 

The response I got was wet eyes and, “Do you even know what I am dealing with right now?”

“A half empty plate of spaghetti?”

“You don’t know what it’s like to be me!”

“I know what it’s like to eat on clean dishes. That’s all I’m really looking for right now.”

“You wouldn’t understand!”

“Well, help me understand. I’m your dad. I’m required to be understanding.”

“I can’t tell you because you DON’T UNDERSTAND!”

With circular arguing like that, I obviously don’t understand.  Probably because I’m a man, the synonym for “a reasonable person.” To get help, I luckily know someone who is an unreasonable person who can help. She is a woman, and I call her my wife, whom I love. I figured it was her turn to try to figure out why our daughter was crying so much. After all, my wife is one of those female creatures, just like my daughter, which means they should be able to communicate.

Personally I have always found women to be extremely difficult to communicate with. I assumed it was a gender thing and I just wasn’t equipped to read the minds of women (usually I just guess … wrongly).  So I figured my wife and my daughter could use their secret code to communicate, whatever method that might be, maybe ovarian telepathy.  I was hoping my wife could fix the waterworks with my daughter, but after 10 minutes I realized there is no secret female code, unless that secret code happens to be yelling at the top of their lungs and slamming doors. It did not go well.  

I found my wife sitting in our bedroom, staring at the walls. She looked like she had just lost a war. I gently asked her how it went.

“She’s fine. She just needs her space, that’s all.”

“Really, that’s your solution? If we give her space, we don’t know what’s going on with her.”

“Stop trying to fix everything. You’re such a man sometimes. Our daughter isn’t a mechanical thing. You can’t fix her in five minutes with your toolbox. She just needs to cry.”

“What do you mean? How long will this crying go on? Until she falls asleep tonight?”

“Seven more years,” my wife announced. “It will go on until she’s 21.”

And then my wife started to cry.


Rob started the car, grabbed his son, and drove absolutely nowhere, just to give the ladies their space. Contact him through the executive editor at

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Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

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