The threat down the hall


Anyone who’s met me knows I’m all about supporting women. My first novel’s got a pink cover, for clit’s sake, and its title even features the word girl. Few things give me greater joy than being there for my gal pals and cheering on the sisterhood. I rise, you rise, rising boats and all that shemale shish-kumbaya.

But lately, I’ve been dealing with some stiff sister competition from a place I never expected. And my first instinct is to keep this chick down and put her back in her place.

You see, my daughter is coming into her own as a woman. If I was an anthropologist, it would be adorable to observe. But her imminent postpubescence is threatening my very survival.

It started slowly with her helping herself to my Q-tips, draining the nail polish remover dry. Occasionally, I’d even catch her experimenting with my make-up. Now it’s escalating into a holy war for my razors, my hairbrush, my flat-iron and skin care. Everything I hold sacred as a woman trying not to foist my hot mess unto the world.

As a mom, I long ago accepted that I’d never be able to find the damn scissors, or a shred of desperately needed scotch tape. But this…this…This time, it’s personal.

I get that I’m supposed to lean in, help a sister out or whatever, but when that sister starts helping herself to my $25 Too Faced mascara, it awakens my inner Jennifer Jason Leigh and I want to go all Single White Female on the bitch bogarting my beauty products.

Don't touch my mascara, and no one gets hurt.

These are scary times to have a female roommate, indeed.

I never know if she’s borrowed my razor without telling me ‘til the dulled blade severs my Tibial artery. My summertime updos are destined to be an epic can’t-do because my bobby pins keep disappearing like boats in the Bermuda triangle. Those suckers come, like, a hundred to a pack, and my daughter has left me with exactly two.

Where oh where are the other 98 bobby pins???
What’s she doing with the dang things, moonlighting as a cat burglar who picks locks? Using the bobby pins to pick at her zits? If I was brave enough to open her bedroom door, maybe I’d find them all under her pillow, or somewhere more random. The bottom of her fish tank sounds about right.

My girl has even made the switch from rinsing off begrudgingly “when-we-can-really-smell-her” to daily steam sessions that outlast our hot water heater. God help the rest of us (brrrr!) if we don’t shower before her. And it would take a jackhammer to remove all the Bath & Body Works soap scum shellacked to my brand new stone tiles.

Now that her flow is getting regular, I can kiss my maxi pad stash goodbye. I’m mentally preparing to do like my foremothers did and just bleed into the earth. But the real fear that keeps me up at night is knowing that with summer coming, I’m going to have to teach her how to use a tampon. I just pray there’s a how-to video on the topic –YouTube’s censorship is pretty lapse. Lord knows, my daughter’s watched videos on everything else, from “How to Apply Mom’s Pilfered Mascara So Dad Doesn’t Notice” to “Nail Art That Will Ruin the Kitchen Table For Sure.” Maybe if I check her search history, I’ll solve the mystery of the missing bobby pins.

Moms who’ve been here say that I should embrace her kleptomania and mess. That I’ll miss these days when she’s off to college and out of my house. I’m sure they’re right, I will miss her like mad – but you’d better believe I’m going to search her bags on the way out the door.

Otherwise, who knows what else I’ll be missing.


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