Loving Cinderella, Hoping to Avoid Skin-derella

Photo: Jon Finkel
Photo: Jon Finkel

My daughter is almost one-and-a-half and this week we enjoyed her first real Halloween. She wore her Cinderella dress and we even had the dog dressed up as her four-legged pumpkin stagecoach. The night started innocently enough: pictures, meeting up with neighbors, checking out the other little kids’ costumes…. In fact, the hour or so of trick-or-treating in daylight was near perfect.

It was only when the sun went down, and the teenagers came out, that my thoughts turned from jubilation to hesitation as the ratio of little girls dressed as Tinker Bell or Snow White slowly gave way to teen girls dressed as Miami Heat dancers, Rihanna, and a costume I like to call “just-something-skimpy-and-tight-that-allows-me-to-show-my-newfound-cleavage-to-drooling-9th-grade-boys”.

Don’t get me wrong. When I was 14, this was exactly why I loved Halloween. Candy was great, but to my raging hormones, girls dressed in minimal clothing was even better. If I’m being honest, this was also the reason I loved Halloween in high school, college, through my twenties and right up until I had my daughter. These days, I’d prefer that all teenage girls go as sleeping bags; just a nice, big, bulky bag with one hole for their head and two for their feet. This way, I don’t have to think about the inevitable: that my cute, adorable daughter, who likes dresses and flowers, will one day leave the house on Halloween wearing a costume that has the express purpose of making some freshman dude in high school want to make out with her — or worse.

Am I jumping the gun about a dozen years? Absolutely. Is there anything I can do to stop it? Nope.

But it doesn’t mean that I have to like it. And it doesn’t mean that when a group of 16-year-old girls dressed in super tight tank tops and five-inch shorts (a “volleyball team”, evidently) knock on my door, call me “sir”, and tell me that that my daughter is “sooooo cuuuute”, while a group of their male classmates, wearing their football jerseys going as, you guessed it, football players, slink behind them, staring at their young bodies and thinking every dirty thought in the book, that my mind doesn’t flash forward a decade-and-a-half to what I’ll eventually be dealing with. The worst part? I know what’s going on in these guy’s minds because I was one of these guys. And now the tables are turned, and as this thought creeps into my my mind, I look down and realize that my daughter hasn’t noticed their costumes at all.

In fact, she hasn’t even noticed the girls. Instead, she’s putting a fully wrapped Three Musketeers bar in her mouth and smiling, which makes me smile, because even though the thought of my daughter wanting to dress as a Playmate for Halloween is a moment I’m not looking forward to, that moment is still a long way away…and for now, I’ll just enjoy her being, to borrow a phrase from the mini-Misty May, “sooooo cuuuute”.

Do you ever dread your baby’s teenage years?