My Toddlerâ€™s Scar Wonâ€™t Affect Her Dating Prospects, But Thanks For Asking
When I was young, part of the excitement of getting to know a boyfriend was discovering all hisâ€¦ distinguishing features. Iâ€™d run my finger along his brow and hear about the hockey puck to the forehead. Or notice a gap where the facial hair didnâ€™t grow, the product of a chin launched into a coffee table. Whatever didnâ€™t kill a young boy, it seemed, made him sexier to some hormonal young woman later in life.
Can the same be said when the genders are reversed? I canâ€™t say I had any scars with which to experiment (I was a klutz, but this I remedied by simply not doing much of anything). Still, something tells me thereâ€™s a double standard in the department of hard, and visible, knocks.
I might have mentioned before in this space that my younger daughter has inherited my inability to meet a glass door I didnâ€™t walk into nose first. Just shy of 2 years old, she ended up in the ER with a slice through the end of her nose deep enough to require stitches and wide enough to require 10 of them, from nostril to nostril. She took it like a champ â€“ far better than her parents â€“ even though she looked like someone whoâ€™d been knocked out by one.
Once weâ€™d been discharged from the hospital, the shock had worn off and weâ€™d come to grips with the long year of nose-maintenance ahead, my husband came clean with a concern heâ€™d been until then suppressing: what happens when she starts dating?
My History of Feminist Literature tutorial notes flashed before my eyes. Would a concerned father of a 2-year-old boy with a scale of piano keys on his nose worry that heâ€™d just tucked a future John Merrick into bed?
Let me just say that my daughter â€“ and we, as a result â€“ is lucky. Sheâ€™s beautiful and sassy and everything a boy or girl would want, whether as a partner in the sandbox or in life. Over 18 months her wound has gone from something that would earn a Hollywood makeup artist an Oscar nomination to a hairline streak only a cosmetic surgeon would notice.
But my husband was not the only man â€“ and it was always, I hate to say, a man â€“ who has sounded the alarm. Close relatives, a neighbor, even her own doctor have cautioned us that her scar might cause problems when she becomes, you know, a woman.
Their words are ancient history to me now. And unless the sun is beating down (of which, in the UK this summer, there is no risk) and Iâ€™m armed with sunscreen in my mommy holster, so is the scar. But I was reminded of their gallant concern when a friend of my daughterâ€™s recently endured a tragic run-in with some boiling tea, which left a horrible burn on an area of her body women tend only to reveal in privileged company.
And guess what? It came up again, in barely audible school-gate gossip. Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, intimate, rhubarb, rhubarb, bikini, rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, relationship.
As if girls these days didnâ€™t have enough of their parentsâ€™ baggage to unpack.
Iâ€™ll put this one in the â€œWorry about your own dating prospectsâ€ file â€“ my husband included. Not that I donâ€™t see where heâ€™s coming from. Iâ€™m just not ready to burn my collection of Virginia Woolf paperbacks quite yet.
Anyway, considering her penchant for getting appendages stuck where they donâ€™t belong, weâ€™ll have bigger stitches to stew over before she turns sweet 16.
(Photo: Olga Sapegina/Shutterstock)