When my daughter was three, she told everyone they were hot.
The greatest joy in a young parent’s life is the moment their child is able to talk. I am no different. I remember the day I realized she wasn’t making baby noises when her mother, or I walked into the room, she was greeting us. If I walked in the room she would smile, and let out an overly long “Hey!” For her mother, she would let out a higher pitched, “Hi!” Neither of us knows how long she had been doing this, we thought it was just noises, when in fact she was greeting us the same way we greeted her. It is one of my favorite memories.
Eventually, she started talking more. It was exciting to see her personality develop even more. Raising a child is the only time you truly love someone before you know who they are. So, everything my daughter said was amazing, for a while.
On some fateful day, she picked up the fact that everyone was using the phrase, “That’s hot!” Before I could do anything to stop it, Lexi was doing the same thing. Everything was hot. I rolled my eyes, but I ignored it hoping the habit would fade.
A few weeks later, we were in an electronics store looking around. Lexi ran ahead of me, and before I could grab her, she was standing inches away from an elderly black woman. She was standing right in front of the DVDs the woman was trying to look at, and before I could grab her she started pointing at the woman’s face.
“You’re hot!” Lexi said, like a Californian valley girl.
“Thank you sweetie.” The woman replied.
“No, you’re hot!”
“Aww, how sweet!”
“You’re hot! You’re hot!” Lexi began repeating as if the woman had a hearing problem. I don’t know what she thought chanting at the poor woman would do exactly, but she started bouncing up & down as she chanted.
“You’re hot! You’re hot!” Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
I grabbed Lexi in the middle of her awkward social ritual. I apologized, and told the woman to have a nice day as I rushed off.
“But Daddy she’s hot! She’s hot!” Lexi protested.
“Okay, Lex I get it! She’s hot. Now be quiet.” I said, hurrying far away from anyone who could be considered hot.
If that were the only time it happened I would’ve been deliriously happy, unfortunately it was not. Lexi shares a trait I have, an almost compulsive need to repeat things. I, however, have had years of practice to refrain from saying the same word over & over. Lexi was just three years old and severely lacking experience.
The next time it happened, we were in an absurdly long line waiting to get nachos. We stood patiently waiting to place our order, occasionally moving out of the way for people leaving, or finding seats. A female employee was walking by so I moved out of the way. To my horror Lexi did not move, she just stared up at the girl, and got the same look in her eye she had when she confronted the elderly woman at the electronics store. I had to stop this little heathen before she could start her primitive hotness chant.
“Move out of the way Lex…Lexi move out of the way.” I begged as I tried grabbing for her hand unsuccessfully.
“Hey! You’re hot!” She said.
“Oh Jesus, Lexi come here now please.” I begged.
“Thank you. She is so cute.” The girl said, as she walked around my belligerent child.
“Thanks.” I replied, ignoring my daughter, who had begun her chant bounce ritual.
“Hot, you’re hot. You are hot.” Bounce. Bounce.
“Lex, stop it. You need to settle down, or no nachos.” Saying this hurt me more than it did her. I love nachos.
After a few minutes we were able to place our order, and leave. I was so happy. First, I had nachos. Second, Lexi could chant her silly “you’re hot” chant as much as she wanted to firmly strapped into her car seat. Plus, this incident had irritated me. I decided I needed to talk to my daughter.
“Lexi, why did you say that to the girl in the store?” I asked.
“She was hot Daddy.” She said simply.
“No, she wasn’t Lexi. Women don’t have thicker mustaches than daddy does.”
“Daddy she was hot.” She insisted.
“Do you know what hot means? Do you mean pretty or hot like fire?”
“Uh…then you have no clue what pretty is.”
“Dad-dy!” she said in the sing-song way you talk when someone is telling a joke.
I gave up in that moment. I was afraid to say too much. I have always believed that everyone is attractive in their own way, or at least, attractive to someone. I pictured my daughter one day bringing home an ugly girl with a walrus mustache, and introducing her as her girlfriend. It wasn’t the thought of her bringing home a girl that bothered me, but bringing someone home whose appearance made me feel queasy did. I could only hope her judgment was due to the fact she still had a baby brain, and not that she had shitty personal taste.
This phase continued for the better part of a year. We would be in a random public place. Lexi would decide who in eyesight was hot, and then bounce, bounce, bounce, “You’re hot. You’re hot.” It was impossible to go anywhere without the fear that awkwardness would suddenly burst forth from my daughter. In addition to the chanting, Lexi now would try to include me into her sick behavior, “Isn’t she hot Daddy? Isn’t she hot? Tell her she’s hot!” My three-year old had become the worst wingman ever.
Eventually, I had become so used to Lexi spouting her random silliness that I stopped freaking out. One day, we were standing in line at another fast food place to buy her chicken nuggets. I barely paid attention as she started talking to the people in front of us. I focused on the menu so she wouldn’t pull me into her twisted scenario again. I heard everything though.
“Oh my goodness, I love your outfits. You both are hot! Dad! Daddy, look aren’t they hot?” Lexi said, forcing me to interact with her victims.
I slowly pulled my gaze from the dollar menu. I hoped this would be over quick, but when I finally looked forward I saw two attractive girls in cheerleader outfits. I shook my head in case I was seeing a mirage induced by sleep deprivation. Nope, there were two attractive girls in cheerleader outfits standing, and gushing over how cute my little girl was.
“Aren’t they hot Daddy? Look at their outfits. You’re both beautiful.” Lexi said, working the room.
“Uh, yeah, they are hot.” I said confused.
As the girls walked away Lexi waved shyly. I ordered our food, and we left. I was in complete & utter shock. After years of telling the oddest looking people they were hot, Lexi actually told hot people they were hot. I was baffled.
“Lexi, you said those two girls were hot.” I stated.
“Yeah, they were hot.” She said.
“That’s the first time you ever said that to anyone hot.”
“Daddy…” She started arguing.
“No, that’s good, but next time it happens make sure the hot people are over eighteen. That way Daddy doesn’t seem creepy.” I said to my future wingman.
I realized over time Lexi was actually trying to introduce me to women. She would sometimes introduce me as “Daddy. He doesn’t have a girlfriend.” Other times, she would make me fold a napkin like a tie, and tell me that now that I was fancy enough I could ask someone on a date. It makes me smile to know that my daughter even at three was so focused on me being happy. I am sure the fact that I have only been in one relationship other than her mother her entire life concerns her. Especially since most the adults in her life have a significant other, while I have been single most of her life.
One day maybe if I find someone who is agreeable to dating me I will just tell them what I think.
“You’re hot! You’re hot!” Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.