I grew up with three sisters. I now have a wife, two daughters and a mother in-law under my roof (technically the MIL is in a flat over the garage, but you know what I mean) – I know a thing or two about girls. Women however? I’m still learning.

Our daughters are nine and seven. Our youngest, Cozette, is very artistic and fashionable. Not ‘popular,’ fashionable, but rather that she interacts with aesthetics in different ways than the rest of us. Her sense of fashion and design is evident in many forms. Anyway, she’s wanted earrings since she was four. I’ve deflected each request with the argument that she’s too young.

Yesterday two of her friends (twins) went to Claire’s and got their ears pierced for their eighth birthday. (Thanks for that, Smithwick.) The rest of the day Cozette had me in a full-court press that would make John Thompson proud. She wanted the damn earrings. Her appeals made me feel powerful. I said no again and again, however, citing that it’s modifying something that’s already perfect, and eventually resorting to ‘they’ll get infected.’ She wrote me a rationale. I said no. Finally, there were tears. But I held firm. No is no.

I don’t like the idea that girls need earrings to make them prettier – so they’ll have more confidence in life. It’s all connected, you see? I want to raise very confident women who don’t have to rely on gimmicks to make it in the world.

“I don’t want them to make me prettier, Daddy. I just like them.”

I know this child. I can’t change who she is. I could try, but she’s stubborn like her mother.

We’re going to Claire’s tomorrow. It could be worse – but, thankfully, her sister could care less.



Jim Mitchem/@smashadv

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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.