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“The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage.” – Garrison Keillor

Warning: The following post may cause men with women in their lives (be it mother, sister, spouse or significant other) to have a flashback to their own experience in this department, and spontaneously curl up in a ball and rock. Reader discretion is advised.

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It shouldn’t have been all that embarrassing, but as a teen, I still remember that it was…shopping with my Dad in not just any aisle. We were at the grocery store picking up a few things for my Mom, and he had followed me to the “pad wall”. You know the area in the grocery store that I’m talking about – The wall of brightly coloured bags and boxes with pretty flowers and symbol coded maxi pads, mini pads, tampons and panty liners. The aisle where few men dare to tread, and those who do look dazed and confused. This was before the advent of cell phones, where men just slowly scan the aisle with their phone directly in front of their eyes, waiting for their wife/girlfriend/significant other to yell “that one – in the green box with the dancing pandas”! As if those pandas have anything to dance about! I don’t blame men for wanting to avoid this aisle – I want to avoid this aisle! I think we can all agree that the options are overwhelming… What sane woman wants to give a monthly misery so much of her precious time and rapidly aging brain cells? Do advertisers really think that little pink rosebuds or unicorns sliding down rainbows somehow makes this better? But I digress…

And yet, there I was…standing in front of the colourful, formidable “pad wall”…with my Dad glued to my side. The overhead lights seemed to get a little brighter and the aisle a little longer. I prayed silently that no one I knew would see me standing there. I was sure that my Dad was just as uncomfortable, as we both shifted our weight to the other foot. I scanned that looming fortress wall looking for the blue package with the Sun symbol on it. And when I spotted it, I was aghast to see that my brand, my little frickin’ ray of sunshine, was on the top shelf, well above my 5’ ½” frame (the ½” is important).

“Ah, Dad?” I asked, staring straight at my Mary Jane’s. “Could you please pass me that one”, still staring at the floor and pointing up.

He gallantly reached up and passed me a pink box with daisies. “Um…” I could feel the heat rising in my face and sweat stains spreading under my arms and down my back. It was time to make a decision time: Man up and ask for the blue one with the little yellow sun, or suck it up, say thanks and face the next embarrassing step in bringing home the sundries.

I manned up, thanked him, and headed to the cashier to check out. My face was still flaming and my vision narrowing as my eyes bored a hole in the scuffed linoleum floor tiles. To this day, I’m amazed that I didn’t spontaneously combust right there on the spot. I might have thought to pray for it to happen if I hadn’t lost my ability to string together two or more words.

The car ride home was very quiet. I don’t know if my Dad was embarrassed or if he even gave it any thought. Some Dads, seeing the deteriorating condition of their daughters, might have taken the opportunity to juggle a few pink boxes, or loudly ask her if she preferred the rainbow pony to the dancing panda bear, or the wild rainforest over the field of dreams scented box. But my Dad was (and always is) a gentleman…even when facing a giant “pad wall”.

“It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” – John Sinor

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This post was prompted by Evil Squirrel’s Nestrecent Friday post, Unadventure Time, wherein he regaled us with a story from his own history in retail. The term “pad wall” caused me to have my own flashback (complete with fetal position and rocking), and now I’ve shared it with you. Don’t you feel special?

Happy Weekend!