I'm interested in getting a woman's perspective on this question: I'm a stay-at-home dad, and my preschool-aged daughter loves Disney's "The Little Mermaid". One day while watching it, I idly questioned why if the storm that brings Ariel and Eric together was strong enough to sink his ship but not strong enough to break Ariel's seashell bra. My daughter thought this was a hilarious question and told her mother. Mom found it slightly less amusing. Then when we went camping at the beach a few weeks ago, we found a large, intact clamshell which I joked with my daughter would make a perfect bra if she wanted to play dress-up as Ariel. Now my wife says we have to find a new movie or start telling our daughter stories about Ariel taking calculus while Prince Eric rules his kingdom because she doesn't want Ariel to be our daughter's role model. I agree that a girl needs strong role models (and my daughter need look no further than her mother, who has an engineering Ph.D.), but that is for later when my daughter isn't into princesses and make-believe so much. Plus I think my wife is skeezed out by my comments about a 16-year-old, animated, fictional mermaid's choice of lingerie. Can you settle this for us?
Well, Andy, I was about to notify my long-suffering boyfriend (note how I dropped that, fellas? Sly, right? So much easier than telling you that no, I will not blow you) that you are now on my List, because so many happy hours of my childhood were spent watching and rewatching the The Little Mermaid and yet I NEVER thought about why the seashell bra was so strong! I love that kind of critical thinking! So I read this question and immediately thought, Oh, this guy is awesome. Will bang ASAP.
But about two seconds later it occurred to me: what kind of father reads Deadspin? Or talks about seashell bras with his daughter? Get it together, friend. If she's old enough to find your bra joke funny, she's old enough for you to be emotionally distant. And this sort of daddy-daughter banter is heading down a bad path, honestly. Best to start becoming unavailable now, before she doesn't want a damn thing to do with you. And she won't just as soon as she realizes how fucked up it is that you're even saying the word "bra" to her. It's only a matter of time before her friends tell her they don't want to go to her birthday sleepover because her creepy dad Fritzl will be there.
Jessica Coen is a great writer. (Not just this, the whole page!)