Thoughts from Dr. Joe: A battle he's not going to win

November 02, 2011|By Joe Puglia

Last week I was sitting in my office giving some perspective on dating to three of my female students. It sort of ironic, since I was 19 when I had my first date. That was such a disaster it took me four years to have a second. Nevertheless, I’ve read a few books, so Dr. Joe’s thoughts have a long arm.

Throughout our conversation I had this eerie feeling — like something was about to happen. I hadn’t felt that way since my days of debauchery hanging out in Lucy’s Tiger Den in Bangkok.

Suddenly, I got a call from Kaitzer. “Joe, Sabine has something to tell you.”

A million things raced through my mind: Did she heist an armored truck or join the Marines?

“Daddy, I got asked to the Homecoming dance at LCHS and I said yes!”

This was a declarative statement, and the details had already been worked out with her mom. I’m just a driver schlepping kids around town.


I felt as though I was hit by a cross-town bus. I wished she had joined the Marines.

“Dr. Joe, you OK?” asked one of my students.

“Yeah, sure. That was my daughter telling me she’s going to the Homecoming dance with a boy.”

The girl proclaimed, “How sweet! Who’d you expect her to go with, a giraffe?” she said.

The students thought I was being funny when I said, “Why don’t they have his and her dances?” I was serious. There was nothing sweet about Sabine going to a dance with a boy.

I was raised by a mother hardened by the Depression, a father who once visited France through the beaches of Normandy, and shaped by a grandfather wanted for mayhem throughout Sicily. That makes me old school.

Of course, the occurrence of my eldest daughter’s first date is not something I’ve been anticipating. I am stereotypical of the anxious father who has not crossed the gap between the world of “Ozzie and Harriet” and “High School Musical.”

Before I got into this father business, I thought the last frontier was Alaska. However, each day with children is a new frontier.

I remember my first date. I was a sophomore in college. A friend I called Aunt Marty insisted that I attend the Homecoming dance and she fixed me up with her niece. It took a 30-minute bus ride to pick her up, 30 minutes back to campus, 30 minutes to take her home, and since I missed the last bus, two hours to walk back. And that wasn’t the worst of it.

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