As Chris Rock says, being the parent of a girl means your job is to keep your daughter off the pole.
I think of this a lot when I see Lindsay Lohan.
I was horrified when she was in the remake of THE PARENT TRAP. Compare to Hayley Mills? Are you insane? At nine I thought Hayley Mills was pure genius, and double so when my father temporarily ruined the movie by telling me and my sister Hayley Mills played both parts. “But one’s from CALIFORNIA!!!!!” My father just laughed at us. “Is this TRUE???” We demanded of my mother. “Well of course it’s true, girls, she looks the same, don’t those two characters look the same?” “But they’re…twins?” My father laughed harder. My mother sighed audibly. The kind of sigh that makes you wish you had rethought your argument, perhaps brought up a different movie, like POLLYANNA.
But I caught LiLo’s version on a cross country flight and I have to admit, it was not bad. Lindsay Lohan, actually, was quite good. For eleven.
So it was with rubber necked horror that I watched her transform from sweet red headed and freckle faced girl to the kind of girl you’d smoke cigarettes with in the girls room in junior high.
Still, despite the kinds of scripts she found herself in, she was enigmatic to watch on screen.
And then came the rain. The criminally needy dad, the Long Island stage mom. The boozing, the car crashes the fire crotch love of it all train wreck of a little girl lost career.
So of course I shushed my kids when her mother appeared on Today, blaming the judge, the media, everyone, for the disaster that is her daughter’s current predicament. I thought to myself, if this were my daughter, what would I do? And I thought to myself, this is a question you ask when your kid asks could she have a few friends over, and maybe a beer or two, since it’s Friday night and it’s okay, we’re just going to be inside, it’s just a few friends, please mom? I thought to myself, this is a question you ask when your kid asks, can I have that? And you don’t want her to have that, it’s just been Christmas, her birthday, Easter, the fourth of July, and she doesn’t need that, she has enough, already. I thought to myself, this is a question you ask when your kid says OW! I just feel, and you offer a popsicle, you offer that chocolate chip cookie, you placate and supplicate and your kid takes that cookie, that new toy, that beer, and consumes. And then burns. Way up.
I heard a grandmother in Target the other day say no. To her granddaughter who tried three ways to Sunday to get a Princess and the Frog Barbie out of her. “But I have three dollars coming from—“ NO. “I can clean—“ NO. “How about if I—“ NO. I said no, I mean no.
No voices were raised.
It was all very matter of fact. No Fuck Yous written on finger nails.
I think of Chris Rock and that pole. Lindsay played a stripper in one of her last movies. The needy dad, the stage mom, her brothers and sisters, in order for them to live all this attention that they feel they need, require LiLo to get up on that pole.
Your job as a parent of a girl.