Donna, my friend
Henry, her husband
The Girl, Donna’s 14 year old daughter
The Boy, The Girl’s similarly aged (15, iirc) boyfriend
Henry texted his step-daugher’s boyfriend the other day. I know this because The Boy showed the texts to Donna and she texted me last night asking for advice about it. Here are some quotes from our conversation:
Me, after being told Henry was asking The Boy “all kinds of inappropriate things”: “What’s he asking?”
Donna: “If The Girl has ever given him a handy until he came. If he thinks about her when he jacks off.”
A little later into the conversation, Donna: “[Henry] was like I just want you to be safe. It’s safer to use your hand. Oh! I heard you have a small wiener anyway.”
Throughout this text conversation this man was having with this boy, he maintained that he was simply concerned about the safety of these two kids.
Here’s the thing, though: Donna has a tendency to ignore things she can’t handle or doesn’t want to face. For example, her marriage is a wreck. She knows it, I know it, everybody knows it. But she’s the happiest wife this side of Denver most of the time. When she’s pissed at him she’ll bitch that she hasn’t been happy since they’ve been married, and the kids are a mess, and he treats his bio daughter better than his step, and he’s gay because he looks at gay porn and deletes the internet history and she doesn’t trust him at all, and she hates everything and blahblah. I get a lot of “fml” texts from her. But, most of the time, everything is sunshine and roses at her house. It’s a really sick denial that I think the whole family is engaged in. One of her texts last night even admitted that the two of them are “really good at sweeping things under the rug.”
So anyway, it wasn’t at all surprising when I got this text from her: “My gut tells me he didn’t do it to be creepy. Like he honestly wanted to know what has happened between them.”
Which, IMO, is inherently creepy anyway, even if he wasn’t being disgusting about it.
And I told her that’s bullshit because if he’s concerned about what happened between the two of them, or their safety, how are The Boy’s masturbatory fantasies relevant? And what’s with commenting on his size? That he would talk to a boy like that about a girl he has practically raised is deeply disturbing. And I told her that he (and she, if she wants to) can hand-wave it away as being totally innocent parental concern but it’s not. So she asked me, “What is it then?” And I told her, at best, it means her husband is socially retarded in the extreme and a terrible dad and, at worst, he belongs on a list somewhere.
And then I ended the conversation with her with this: “Hey, what do you think your gut would tell you if The Boy’s dad texted The Girl and asked her if The Boy has ever fingered her until she came, or whether she thinks of him when she masturbates, or commented on the tightness of her vagina, and then tried to say that he just wanted them to be safe?”
And the only thing I know as of this morning is that she must have an awful lot of sand in her hair because she managed to go ALL NIGHT having not addressed this AT ALL.
So here are my thoughts. 1) The guy is a total creeper. Honestly, the whole thing grosses me out but especially the comments about the kid’s size because you know what I imagine happening next? “Prove to me that you DON’T have a small wiener.” And then escalation from there. 2) I have three boys (and one less babysitter option now). If my son showed me text messages like that, Henry could consider himself the luckiest son of a bitch alive that it was only the police knocking on his door. But is it actually a crime? It should be, but without images or explicit intent (like, actual solicitation of sex), is it? 3) If Henry were my husband, I don’t think I would have given him a chance to explain (which, of course, she hasn’t done either) because, really, how the fuck to you explain asking a teenager about their masturbating habits? Or specific sex acts they’ve engaged in and the results of those acts?
This is what I expect to happen with my friend, because I was really candid about my disgust about the whole thing, I pointed out that she’s a goddamned mandated reporter (and, even if it isn’t technically illegal, it’s still disturbing as hell), and, when she asked what I would do, I told her I would leave and give him a number he can call to set up supervised visits with the kids: she’s never going to talk to me again. I’m actually okay with that because her husband is whiny and jealous and a huge manipulative prick and she doesn’t really get to do anything without him anyway and I have no interest in being around him. I really think she’ll be embarrassed at having done nothing at all about this so, rather than just telling me that she never did anything at all, she’ll avoid me.
Am I insane? Is this just not a big deal and I’m blowing it way out of proportion? Is there something I’m missing, something that makes any of this appropriate? Is it even remotely possible that he really is just concerned about the safety of his step-daughter and her friend? Or is this guy a disgusting pedo creep and I should get off the internet and call the sheriff’s department myself? Something in between? Because, really, she didn’t seem terribly concerned about it and referred to it as “weird” and “not his business” rather than really disturbing and shocking and unacceptable.
TL;DR version: My friend’s husband had an inappropriate conversation of a sexual nature with a minor child via text message. On a scale of “omg, I just threw up in mouth a little” to “15-25 years in a secure facility”, how bad is it really?