Purity Balls: weird sex talk, disturbing pre-teen ritual, or both?

In general, girls scare me with their Barbie dolls and princess parties. I don’t even know how to braid hair. As a teacher, too many female students exhibited low self-esteem and emotional issues. I once considered adopting a girl, but fears I’d get a shy little thing begging for ballet ultimately stopped me.

Because then I’d have to give her to my mother.

Here’s a daughter dilemma I’m glad to have never addressed: Purity Balls.

Little girls, some as young as seven, get dressed up for a night out with Daddy. They dance, giggle, and enjoy a special date together. At the end of the evening, Princess looks into Papa’s eyes and says: “I pledge to remain sexually pure until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. I know that God requires this of me, that he loves me and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.”

You heard me. Daughters pledge virginity to their fathers.

It gets worse.

Daddy beams with pride and replies: “I, (daughter’s name)’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.”

High priest of the home? Christians kill me.

If I had a daughter, I’d handle sex the way my mother did. (Without that church-sanctioned book she gave me in high school discouraging masturbation.) Mom raised me with a combination of minor religious rhetoric (virginity = good; promiscuity = not so good), health-related talks (VD = gross) and esteem building activities (quality and quantity time encouraging feelings of self-worth).

As a result, my legs stayed closed for more than two decades. My siblings and I never had to pledge promises in front of a crowd.

Mom would have called that inappropriate.

Teaching girls to ward off horny men misses the point. Virginity isn’t a gift for a man – the very thought turns my stomach. “Purity” is something they keep for themselves. Because they’re special and have other shit going on.

Purity Balls will eventually prove to mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. When I was a kid, girls who publicly vowed chastity talked a good game. They later joined Young Life for the orgies. My high school’s FCA president held humping parties at the airport because planes drowned-out the loud orgasms.

WASPy girls like to scream.

Instead of putting on a show, simply raise your daughter to believe she is important to herself and everyone else. Love and cherish her, teach values and moral strength. When the time comes you will trust her judgment and decision-making process.

For now, take her to a Disney flick and out for milkshakes afterward. She’s a kid.