It Was Bronly a Matter of Time



Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.

Hi Tim,
Help! My daughter just turned 15. She's a nerd and might be more into My Little Pony than the level I'm comfortable with, but it's wholesome and non-threatening. Until now. She wants to attend a convention a few hours away in costume with a couple of friends. I might have been okay with that until I heard that some of her online "friends" are men in their 30's! Sorry, I have a problem with that! I went to one of these cons with her before and I could honestly live without a repeat of that experience. But I will if I have to do it. Of course, she's completely offended that I don't trust her to go without me. Am I being overprotective? — Hesitant Hoverer

Hi Hesitant Hoverer,
Let this be a lesson to me about running my mouth. Recently, I joked about never having received a Bronies letter and now here it is; well, sort of anyway. Yes, it is a thing! Bronies are adults who are fans of the My Little Pony kid's TV show; mostly men but also women, who sometimes prefer the gender-specific pegasisters. Some of these folks write fan fiction, dress up and take part in conventions. Like the furry fandom, they seem to suffer a lot of negative and undeserved press for allegedly being fetishists who enjoy their pony pals for more than friendship. I encourage folks not to get into a pedophile panic over every adult eccentricity they encounter. Most bronies probably legitimately enjoy being fans and would be harmless company. However, whether they are perverts or not is irrelevant to my response.

Kids and permissive parents beware; you are not going to like my answer. I use the general rule that a teenager should only be allowed to independently participate in activities that they would, well, be able to participate in independently, as if they were unaccompanied and that includes no cab driver. If you are not old enough to drive yourself, then a parent goes with you. So, if your little cherub is not ready to parallel park, then they are not ready to go to conventions and stay in big hotels with a bunch of adults unsupervised. There is nothing wrong with calling stranger danger on events like the one in question but adults also do a lot of non-predatory things that kids have no business being exposed to; they abuse alcohol and drugs, hire sex workers, tip poorly, say ugly things that other adults know they do not mean, complain about mortgages and car payments and interest rates and taxes, trim excess body hair, pay attention to their fiber intake and countless other things in their hotel rooms. A 15 year old should not have to witness that much reality.

If you can stomach another pony romp over the rainbow, I suggest powering through and maybe even trying to enjoy these last few experiences you will share with your little girl. You will probably be shunned like you have the plague most of the time anyway, so you can pay some bills online, get a wax and enjoy a bottle of wine. Be sure to get enough fiber, too.

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