Last evening at batting practice, a couple of the eldest gel’s teammates were listening to a Lady Gaga song on their Ipod while waiting their turn at bat.  As the gel came over after her own turn, they asked her if she had heard it.  “No,” she said, “My dad doesn’t let me listen to that kind of music.”

The teammates were incredulous, and immediately started razzing me about it.

“That’s right,” I said with a smile, “I’m a mean old man.”

As I said it, I could see the gel smiling furtively herself.  The truth of the matter is that she doesn’t want to listen to that kind of music (which she refers to as “junk” in private), but at the same time doesn’t want to look like an oddball in front of her friends.  (We’ve had the same experience regarding certain teevee shows and movies over the past year or so.)

It strikes me that the blame-it-on-my-parents line is a useful social fiction at this age, to be discarded when she gains the confidence to stand up for her own values and preferences.  So far as I can tell, the gel doesn’t suffer any ostracism for it from her mates, but instead receives something like sympathy for living under such an iron rule.