I KNEW IT would come to this. I just didn't know it would happen this quickly. I thought I had three, maybe four more years of fatherly bliss. But when I look back on it now, I realize what a fool I've been, because the signs were there all along.
Eve has always had an appreciation for handsome faces, beginning with mine. Unfortunately, she noticed early on that boys were, to quote her little-girl vernacular, "cute." Things went downhill from there.
When she was about 4, she began to notice the kissy-face plot lines in Disney movies and fell in love with "Jump In" star Corbin Bleu, he of the curly hair and crooked smile. Soon she was requesting Corbin Bleu pillows and posters, and we got them for her, because we figured it was harmless.
We were wrong.
She graduated from Corbin Bleu to Roc Royal, a member of the boy band Mindless Behavior. I refrained from telling her what I really thought, which was that Roc Royal couldn't possibly be his real name, and I didn't want my daughter being infatuated with some dude who goes by an alias. Instead, I smiled, even after I found out that she'd downloaded Roc's picture onto my laptop.
I felt like it was typical little-girl behavior, and I let it go. Lord help me, I let it go.
But in the last year or so, Eve has graduated to Justin Bieber, and like the millions of little girls who've fallen under Bieber's spell, she's behaving less like a fan and more like a cult member with every passing day.
I guess I could blame my wife's fixation on old movies for Eve's strange behavior. She and Eve have watched "Bye Bye Birdie," the kitschy Elvis send-up from 1963, at least a gazillion times. That film, which featured a 20-something Ann-Margret playing the fainting, swooning teen president of the Conrad Birdie fan club, is the closest thing I've seen to Bieber mania.
Unfortunately, Eve has memorized most of that movie's plot, and she's reprising Ann-Margret's role at school.
Other little girls who are Beliebers (the preferred moniker of Bieber fans) simply swoon whenever Justin's name is uttered. Not Eve. Before she swoons, she needs rules, boundaries and symbols.
From the looks of her Justin Bieber poster - the one that bears said rules and regulations - Eve has constructed a Belieber structure that would put most corporations to shame.
As co-founder of her school's fifth-grade Beliebers chapter, Eve has certain responsibilities. These obligations apparently include creating a pledge much like the one the girls in "Bye Bye Birdie" recited.
I am now going to share with you Eve's Beliebers pledge. Bear in mind that I am not making this up. I'm quoting this from their poster:
"We pledge to love Justin Bieber now and forever. We will always sit in the way we will. We will listen to his music. As long as you love me."
It's signed, "Beliebers."
The local fifth-grade Beliebers chapter did not stop with a pledge, like those losers in "Bye Bye Birdie." They went further.
Their poster includes a seating chart. The diagram of the lunchroom table (I know it's the lunchroom table because it says "lunch" in big block letters) has a specific seating order for the six girls who are members of the chapter.
Since they mention their seating choices in their pledge, I imagine that there's a horrible punishment associated with violating the seating chart. Maybe the offender is blindfolded, so she can no longer look on Justin Bieber's angelic face.
I'm not sure, and, frankly, the less I know about that, the better.
But wait, there's more. The girls have listed 50 of Bieber's songs on the back of the poster. They've meticulously numbered each song, and they are now in the process of listing them in alphabetical order.
They've reached the letter "L," and the last song they've listed is called "Love Me."
They're obeying that Justin Bieber commandment, and they're doing it with gusto. They've written their names on his arm on the front of the poster, listed pledges and charts on the back of the poster, and they have the poster with them when they hold their Beliebers meetings at the lunchroom table on Thursdays.
But love costs money, and the Beliebers know it. That's why they constructed a money chart for "donations" at the bottom of the poster.
Each member's name is listed with a space showing the amount they've contributed.
The way I figure it, their love for Justin Bieber will soon fade, because there's no romance without finance, and the amount each girl has donated is $0.