Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My doorman helps my teenage daughter sneak out at night

By  | April 21, 2010 - 11:15AM
Ms. Demeanor .jpg

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

As I left for work yesterday morning, the relief overnight doorman (not the regular – he was on vacation) was waiting to chat with me… he proceeded to thank me for the extra tip for making sure my 15-year-old daughter got a taxi at 1am!

After I started breathing again, I discovered that she and a friend have been sneaking out 2 or 3 nights a week, leaving around 1 a.m. and returning by 4 a.m. – always tipping the night doorman generously to “get them a cab.”

The relief doorman also commented on how much DD had grown up since the last time he had seen her – that she could easily pass for 21!!!!

I am truly in shock – why bother having a doorman if he is going to facilitate a teenager sneaking out in the middle of the night???? Doesn’t he have any responsibility to residents who have children????

Soon-To-Be Mommy Dearest

Dear Dearest,

All other issues aside, don’t you admire that these bright young things can dance the night away and still excel at honors physics?!?! A little concealer, a cup of coffee… and the blissful nonchalance of youth…

Unfortunately, their adolescent wiring is designed to goad them into risky behavior. While I don’t blame you for invoking the “it takes a village” sensibility, it is our challenge as parents to foil our offspring at every juncture… not the doorman’s.

A long talk with DD re: the consequences of her behavior --  gory photographs and hideous stories of what can happen to young women who fly the co-op in the dead of night -- can go a long way, as can threats to cell phones, computers and credit cards.

It might be wise to go easy on the Ambien for the next few years to stay alert to the tumbling of the deadbolt locks. Some household alarm systems can be wired to “beep” every time a point of entry is breached, but it sounds like your daughter is pretty savvy and would be able to plot her escape despite these interventions.

Given her abundant energy, perhaps you should consider signing her up for a triathlon training class. If she can still go out and party after swimming, running and biking, her DNA needs to be harvested and cloned by the NIH.

That just leaves how to address your doorman’s responsibility. While it is true that when children are very young, many doormen assume a protective stance, they tend to balk at ratting out occasionally naughty teens, especially ones with ready cash.

I asked my own overnight doorman, an elegant, refined member of the guild, where he drew the line on aiding and abetting a minor’s indiscretions.

He hesitated slightly, then suggested that if it were to happen once or twice, he would probably say nothing, especially if money had changed hands. However, if the teen in question was on a regular schedule of night moves, or if he or she was returning in a less than pristine condition, he would mention it to the parents – and hope for an even bigger tip!

Previous advice from Ms. Demeanor:

Nudes in the hallway

My dog won't shut up!

How do we tell the building we're getting a divorce?

Barbarians in the laundry room

Are hallway time-outs acceptable?

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