There is a reason that I have never had a girlfriend: it’s because they’re crazy. Yes, boyfriends can be crazy, too, but when it comes to pure unadulterated wack-jobiness, nothing beats a girlfriend. Add in the fact that if girlfriends are crazy, then ex-girlfriends are even more so, and you can see that having a girlfriend is just a recipe for disaster. Still don’t believe me? Okay, how’s this: I just googled “psycho ex-girlfriend” and got 481,000 hits. “Psycho ex-boyfriend,” on the other hand, only generated 275,000. That’s nearly two to one. You can doubt me, but you can’t doubt Google.

So anyway, yeah, girlfriends=crazy. Which is why I’ve never had one. Except that now, I kind of do.

Here’s the thing: living with a teenage girl is like having a psycho ex-girlfriend you can never break up with. Think of the worst girlfriend you (or one of your friends) ever had. The one who slashed your tires. . .or your mother’s tires. . .or your boss’s tires. The one who one minute weepily declared her never-ending love for you, and the next calmly described how she would soon be rejoicing upon hearing the news that you were dead. The one who was needy and distant and clingy and wild and timid and desperate and powerful and controlling and the best and the worst—all in the space of five minutes.

Now imagine what it would be like to have to live with that person for years.

You can’t put this girlfriend’s clothes in a Hefty and leave them on the front porch. You can’t hide out at your buddy’s house while one of your friends goes over and explains to her that, since her name is not on the lease, she has to leave. You can’t even call up her mom and tell her that it’s time she had a talk with her daughter who—by the way—is totally out of control. Because, guess what: you are her mom.

Sometimes I have trouble understanding why I, of all people, am in this situation. After all, haven’t I always done my best to lead a drama-free existence?. True, this has been a matter of self-preservation as much as anything else (having two actors in my immediate family has always meant that there’s been plenty of drama to go around), but still. I have always been the one who tried for the sanguine as opposed to the hot-blooded, the phlegmatic as opposed to the bilious. Unfortunately, once I had a daughter (and allowed her to become a teenager), I went just about as far away from a drama-free life as it’s possible to go and not be featured on reality TV.

Although sometimes I suspect that I actually am being featured on reality TV. How else would you explain the fact that certain innocuous statements on my part (such as “please put your cereal bowl in the–”) are met with such explosive, drama-filled retorts as: “Get off my case! Why do you have to make such a big deal out of everything?” “Why are you freaking out about a bowl? Just chillax,” and, “Why are you so uptight?” (all before I can get out the word “sink”). And then there’s the fact that these explosions are usually followed two seconds later by, “Ugh. Why do we have to live in such a dump?” I mean, there must be hidden cameras, right? And I must have inadvertently said the secret word.

Which, by the way, is apparently “crazy.” I learned this the hard way when I suggested to the teenage girl that she might not be operating at her optimal sanity level, and she, um, went nuts.

Something that, I’m sure, is no surprise to those of you with psycho ex-girlfriend experience—but was definitely news to me.

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