The next day was Saturday. We each had our own errands to run in the morning, and finally crossed paths when we wound up in the kitchen, each of us foraging for sandwich makings. We sat at the kitchen table, munching. She, of course, sat carefully. We adjourned to the study. "OK, daddy, where do we start?" I looked down at the lesson plan I'd put together. "Well, I've blocked out the skills you'll need to demonstrate this summer, and the order in which they need to be learned, which is more or less the order that you'd need to use them in a sequence of dates over a period of months. After you've had some time to learn and practice a skill, I'll test you on it. The most appropriate method of testing a skill mimics the conditions under which you'd use the skill." She looked blank. "You need these skills for dating, right? We'll go out on a 'date,' you and I, every week or so. I'll take the part of your 'boyfriend,' and you'll need to show that you can use the skills appropriate to that stage of a relationship under simulated 'live fire.' Who knows, you might even enjoy the date. They'd probably be rather more classy affairs than the pizza and a movie you'd likely get from a high school boy on an allowance, but that's not all bad." I laid just a little disparaging emphasis on "boy." It seemed to me that it wasn't too early to start setting her expectations. I had my own agenda here. All work and no play, after all. "So, what's first?" "Unfortunately, several things. There are three skills that need to be second nature, things that you do without thinking. I want to get you started on all three today, because it will take time for them to become natural, and you'll work on them all summer. "The first skill is managing your posture. You want to date, which means that you need to have a first date, which means that you need to get noticed. How are you going to get a high school boy to notice you from across the room? By giving a particularly intelligent answer in calculus class?" I snorted, and she giggled, then looked down at her chest, and back at me with a question in her eyes. "Right, if he notices you, it will be because he notices your body. So how do you stand out in a field of other senior girls? By using what you've got to best advantage, and not hiding it in a teenage slouch." She squared her shoulders a bit. "That's the general idea, and you can do much better with training. There are four exercises in this group. And remember, this has to be something you do without thinking, a part of how you carry yourself, without even realizing it, whether you think someone is looking at you or not. We'll begin with a little yoga, for which you are not appropriately dressed. I'd suggest that you go change into your swimsuit, and I'll make a space here on the carpet." She returned in a few moments, wearing a modest one-piece. The bottom almost completely covered the bruises I had placed there the day before. I moved easily into my Trainer persona. I mean, it's what I do for a living, after all. "OK, the basis of posture is the pelvis. We'll begin with the 'dog tilt' and 'cat tilt' positions. The purpose of these exercises is to make you aware of the bone and muscle structure around the pelvis, to do some gentle stretching of the lower back, and to strengthen the muscles of the abdomen. "Get down on your hands and knees and make yourself into a table, one hand directly below each shoulder, one knee directly below each hip. When I say 'cat tilt', you need to do several things at the same time: exhale, arch your back like an angry cat, let your head drop so that you're looking down through the space between your legs, and curl the bottom vertebrae of your spine as though you were trying to touch your pelvis to your nose. Cat tilt." She did nicely. I prompted, "Don't clench your buttocks, hold the position with your tummy muscles only. Squeeze every particle of air out of your lungs. Curl the spine more. Hold it." I put my hands on her belly and at the base of her spine and helped her refine the position. I wanted to get her used to my touch. "Now relax" and she dropped back into the neutral position, inhaling. "Good. The 'dog tilt' is exactly the opposite: when I say 'dog tilt', inhale, raise your head to look forward, open your chest, let your upper spine hang from your shoulders, and swing the base of your spine back and up. Dog tilt. Good, rump up, inhale more, pull all of the air in the room into your lungs until they can stretch no more." I positioned one hand on each of her hips and made some adjustments. "Good. Good. Hold it. Now...'cat tilt.'" We spend 20 minutes on those poses until I was sure she had learned them. She'd worked up a light sweat. "You'll do those poses every morning and afternoon for five minutes. I've put it on your copy of the homework list. "With that as a basis, the next exercises will be a little easier. Stand up in front of the full-length mirror here. We're concerned with both sitting and standing posture, and we'll start with standing. Slouch for me. What's that position?" She looked up, puzzled, then her expression cleared. "Oh, 'cat tilt!', sort of." "Right. And what's it look like?" She smiled. "Not much." "Right. Now, 'dog tilt.'" She did, and her breasts came out from wherever the had gone and rose proudly on her chest. "Nice, huh?" She admired herself, then frowned. "But it makes my bottom stick out and my tummy bulge!" "Excellent! No dummy, you! Think of your pelvis as a bowl of spaghetti: if you tip it, all the contents run to the front and try to flow over the edge. So here's the final pose: from the middle of the spine up, 'dog tilt,' and for the pelvis, 'cat tilt.' Remember, curl the base of your spine. Pull your pubis up into your navel. That's called the 'mountain pose,' if it matters." It took her a moment to make the neural connections, but she got it right. "Oh, wow. That flattens my tummy, and raises my, uh, bosom." "Allison, if you use that vocabulary at Central, you'll be laughed all the way back to grade school. The boys will call them tits, or jugs, or hooters, or boobs, or bazooms, or lungs, or knockers, your rack, or two dozen other terms you'll pick up in time. But dear, 'bosom' went out with Queen Victoria." She blushed, a charming sight. "OK, it raises my...tits." "Very good. We'll work on your anatomical vocabulary as we go. Now for sitting posture. It's almost the same, except that the 'cat tilt' is hard to maintain while sitting. So sit on the couch and do a full 'dog tilt.'" She sat, and flinched. "Delightful. Sit on the front half of the seat-- your back should never touch the back of a chair. Yes, I know your bottom is still sore. Your back should be very straight. Think of a hook descending from the ceiling and pulling your head and spine into a column. 'Sit tall.' Perfect. You'll consciously work on sitting and standing posture for ten minutes every morning and afternoon. The muscle-awareness of what good posture feels like should trigger the sensation that 'something's wrong' if you let it slip. That completes the first two exercises, on pelvic and spinal control, sitting and standing. Any questions?" "No, dad. But you sound an awful lot like you're delivering a class in database design, or something." We shared a laugh. "Sorry, baby. Old habits die hard. Now, the third exercise on posture. Here, have a look at this." I showed her a Victoria's Secret catalog. "Now that you've started to think about posture, look at the models. What do you notice about their elbows?" That one really threw her. Here she was, confronted with dozens of images of flesh and nylon, and impossibly perfect, well, bosoms, and I wanted her to look at /elbows/? "Uh, oh I see, they're all holding their elbows back." "Right, so we have the third exercise, to strengthen the muscles of your upper back, and to reinforce the 'dog tilt' posture of the upper spine." I took out a length of broomstick I had cut and steered her over to a spot about three feet from the wall. "Now, this is sort of a Zen thing. I'm going to give you an instruction that is manifestly impossible to do. Don't let that worry you. But I do expect you to sweat bullets trying to do it anyhow. Understood?" "I...guess so." "That's my trooper. OK, here's how this one goes. Stand here, proper standing posture, 'dog tilt' above and 'cat tilt' below, about three feet from the wall. I want you to pull your elbows back, as though you were trying to make them touch behind your back. Now, I'll slide this broomstick horizontally behind your back--hold it there with the crook of your elbows. Got it? Good. Now for the exercise. Keep your heels flat on the floor, and look up to the place where the wall in front of you meets the ceiling. Here we go. Look at that seam between wall and ceiling. I want you to touch that seam with your nipples." She turned and goggled at me. "Remember what I said? I don't expect you to succeed, but I do expect you to try very, very hard." "Oh. Uh, ok." It was magical to watch. Her tits rose another impossible inch, and her whole posture fell into line. "Right, keep that 'cat tilt' going. I'll be back in a few minutes." And I left her to it. Ten minutes later, I returned. She was again sweating lightly from the exertion, even though she was motionless. Kind of an isometric exercise. "Don't change your position, and tell me about your sensations. What's your body saying to you?" "I'm getting sore between my shoulder blades. My rib cage feels like it's expanded. I can feel the muscles in my tummy pulling up on my pelvis." "Terrific! Damn, you're good! Now, relax." She positively wilted with relief. I took the broomstick from her. "Those are the sensations that tell you that your posture is perfect. If ever you /don't/ feel like that, something's wrong. You'll do that exercise for five minutes every morning and every afternoon, just to remind your muscles of what they should feel like. It's on your copy of the homework list. Here's some water. Only one more exercise in this set, baby, and we'll take a break, OK?" "Sure. I'm getting tired." "I don't wonder. Fortunately, the last exercise is more mental than physical. I need you to do some mental imaging. Close your eyes. Remember when you worked at the library last year? I saw you pushing around some heavy carts of books. Whenever you went through a doorway, the cart went first, and you followed it into the room. Got that image? Make a mental movie of it. Feel it in your muscles. Now, in the movie, it's not a cart of books, but your tits that you're pushing. Heavy, and way out in front of you. They enter the room first, the rest of you follows along. Play that movie." Eyes closed, she got an embarrassed little smile. "I see it." "Here's another image. Two famous and powerful people are walking briskly down a corridor, side by side, trailed by short female assistant behind and between them. She almost has to jog to keep up. At the end of the corridor, they sweep into a room. Everyone pays attention to the famous people, who are imposing and handsome, while mousy little secretary behind and between them is ignored and almost invisible. Got it?" Another smile. "I think I know where this one is going." "Of course. Nobody said you were slow. Ok, now alter the image. The famous people are your jugs. Their faces are your nipples. The little office girl is the rest of Allison. In your mind, play a movie of the three of you entering that room." "Not good for the self-esteem." "Aw, don't start. If it bugs you, remember that the three of you have to work together. Or come up with your own movie, the exact image doesn't matter. Now, enough for one session. You're off for the rest of the afternoon. Take it easy and relax. Be conscious of your posture, and every time you go through a doorway, lead with your chest. I'll see you at dinner." "Thanks, dad. Whew, what a workout." She followed her nipples out of the room. I smiled. Things were starting well.