Dating My Daughter
by W. Bruce Cameron
When I was in high school I used to be terrified of my girlfriend's
father, who I believe suspected me of wanting to place my hands on
his daughter's chest. He would open the door and immediately affect
a good-naturedly murderous expression, holding out a handshake that,
when gripped, felt like it could squeeze carbon into diamonds.
Now, years later, it is my turn to be the dad. Remembering how
unfairly persecuted I felt when I would pick up my dates, I do my
best to make my daughter's suitors feel even worse. My motto: wilt
them in the living room and they'll stay wilted all night.
"So," I'll call out jovially. "I see you have your nose pierced. Is
that because you're stupid, or did you merely want to APPEAR stupid?"
As a dad, I have some basic rules, which I have carved into two stone
tablets that I have on display in my living room.
Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be
delivering a package, because you're sure as heck not picking
Rule Two: You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may
glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck.
If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I
will remove them.
Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of
your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be
falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you
and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be
fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise:
You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants
ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to
assure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course
of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric staple gun and
fasten your trousers securely in place around your waist.
Rule Four: I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex
without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let
me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL
Rule Five: In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk
about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not
do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of
when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the
only word I need from you on this subject is "early."
Rule Six: I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many
opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as
it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with
my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is
finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make YOU cry.
Rule Seven: As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my
daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and
fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be
dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process which can
take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just
standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the
oil in my car?
Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with
my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer
than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen,
or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places
where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where
the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear
shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls,
a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her adam's apple.
Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided;
movies which feature chainsaws are okay. Hockey games are okay.
My daughter claims it embarrasses her to come downstairs and find me
attempting to get her date to recite these eight simple rules from
memory. I'd be embarrassed too--there are only eight of them, for
crying out loud! And, for the record, I did NOT suggest to one of
these cretins that I'd have these rules tattooed on his arm if he
couldn't remember them. (I checked into it and the cost is
prohibitive.) I merely told him that I thought writing the rules on
his arm with a ball point might be inadequate--ink washes off--and
that my wood burning set was probably a better alternative.
One time, when my wife caught me having one of my daughter's would-be
suitors practice pulling into the driveway, get out of the car, and
go up to knock on the front door (he had violated rule number one, so
I figured he needed to run through the drill a few dozen times) she
asked me why I was being so hard on the boy. "Don't you remember
being that age?" she challenged.
Of course I remember. Why do you think I came up with the eight