As our girls have been growing, Rebecca and I have tried to spend some time with each girl on a one-on-one basis, to give them individual attention and get out of the house from the distractions and noise. Emma came up with the neat idea of calling them “Two-for-Tuesdays” so each Tuesday afternoon, Rebecca and I go and do something special with Gabriella or Emma. This Tuesday was my turn with Emma.
As we sat down at a café, me with my café con leche and Emma with her hot chocolate, we talked about… boys.
Yes, and a tear of despair leaves my eye as I write this, I talked to my 9-year old daughter about boys. Now, remember, I’m the guy who got anxious about my daughter’s prom even before we left the hospital with her. Raising daughters stresses me out. A lot.
So I think this time together with my daughters is critical… I call them our “dates” together, and yes, we often talk about how I think they should be treated by boys as they get older, and how they can safely confide with me and Rebecca, and how they should be growing and learning as a young girl should. But it is stressful to have a daughter, and of course I want her to be safe.
As I thought of this, I remembered some rules that I was given by another old military dad during one tour to Iraq… I think they’re a lot of fun, so here are some of the best:
Seven Rules For Dating My Daughter
- If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.
- 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.
- 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 his 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 ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.
- 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.
- 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 throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.
- Do not lie to me. On issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a rifle, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.
- Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over the rooftops of Fallujah. When this happens, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car – there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.
Yeah, I think I’ll be keeping a copy of this around for a while.