8 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter
======> Please do not remove the
copyright from this essay <======
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
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
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 anything up.
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
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 lacking parents, policemen, or nuns. 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
than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped
up to her chin. 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 simple rules?
W. Bruce Cameron is
a nationally syndicated humor writer. His book, "The
8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter"
is now available in bookstores and from his
web site. He loves to hear from his readers, write
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To subscribe to his free newsletter, send a message