Rules for Dating My Daughter

As the father-to-be of a little girl, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about certain things I want for her in life. While it would suit me just fine if she had the gift of Paul and was single all of her life (sort of the Mother Teresa approach) I realize it’s more likely than not that a young man will come along and want to date her some day. With that in mind, I have composed the following 15 rules (technically they’re more like principles) that any young man would be wise to heed if he wishes to pursue courtship and romantic involvement with my daughter.

1. You must read this blog in it’s entirety. Not only is it full of wisdom, but what better way to a young woman’s heart than through the mind of her father?

2. Your automobile must be brand new and equipped with the latest safety features. Driver, passenger, side, and curtain airbags must come standard on your car. Dynamic traction control is a plus, as are roll bars, reinforced steel door pillars, anti-lock breaks, and crumple zones. When you come to pick her up for your first date, please bring a copy of either the Car and Driver or Motor Trends safety report for your trusty rubber-footed steed. I will read it while we sit and wait on my daughter to finish getting ready. If I have questions, I will ask you. Do not speak until you are spoken to.

3. My daughter is always to be returned in better condition than when you picked her up. I call this the return policy. Violate it and I will charge you a steep re-stocking fee.

4. It is preferable that you be smaller than my daughter. If she is more than 12 inches taller than you, you gain an extra measure of my trust and confidence.

5. If there is a door, it is to be opened and held open for her. This applies to both buildings and automobiles. No exceptions.

6. When I tell you to have her home by 11 p.m., you will return her promptly by 10:45. I value punctuality.

7. You must be a distance runner. This has less to do with the value I place on physical fitness than it does with my desire for you to be able to outrun me should you ever hurt my daughter. Your ability to outrun me will determine my future status as a free man and preserve your future status as alive.

8. You must participate in some sort of community service on a regular basis. Think of earning the privilege to date my daughter as comparable to trying to get into an Ivy League school. Your extracurricular activities matter. In fact, the more you’re involved in, the better your chances of being approved for courtship.

9. You must be willing to patiently wait on my daughter. This one’s more for your benefit than it is for mine or her’s. Trust me, I invented this rule with her mother. If you want to date my daughter, it is now your lot in life to wait on her. In almost all areas of life, whether it’s getting ready, or eating, or walking somewhere, or any other task which you will inevitably complete more quickly than her, it is imperative that you learn to be flexible and wait patiently. This isn’t a weakness or some character defect on her part. It’s one part DNA and one part how she chooses to roll. The sooner you get used to this, the happier your life will be.

10. The quality of your relationship with my daughter will be directly correlated to the quality of your relationship with me. Therefore, you must be able to joke with me while waiting on my daughter to finish getting ready. You must not, however, try too hard as I have a dry sense of humor and am not impressed by showmanship.

11. You must be able to have an intelligent conversation with me while waiting for my daughter to finish getting ready. CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, ESPN, Fast Company, Time Magazine, News Week… I don’t care what you watch or read to stay up to date on current events. Just make sure you have something to talk with me about. I hate dead air and, quite honestly, conversing will help me size you up better for who you truly are. Current events are good, but if you really want to impress me, you’ll talk to me about the important ideas of our time.

12. Don’t try to play me. I have an uncanny ability for knowing when someone’s trying to play me and I don’t like it.

13. Don’t ever raise your voice in anger at my daughter or say things to her that will negatively impact her self-image. Her mother and I plan on investing a lot of time, hugs, and emotional coaching into helping her develop a positive self-image before the two of you ever meet and I don’t want to see our efforts wasted because you have a low self-esteem that makes you feel the need to put down others in order to feel good about yourself.

14. If you have a strong and diverse affinity for music, your chances of becoming an approved suitor will dramatically increase. Otis Redding, Yo-Yo Ma, Stevie Wonder, David Allen Coe, Steve Miller Band, Newsboys, Jack Johnson, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, Genesis, Frank Sinatra, Counting Crows, Coldplay, Michael Bublé, Bob Marley, Arcade Fire, Kings of Leon, Cake, The Flaming Lips, Goo Goo Dolls, Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, Weezer, The Temptations, Switchfoot, Dr. Dre, Bob Dylan, Peter Frampton, Owl City, Jimmy Buffet, Johnny Cash, Outkast, Three Dog Night, Sam Cook, The Fugees, The Smashing Pumpkins, Third Eye Blind, Bruce Springsteen, CCR, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, U2, Black Eyed Peas, Dean Martin, The Killers, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Prince (or whatever he goes by these days), Dire Straits, The Police, The Who… these are just a few of the band and artist names I expect you to recognize. You don’t need an extensive knowledge of any of them, but you should be able to “name that artist” when you hear a song by one of them. This list of artists, much like the list of rules above, is not exhaustive but it’s a good place to start.

15. Please love God more than you like my daughter. Get this one right and the other rules will likely take care of themselves.