Ten Simple Rules for My Daughter's Would-be Suitors

When I was in high school I used to be terrified of my girlfriend's father, whom I believe suspected me of wanting to place my hands upon 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 (tongue, lip, eyebrow, or whatever) pierced. Is that because you're stupid, or do you merely want to APPEAR to be stupid?"

Anyway, as a dad, I have ten basic and simple rules, which I have carved into two stone tablets and displayed prominently in our living room.
  1. If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure as hell not picking anything up.

  2. 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. If you ever touch her in anger, the remains of your tortured and mutilated body will never be found!

  3. 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 nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place around your waist.

  4. I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind may kill you. Let me simpify it - when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL kill you.

  5. You may think that 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 - I really don't want to get to know you. 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 two words I want from you on this subject are "Early, sir."

  6. 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.

  7. 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 anything, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on makeup and fixing her hair, which can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like washing my car?

  8. 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 the base of her neck.
    • Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies that feature chainsaws are okay.
    • Hockey games and ski slopes are okay.

  9. Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been, but 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 shotgun, a shovel, and ten acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

  10. Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car on my gravel driveway for a Blackhawk coming in over a sand dune. When flashbacks happen, 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, move slowly, 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 walk her to the door let alone come inside. I will see that she makes it safely from your car to her door. The camouflaged face at the window is mine!
My daughter claims it embarrasses her to come downstairs and find me attempting to get her date to recite these ten simple rules from memory. I'd be embarrassed too--there are only ten 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 but 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 soldering iron was probably a better alternative.

One time my wife caught me having one of my daughter's would-be suitors practice pulling into the driveway, getting out of the car, and going 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 ten simple rules?

BTW, If you break any of the rules, she arrives home late, she is upset, she has the ticket stub from a romantic movie, etc. you forfeit the $50 deposit you gave me when you came into the house to pick her up!

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