Meet Dad

In all of history, the guy has had to leap the hurdle known as “parents” to get his girl. When arranged marriages went the way of stone-tipped weapons, suitors still had to knock at the door, bear the scathing elevator-eyes of the monster his damsel called “dad,” and answer any questions the man found relevant. Courting candles, the faher, and the curfew are only a few of the methods fathers have concocted through the ages to torture the knock-kneed lads who just wanted some time with their girls.

But why? Well, the excuse is protection. Before entrusting your princess to a total stranger, you want to get a good scan of his mug so you can describe him for the police sketch when they’re not back by midnight, or maybe pick him out of a lineup if your daughter has a horrible night. You also want to do your best to ensure that your daughter hasn’t wound up with a date that will end in either scenario. It is also important for the younger siblings to have a chance to whip out their field glasses and get a good look at the fellow, so they can make fun the next day.

Today’s modern women often work differently. But today’s women still have fathers from a generation past, and they must, as always, be humored. (“They didn’t do it that way in my day.”) Also, the average father doesn’t realize that his daughter is, in fact, a grown woman, and can’t get it out of his head that some guy is coming to steal his baby away for an evening, and maybe a lifetime. (“What do you mean you’re an adult? I remember changing your diapers just a few years ago!”) In addition, many doubt the best judgment of their children for what seems to them good reason. (“Trust her to choose a mate? Remember when she tore a tendon skiing, but kept going all day because she didn’t want to waste her vacation in the ER? I wouldn’t trust her to cross a two-way street without holding a responsible adult’s hand!”) Or they want to know information their daughters might hesitate to ask about for any number of reasons. Parents have a powerful veto on the acceptance of proposals, and some might even threaten to use it.

Women today are liberated, don’t feel any great need for protection, and are independent enough to manage their own affairs. A great many don’t live at home. As such, the first-date meeting is, in many communities, going the way of the arranged marriage. But it is widely accepted that a couple meet each others parents before engagement.

But when is that? For some, it’s sometime between the proposal and the “official” announcement, and the reason for the “unofficial engagement” phenomenon. But others have their own, sometimes humorous ideas of when the meeting should take place.

NMF#6 had one date take her to a restaurant for a dinner date. Oddly enough (and purely coincidentally, her date assured her) his parents happened to be there too, and just a few table away. Introductions all around. She was not pleased.

Another young lady’s date was somewhat more forward. On the third date, he took her to meet his parents. When she asked if he thought things weren’t progressing a bit… too quickly, he just looked puzzled.

Of course, if you’re going to meet his parents, it should be at a happy event. Like your date’s one-year AA anniversary.  One young lady first met her prospective in-laws when her going-steady date wanted everyone important to him at this momentous occasion.

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15 thoughts on “Meet Dad

  1. Some guys’ parents come along on the first date with them. This way it’s no “Oh, we’re meeting the parents..ooohhh”
    They’ve met. Whether it works out or not…they’ve met.

  2. They come on the date with them? Is that like going to their job interview with them, or any of the other weird helicopter parent behaviors?

  3. I’ve had guys whose Moms insisted on meeting ME once we’d gone past the second date. I guess they were afraid I’d hurt their ‘lil boys. LOL I humored them because I thought it was hilarious. Some people are strange.

  4. When I used to pick up dates at their parents home, I would almost always meet the parents before the first date even started! 🙂

  5. You left out the part about when guy appears, the girl’s father says “Get out of the car, slowly. Don’t make any fast movements. Keep your hands where I can see them..”

  6. how about the story of the guy who walks up to the door a few minutes late to his date, he knocks and a nice man answers it looking a bit puzzled. after the boy introduces himself, comprehension dawns on the mans face as he welcomes the boy into his home, sits him down on the couch, gives him some refreshments and starts grilling him on everything from politics to geography to what sugya the boy was learning in yeshiva. after about half hour of the torture, the man asks the boy whether hes ready to meet the girl, the boy says yes happy that hes done with this “interview”, the man tells the boy to follow him. the boy proceeds to follow the man who leads him outside and to the house next door. “you knocked on the wrong door and when i realized the confusion, i just couldnt help myself and decided to have some fun, dont worry ill tell the girl you were late because of me” the man said as he knocked on the door. (for all those that didnt get, the next door neighbor decided to have some fun with the boy and he did) true story, i know the guy it happened to.

  7. Anon, you just reminded me of a family favorite story. My youngest sister was in playgroup, and my mother was running late one day, so she called the teacher and asked if it’s ok for her to pick my sister up a little late.
    What we didn’t know, was that the teachers oldest daughter was going on her first ever date. So, at the pre-arranged time, all the younger sisters were waiting eagerly at a basement window. You can imagine their surprise when a car pulled up to the house…and it was a banged up old jeep. Their horror deepened when the door opened…and out stepped some grey-haired man. My father! The sisters couldn’t get over how OLD the guy was… 😉
    Anyway, the mother/playgroup teacher shoved my little sister at my father and pushed them out the door, just in time, as the REAL guy showed up… 🙂

  8. In my day asking a girl to come meet your parents was tantamount to a marriage proposal–you knew it was going to come almost immediately after the meeting. In my case I got two signs that engagement was imminent, both on the same night. We went from meeting his parents to an engagement party for his best friend. And sure enough, we were engaged 4 hours later, to the surprise of none, except maybe my FIL to be. We called his parents to give us a mazal tov. My husband’s exact words were “Ta, give me a mazal tov. I’m engaged.” and my FIL’s exact words were “To whom?” I was l’chav zechus that we had just woken him up and he wasn’t functioning on all cylinders yet.

  9. Or they want to know information their daughters might hesitate to ask about for any number of reasons

    Yeah, parents can be demanding that way.

  10. ProfK – I believe it is for that reason that people want to meet sooner.
    By meeting on the first date, they remove the pressure of, “now that you’re meeting my parents, we’re going to be engaged soon.”

    But I would NOT want a guy’s parents chaperoning him to our first date — even if it was just for 5 minutes.

  11. within some communities (specifically Chabad), it is considered perfectly normal that the couple meets the parents just before the engagement is announced, after (or just before) the decision has been made by the couple themselves. Meeting the parents at first (before a first date? – shudder), is just an extra imposition on all concerned, and frankly not necessarily a tzniusdike one.

  12. Pingback: Repost: Why We Do Stuff | Bad for Shidduchim

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