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.