Lost Joy

When I was in high school, there was a dating ritual in which the guy (ie me) went to pick up the girl at the girl's house.  The girl was never ready, so the guy was forced into an awkward (particularly on the first date) conversation with the girl's dad.

Apparently, this sort of dating ritual is gone, at least at our school and in my family.  As my daughter gets closer and closer to leaving high school, it finally struck me last night that I may never get to enjoy the payback of being the "dad" in this ritual.  And I was all ready, too.  I never use my shotgun any more but I keep it around solely in the hope of having it out on the table for cleaning when my daughter's date comes over.  Now I fear I will be denied this small joy.

(Of course, the fact that I have communicated my fantasy of cleaning my shotgun on my kitchen table when my daughter's dates come over may have something to do with my daughter structuring her social life such that boys never come over.  Corollary to Heisenberg:  You cannot discuss a fantasy without disturbing it).


  1. Ward Chartier:

    Wouldn't cost much to powder coat white a junker shotgun just for the purpose of impressing young gentleman callers. Such an odd object would certainly give you and the young fellow something to discuss.

  2. Sam Wah:

    My schtick was knife sharpening...

  3. pegr:

    Just hand them a shotgun shell and a magic marker when they walk through the door.

    "Hey, could you do me a favor and write your name on that?"

    Bonus points for taking the shell with the young man's name and placing it on the mantle with the other shotgun shells with other names on them.

    Then start talking about the farmland you bought in Indiana so remote that even you have a hard time finding it.

  4. esoxlucius:

    She will someday get married. The first time you meet that guy, have the shotgun lube ready.

  5. Matthew Slyfield:

    If you really want to enjoy that fantasy, suggest to your daughter that it would be a great way to get rid of a persistent but unwanted suitor.

  6. MingoV:

    Your daughter has real dates? One guy, one daughter dates? They're practically extinct in some areas. The suburban kids in Memphis have group gatherings at malls or other places, and there are unofficial pairings within the group. There rarely are 1:1 dates. And almost never 1:1 dates where one person picks up the other and talks with parents.

  7. mesaeconoguy:

    C’mon Warren, you of all people understand Moore’s law, and the exponential time factor.

    Solution: grab your AR10,


    And greet the victim/date at the door, and tell him you have gps on 1) your daughter, 2) his car, 3) his parents, and his extended family.

    As a bonus, you can tell him you work for DHS, and have an air force of drones.

  8. mesaeconoguy:

    And remember to smile.

  9. Matthew Teague:

    There's no reason to give up on your dream. If she hasn't let her current "date" meet you properly, insist that he come meet you and the wife before they next go out. Likewise, any new boy she dates should be required to meet you. This sounded weird to me, but it was something I was made to do when I took my wife out on our first date, even though she was starting college. I ended up hitting it off with her parents, which made our entire courtship go much more smoothly. Within 3 months I was headed up to their family's rental cabin up in the mountains near Asheville to help put on a new roof... 10 hour trip both way alone in the car with her parents. The next summer I helped tile her parent's house, and after that put in engineered hardwood in the remaining rooms. My father in law didn't lose a daughter, so much as gain a son/affordable-contractor.

  10. jmod46:

    I hear ya. I had a massive Stihl chainsaw with a 20" blade. Good times. Good times.

  11. Craig L:

    The other shells would have to have been used, of course.

  12. ColoComment:

    Rather long, but very good:

    Dating Rules

    Rule One:
    If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure 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 remove them.

    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 ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to 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 kill you.

    Rule Five:
    It is usually understood 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. 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 that 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 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 her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies that feature chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks’ homes are better.

    Rule Nine:
    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 five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

    Rule Ten:
    Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, 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. Speak the perimeter password, 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 come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

  13. Marco73:

    I've told the story at both my daughter's weddings. The first time my future son-in-laws met me, I was cordial, and my wife absolutely would not put up with gun cleaning shenanegans.
    When I met my future father-in-law, he and some friends had just finished butchering a pig for Christmas, and were sitting around with various bloody knives. My father-in-law was sharpening a machete that had to be about 4 feet long. When I didn't wet my pants, but stayed and shook all their hands, one of the men commented "He's a keeper."

  14. FelineCannonball:

    You're thinking old school. Now-a-days you just write about the shotgun on your blog. And if you want to really embarrass your daughter you google-bomb the post so it ends up being her top google entry.

  15. john mcginnis:

    All very good rules. I have condensed them all down to but one --

    "I expect YOU to bring her back as happy on her return as when she left. I don't care if it is your fault or someone else's; if I see tears you are a dead man. Now repeat that back so I know you comprehend the consequences."

  16. john mcginnis:

    Oddly a baseball bat propped next to the front door with red stains on it seemed just as effective.

  17. CapnRusty:

    Too bad you lost "Joy." She must have been quite the gal for you to go and make a headline out of it, all these years later.

  18. dad29:

    When my oldest daughter's first date came by, I happened to be cleaning my H&K at the kitchen table. Pure co-incidence.

    However, EACH of the younger daughters then, in turn, specifically requested that I be 'cleaning' my 9mm at the exact time their boyfriend was first expected to stop by.

    I had the cleanest 9mm in 4 counties, and daughters who still laugh about their BF's reaction(s).

  19. richard:

    In Japan you have a similar ritual: The Katana. The japanese sword which is traditionally displayed in the living room or as a decorative piece in the hallway.