We all know Mama's tough on would-be suitors—skillfully pumping them for information, critiquing their wardrobe, and evaluating their earning potential. But just wait till Daddy weighs in. His “rules for dating my daughter” go on for days, and they're generally aimed at keeping his baby safe and happy—because Southern fathers are as protective as the day is long. And unlike Mama, who disguises her true intentions with polite conversation and leading questions, Daddy puts it right out there. He tells those young men exactly what he's about—putting a quick stop to any thoughts of running roughshod over his girl.
That's why many of a Southern daddy’s dating rules begin with, “If you even THINK about . . .” and end with dire consequences:
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If you even THINK about bringing her home five minutes late,
I’m coming after you.
If you even THINK about pulling up in my driveway
and blowing your horn for my daughter,
you’d better pray your car’s faster than my pickup.
Texas-born comedian Bill Engvall does a hysterical bit in which he warns his daughter’s gentleman caller about what will happen if the young man gets the least bit out of line: “I got no problem going back to prison.”
Being a good father is hard work, and no doubt, daughters everywhere get dating advice from their dads. But in the South, Daddy’s dating tips take on some regional color:
Just remember, honey—long hair, a beard, and a cowboy hat
can cover up a whole lotta ugly.
Never date a philosophy major.
He won’t be able to adjust the timing on your Chevy.
Steer clear of any boys who use more hair products than you do.
Don’t trust anybody who doesn’t like barbecue and can’t light a grill.
If I can see his tattos, he's got one too many.
Some of Southern fathers' best—and sweetest—dating advice is all about making his girls confident and secure (so they can send those boyfriends packing if they misbehave):
Remember who you are.
If he looks at another girl while he's out with you,
tell him to lose your phone number—
and then tell me where to find him.
If you like some boy and he doesn't like you, just remember—
you are not responsible for his stupidity.
Walk away, baby—and good riddance.
Demand to be treated with the same respect we all show your mother.
Keep your cell phone charged, and keep me on speed dial.
When in doubt, come home. Daddy'll be right here.