I see a lot of "Rules for dating my daughter" essays out there, most of them usually involve guns or God or ridiculous, fluffy sweet bullshit. There aren't as many about dating our sons, maybe because we see girls of dating age as fragile, innocent creatures and boys are only after that one thing. What a load a crap, this notion that boys aren't as emotionally vulnerable and girls can't look out for themselves. We still have such a long way to go on the whole equality thing, don't we? In the spirit of equality, here is my take on the dating rules.
If You Plan On Dating My Son, Know These Things
1. He's not a doormat because he treats you well.
He treats you well because that's how he is expected to treat you and he knows that if his father and I find out otherwise, the wrath of God will look like a love fest by comparison. Being a gentleman does not translate to being a pussy.
2. Good manners are also not a sign of weakness, nor are they an attack on your feminist sensibilities.
He will do things like open doors, help with your coat and walk you to the door because it's polite. He grew up saying "please", "thank you" and "you're welcome", you'd do well to incorporate those phrases into your vocabulary as well.
3. Make sure we, his family, like you.
You do not have anywhere near the influence over him that we do at this point in his life. We will win in the long run if it comes down to it. No one on this earth knows him like we do and no one loves him as fiercely. Learn to participate in our conversations and laugh along with us and we will welcome you with open arms. We will protect him from anyone we see as dangerous and we do not forgive easily. We can be either your best allies or your worst nightmare.
4. This is for both boys and girls: KEEP THE INTERNET OUT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP.
Your relationship has legitimacy even when it isn't "Facebook Official", seriously. Posting your every date, fight, conversation and sexual experience is not only unnecessary, it's stupid. As you well know, everyone in the world has an opinion and the vast majority of the time, theirs will not mesh with yours. This causes stupid drama and only makes everything worse. If you thrive on that sort of thing, you will spend a lot of your time angry or crying and no one likes to be around someone like that for very long, it's exhausting and annoying. They're called "personal relationships" for a reason...they're personal!
5. Be yourself from the very start.
If you hate football, video games and zombie movies, say so right away. Don't pretend to like them at the beginning and try to wean him off the things he loves once you've got him, it's dishonest, unfair and confusing as hell. If you have nothing in common and are only dating him because he's cute, is a superjock or the most popular guy in school, the relationship is doomed from the beginning. Be honest about who you are because he'll find out eventually.
6. Become proficient at at least one video game, sport or some other "guy" thing.
It'll blow his socks off and make you the most fascinating creature he's ever met.
7. Don't keep him on the string while you keep your eye out for someone better.
He deserves a girl who wants to be with him because he's a great guy. And don't sleep with his friends, chances are he will forgive them faster than he will forgive you. Being drunk is no excuse for acting like a slut, seriously.
8. If you dress like a tramp, I'm going to point it out, to you.
We all know you are young and have a hot body. NEWS FLASH: I did too, before I got old and squishy and had kids and began to care more about dressing for me than for boys. I'm sure you have lovely boobs, I don't care to have them hanging out at my dinner table. If your skirt/shorts are tiny enough that I can see your underwear preference, I will offer you a pair of sweat pants to wear while in my presence.
9. Don't cling, physically or otherwise.
You do not need to know where he is, who he is with and what he is doing at all times, that's my job and I've been doing it for years. I do not need or want an assistant. It's okay to be out of touch for a while, it allows for a more interesting answer to the question "How was your day?". Unlimited texting is a plague.
You also do not need to be physically touching each other every moment you are together, especially if you're in the presence of other people. It's rude and can make people uncomfortable. I'm all for hand holding and sitting close to one another, but there is a time and place for the other stuff. Seriously.
10. Having his baby means you have to deal with me for the rest of my life.
I won't be one of those uninvolved, uninterested grandparents and I will not allow my son to be an uninvolved parent. If you don't like me in your relationship now, imagine dealing with me until I die. I will meddle, judge and interfere, I promise you this.
Many of these rules can be seen either way, they are universally applicable for the most part. I don't need a gun or God to scare the hell out of someone, I'm an Irish Catholic mother of two, I have a million tricks up my sleeve. Passive aggressive is my birthright.