Social Question

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

How do you feel about boys asking parents' permission to date their daughters?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23110points) November 4th, 2011

Let’s say John wants to date Mary. (They’re both 16.) Trying to be considerate, John asks Mary’s father if it’s okay for him to date Mary. Mary’s father thinks it’s a nice gesture and tells John to ask her out. Mary now has her first boyfriend. Yay, happy story.

Do you also see it as a nice gesture? John is perhaps a little old fashioned and thought it would be polite to ask Mary’s father first?

Or does it offend you and make you think John is treating Mary like cattle or property because he asked her father for permission, instead of being a “normal” randy teenager and just asking Mary out from the get-go?

I think it’s pretty sweet, and wouldn’t have minded if my husband had asked my father for his “permission” or “blessing” to propose to me. My sister-in-law, however, thinks it’s disgusting and archaic and is actually offended by it, saying both the boy and the father are treating the girl like she’s a cow to be sold.

What say you, jellies?

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44 Answers

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Not only must he ask my permission, but he best display his identification, entire school grade history complete with teacher remarks, and a blood sample. Of course he’ll have to wait until my background check is complete. Then he’ll have to beat me in arm wrestling.

I’m so glad I don’t have daughters. I’m sure they’re glad they don’t have me either.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

This reminds me of a Beavis and Butthead episode I saw last night.
Huh huh huh huh may I have your daughter’s hand?

blueiiznh's avatar

Asking to date is different than asking before proposing.

For the blessing on proposal, yes it may be more a traditional thing, but I think its more of a schmoooz move.

For a 16 year old date thing, PSHT! The only concern I would have is from my daughter and if she was prepared for it. Then the concerned Father thing would come out of me and put a fear of God in the boy if he ever did anything I thought about at that age. Double standard, yes. But it’s my 16 yr old daughter.

KateTheGreat's avatar

It’s adorable!

lillycoyote's avatar

I think it’s sweet. I don’t think it’s an indication that he views the girl as property. She is 16, a minor, she is still the responsibility of her father, and mother. I think it show respect for both the father and the girl. That he understands that she is part of a family and that her family, particularly her parents have and interest in who she is dating. I guess I would be happier if he just asked both parents, rather than just her father, the the father is the only more likely to beat the living crap out of the kid if he messes with the daughter, so maybe best to go to him. But, what the heck wrong with a kid showing a little respect and introducing himself to the family. My dad asked for permission from my mother’s father. But it was kind of a different time. 1951. But it was really just a formality, just a gesture of respect toward my grandfather. He and my dad were pretty close and it was pretty clear they were going to get married and that my grandfather would give them his “blessing.” I think it was kind of sweet.

MrItty's avatar

Revolting. John needs Mary’s permission to date her. Mary needs her father’s permission to date anyone. John does not need Mary’s father’s permission. John asking Mary’s father means John does not consider Mary able to make up her own mind.

I feel the same way about asking a father for his daughter’s “hand in marriage”.

Asking for a blessing is one thing. Asking for permission is something else entirely.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I like the general idea because it ups the odds the kids will be accountable to each other, treat each other with more respect if they are first acquainted with each other’s families. It would also up the odds of sorting the “bad seeds” from the dating pool. A guy or girl not really serious, maybe more bored or wanting to score easily isn’t likely to put the effort and time into this.

There’s something to be said about particular old fashioned practices such as matchmaking, chaperoned dating and families (not just guys and dads) meeting each other before their kids jump into dating.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Thanks for the input so far guys. Interesting answers.

This is the same sister-in-law who thinks it’s okay for Christian kids to bully gay kids… I love her, but holy shit.

MrItty's avatar

@Neizvestnaya I don’t understand that logic. If a guy asks a girl’s hand for permission to date her, that does not make me think he will treat her well. It makes me think that once he’s obtained her father’s permission, her own wants and desires are irrelevant, and he thinks that he can do whatever he pleases to/with her.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I find it icky. It’s a bit better if Mary has to ask John’s mother for permission to date him as well, but not much.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think it is very sweet. My daughter wasn’t allowed to go on a date until the boy spent time with us as a family and I had an opportunity to get to know him first. My husband went out and actually inspected the car of the first boy who took her out in a vehicle. She was humiliated and thought she’d die. She didn’t.

Tbag's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies ahahahaahha, your answer made me laugh like crazy! If I was a father, I WOULD REALLY admire a boy who would come and ask permission to date my daughter.

poisonedantidote's avatar

The following logic is the first thing that comes to mind:

1 – You allready asked her… then asking permission is pointless.
2 – You have not asked her… then you are talking to the wrong person.

Furthermore, she may not want her parents to know who she is dating. Some people, such as my self, think that parents have no business interfearing with who their kids date and are very cautious what they tell their parents.

Lets not forget also the more than likely attempt to manipulate. If I was a father with a daughter and some guy came to ask me for permission to date my daughter, I would probably assume he is trying to manipulate me in to thinking he is a good guy who has no intention to screw my daughter, but that is more than likely bullshit, because if I don’t give him permission, what is he going to do? ... Try to screw her anyway, thats what.

But no, I think by the age of 16 it should be between the boy and the girl, the parents don’t get a say. They have had 16 years to tell her and teach her anything they wanted, and this is what it has resulted in. Trying to control young people who like each other, specially by trying to prevent them from seeing each other, is just a punishment without a reason. It is getting in to thought crime and “Minority Report” style thinking.

digitalimpression's avatar

I fail to see how this behavior is anything but respectful and worthy of praise… That said, the odds nowadays against this actually happening have got to be pretty high.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@digitalimpression Actually, I asked this question because it did happen, surprisingly enough! It gets sort of convoluted in the explanation, but here goes: my sister-in-law is married. Her husband has two nieces, age 13 and 16. Just last week, a boy approached the girls’ father and asked permission to date the 16 year old.

Quite refreshing, yes?

digitalimpression's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I think so.. depending on the age of this boy. xD

Linda_Owl's avatar

As long as the daughter thought it was a good idea, then I do not have a problem with it. After all, it is the daughter who has to deal with the situation.


I’m all for it, especially if the boy is under 18. As a father, I would expect a boy that young to get my permission first before dating my daughter, especially as my daughter is still living under my roof and I’m still supporting her.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@digitalimpression It makes the primary people in the relationship the boy and the father, not the boy and the girl that will be actually doing the dating. Shouldn’t the girl get to be the main character in the story of her life? The boy asking the girl, and then the girl going home to all the parents she has and saying “I would like to date this boy, let me tell you about him, and would you be ok with that” is totally different than how the boy just bypasses the girl. And it assumes that the parents absolutely need to ok the boy, instead of letting each family decide for themselves – perhaps the girl has had a fabulous track record in her choice of dates, and the parents have grown to trust her and do not need to ok this specific boy. But it doesn’t let the girl be taking control of her own life and acting on her own accord – but not because she’s underage, otherwise the boy (also underage) wouldn’t be able to talk to the father, only his parents to her parents, but because she’s a girl.

bkcunningham's avatar

I doubt it was some stranger knocking on the door and asking if he may date the daughter. It is most likely someone she knows from school or some outside school activity. If you know the entire story, I would bet that the daughter told the boy he has to meet her parents before they can date and he gathered from their discussions that this would be appropriate.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed Seems like over-thinking to me. I prefer to believe this boy is just respectful.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@digitalimpression And I think that in being respectful to the father, he’s being disrespectful to the girl. I know if any guy I had dated in high school had asked my father’s permission, I would have reconsidered if I wanted to go out with someone who didn’t treat me with enough respect.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed Well that’s why you’re not with such a boy.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@digitalimpression… Ok. I would agree. You said you didn’t see how it could be seen as anything other than respect, I was pointing out a differing viewpoint.

muppetish's avatar

I think it echoes past perceptions that women are property passed from father to spouse. It may not be the intention of the boy, but it comes across as demeaning nonetheless.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed It’s amazing to me that it can be seen as something less than respectful.. true.. and to stretch that even further and call it demeaning blows my mind… but as I’ve said many times.. people are just different…

martianspringtime's avatar

I think it’s a very odd concept. I don’t know if I would take real offense at it – I’m assuming it would be with the intention of getting on the good side of the parents – but I would think it was very strange and would probably question the logic behind it. Should I ask his parents for permission to date him as well? I mean, What makes it a polite thing to do? You’re not asking if you can borrow this or that item from them, or if you’re allowed to come over at so and so time. You’re talking about a person. Definitely a strange concept, especially since assuming the daughter in question is under 18/lives in their household, they’ve probably at least briefly mentioned going on this date already, and have some sort of permission to go out with this kid already.

Aethelwine's avatar

I would think this boy has parents who are very respectful and taught him well. I’d find it shocking, but very sweet and thankful the first date wasn’t with him sitting in his car in her driveway, honking the horn

cookieman's avatar

I’d say, “Johny, it’s very nice of you to ask, but how does Mary feel about it? If you’re not sure, perhaps you should remove your lips from my ass and go have a conversation with her.”

OpryLeigh's avatar

If I was Mary, I would rather he ask me first and then approach my father. Not because I think, by asking Mary’s father first, he is treating her like cattle but because he is being rather presumptious by assuming that Mary wants to date him and, by asking Mary’s father first, he is adding to the pressure.

TheIntern55's avatar

I wouldn’t care. I guess it would be better than not knowing your daughter had a boyfriend. That could possibly turn out bad.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@MrItty: I think the actual boy asking the girl’s father for anything is awkward. I much better like the idea of the boy meeting the family of who he wants to date and that person meeting his family. There doesn’t have to be an asking of permission for anything since as you say, some twisted minds may interpret that to mean they have permission to be jerks.

My thought is the person who will invest time, face time with a potential dates family, the less they are to act out disrespectfully. This doesn’t take into account sociopaths, I know.

digitalimpression's avatar

@cprevite That’s horrible.

@whoever I made the assumption, perhaps falsely that this was not the first time the boy and the girl had spoken… and that the boy was only seeking to make it more of an official “going out”.. It doesn’t seem to me that he’s never met the daughter and is asking the dad for permission without any prior interaction.

Any man who has daughters can appreciate the respect this boy has shown. Were all boys like him then dear old dad wouldn’t have to stay up late at night on the porch with the shotgun waiting for the other type of boys to show up uninvited and just sneak away with his daughter.

To those of you who find this odd.. do you also find it odd when a man asks the father for permission to marry his daughter?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@digitalimpression Yes, that one I find even more abhorrent. Sorry, but there are other ways of showing a father respect, even respect as a father, without having to imply that the father owns and controls the daughter.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Aethelflaed What country do you live in? Just curious.

lillycoyote's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate Just to clarify, do know what may have happened before “John” asked “Mary’s” father if it was O.K. to date her? Did he ask out her first? Did he mention to her that he wanted to ask her father if it was O.K.? Did she have any feelings about it if he did discuss it with her? Knowing that kind of stuff, what was going on between them, and any discussion they might have had about it prior would make a lot of difference here, I think. I mean if the kid asked the father before he asked girl, and I’m having trouble imaging that he did, that would be rather neanderthal, or if he told her he was going to talk her father and she asked him not to, that would be different.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@lillycoyote Yes, he’d already spoken with Mary, and knew she wanted to “go out” with him, so he wanted to make sure it was okay with her dad.

lonelydragon's avatar

I don’t see a problem with it if John already spoke with Mary, but if he goes to the father first, then I agree with @Aethelflaed that he is being disrespectful. Mary’s opinion on the matter is most important. After all, John will be dating Mary, not her father.

Paradox25's avatar

Way too old fashioned for me but I say to each their own. My question here is what about Mary? What if she didn’t want to go out with John in the first place? I’m somewhat old fashioned, I would expect to be the one to propose marriage (as a male), pay for the date (regardless of who did the asking), hold doors, pull out chairs, etc but I’m not as obsessed on the gender related initiation process of dating so much, it is 2011.

My older sister’s former fiance asked for my dad’s hand in marriage, then he ended up burning her really bad. Personally I feel that, especially today, both genders need to be a bit more assertive during the dating initiation process and get away from this conservative masculinist ideology.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Paradox25 No, John had already talked to Mary about it. She knew his “intentions” and wanted to date him.

Pandora's avatar

I think asking is nice. I see where some may think that he needs to ask her first. I’m sure John did just that only the girl probably said her dad won’t permit it unless he is asked.
I don’t see it as he is asking for her, like she is cattle. It sounds to me like he simply wants to state his interest in the mans daughter and wants her father to feel comfortable with the idea of his daughter dating.
It reminds me of when my children would have play dates. I wanted to know what kind of parents these children had before giving my consent and I would introduce myself to the parents of these children before they would come over to play as well.
Dad or mom will be entrusting their daughters safety to this young stranger. So why shouldn’t they know who is dating their daughter. How to reach him and to be able to size up if he is genuine or flacky or dangerous. I would think that perhaps the kid was just raised right.
Of course there is a possiblity he just knows how to con parents and he gets a kick out of conning them and the daughter.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

If Mary is okay with it, it’s fine. I can see how it can be considered cute, but I also understand your sister-in-law’s argument. If a guy asked my father for permission to marry me and I heard about it, I can see myself being embarrassed and turned off.

Nullo's avatar

Assuming that Mary is a minor, her dad is responsible for her well-being. Asking permission isn’t so unreasonable.

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