You call them threats; I call them terms of endearment

holding hands

We’ve all heard phrases like “keep your hands off my daughter.” Maybe some of us remember our own Dad using them when we started dating. I do. 

The author of an article titled Please Don’t Threaten My Son For Dating Your Daughter, vehemently opposes the overused concept of protective fathers by saying that it “just needs to die already.” I disagree. While I believe the phrases used by these fathers are overused, I think this author has the meaning behind them all wrong.

As a daughter, and a mother of a boy and a girl, I actually find these phrases to be terms of endearment. When my Dad jokingly said these overprotective things to my dates, we all laughed because we knew he wasn’t being literal. What my Dad was really saying was that I was special to him. So special that it was hard for him to admit that anyone would be good enough to date his little girl. He wasn’t necessarily implying that the man I was dating (or all men for that matter) are  “hormone-drunk sloppy boner-machines.”

The article goes on to say “it’s not ‘funny’ to threaten my son. It’s not ‘cute’ to treat your daughter as if she has zero common sense.”

How are phrases like these anything but harmless? In my opinion, my Dad, who believes all of his jokes are funny, was also trying to find out whether my dates had a sense of humor or not. No one took these phrases seriously. They were always lighthearted icebreakers at the very most. Icebreakers that made me feel special.

My Dad was saying that he was sad to see me grow up, and proud of the woman I had become. One so awesome (no arguments here), that no one could never possibly be a match for his little girl, so keep your hands off until I’m comfortable with it.

I might point out that my Dad never actually followed through with his “threats,” and he was never seen polishing his shotgun when my dates showed up either. 

In the end, he actually made me feel like I was worthy enough to have a great guy in my life. So I did think twice that one time I considered dating a dropout. Maybe I would have followed suit. 

These phrases also go both ways. I’ve often heard the phrase “not good enough for my son.” While this one doesn’t come off as so much of a threat or a joke, I think us parents need to focus on more important issues. If your son or daughter feels threatened by their boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents, they’ll most likely say something about it. Also, I think most parents out there are smart enough to know that stereotypes are just that – stereotypes. Not every boy out there is a hormone-drunk sloppy boner-machine.

So thank you Dad, for showing you cared about me in your own funny way by “threatening” my dates. I ended up finding a great man, who makes our own daughter feel special in many humorous and not so humorous ways too.

4 thoughts on “You call them threats; I call them terms of endearment

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