Last night, I had a date with my mom. She was bribing me to water her plants this week while she attends a conference in Denver. She’s probably hoping that a really nice dinner will inspire me to do my best to keep those darn plants alive. Last year, she went on a trip and most of her plants died – mainly because I forgot to water them for four days. A few weeks ago, I attempted to make up for this disaster by fastidiously watering them while she was away for some reason or another. Somehow, the plants not only survived but flourished! Pleased with those results, Mom asked me to care for them again and so we went to dinner last night.
While Mom talked to one of her former students, now a waitress, I looked around at the other restaurant patrons. I love people-watching and there were some interesting people seated near us. My gaze fell on a table across the room where a man sat with a little girl, presumably his daughter. She was dressed up in a pretty pink outfit with her hair styled all cute, and he wore a dress shirt and tie.
It reminded me of the daddy-daughter dates my dad used to take me on when I was younger. I think I was 6 for our first date. I got to wear my favorite Sunday dress – it was blue and a little frilly (I wasn’t a total tomboy). Mom even let me wear a little blush and lipstick. Dad came to the door wearing a suit and actually rang the doorbell. He gave me a flower and then, after “meeting” my mom, escorted me to the truck. I don’t remember where we ate but I remember thinking it was fancy. Dad told me stories from his childhood – like the time he was punished for blowing up a mailbox that he didn’t blow up – and listened to me talk about my hopes and dreams. After dinner he took me for an ice cream cone, and we drove around town a bit. He made sure to get me home at a decent hour and kissed me goodnight.
Dad taught me important dating lessons on those dates that I use to this day whenever I go on a date.
1) Let him open the door for you. Dad may disagree with me, but I don’t think less of a guy who doesn’t open the door for me. However, I’m really impressed, and thrilled, when a guy does. The one exception is when I’m getting out of a car. I dated a guy, Josh, who insisted I let him open the door when I got out of the car – I hated sitting there while he walked around the car to get my door. It seemed so illogical.
2) Let him order first. Dad said that some guys may take issue with this – you know, the whole “let the girl go first” principle – but he said to insist on ordering second. He taught me to select different items on the menu that I might like; one that’s low-priced, one mid-priced, and one that’s a little more expensive. According to Dad, what the guy orders, and specifically how much it costs, will give me an idea of how expensive my order can be.
3) I inherited the gift of gab from my dad, and it was Dad that taught me how to hone it. I learned how to ask questions, how to listen, how to talk about myself, how to talk about basically anything and everything. I learned to place a lot of importance on talking, maybe too much, but for the most part, it’s been a really good thing.
4) Dad told me that a true gentleman will always walk me to the front door. He also warned that this can lead to an awkward moment or two, but that the sign of respect is worth the possible discomfort. I didn’t really understand what he meant until my first date with Josh when I wondered if he was going to kiss me or not. I don’t know if he would have; I decided I didn’t want him to so I didn’t give him a chance. It was a little awkward. However, I really appreciate it, a lot, when my date walks me to the door. Fortunately, Dad also taught me ways to cope with the awkwardness of the front door scenario.
5) Dad always ended our dates with a kiss, but thankfully I didn’t pick up the idea that every date should end with one. Instead, he managed to instill in me that holding hands and kissing should be accompanied by deeper feelings than usually felt on a first date.
I really enjoyed those dates with my dad. I was such a daddy’s girl.
I still am.