Commentary

Dad’s dating rules for 1991: ‘No touchy-feely’

asnow@newsobserver.comJune 28, 2014 

I recently stopped in at The Reader’s Corner, Raleigh’s treasure house of used books.

A book lover could spend a half day there browsing through the shelves. But equally entertaining is the plethora of material left in the books by their former owners and posted throughout the book store.

One of the most fascinating documents was some father’s handwritten list of rules for his dating daughter in 1991.

1. No going to a house where boys are present. For an exception, have the chaperone call me.

2 . No dating boys I haven’t met.

3. An 11 p.m. curfew.

4. One night a week out and not on a school night.

5. Sunday through Thursday, 1.5 hours of not talking on the phone. Pick a specific time and let me know when. Must be between 7 and 10 (ex., 7-8:30, 7:30-9, 8-9:30).

6. Proper behavior only. Act like you are worth something. Goodnight kiss only – no making out, no touchy-feely, etc.

7. Specific exceptions require my approval.

8. These rules will be tightened or relaxed on specific evidence of responsibility, maturity and good judgment.

You young readers might compare your dad’s dating restrictions to those of yesteryear and either be grateful or decide to appeal the dating dictates of your own parents.

Pick the right bee

Reader Dick Holmes responded to my mentioning the myth that if you hold a bumblebee in your hand without getting stung, you’re in love. I had mentioned that I was stung when I did that to see if I was truly in love with my first-grade sweetheart.

“I catch bumblebees with my hands in front of neighbors and friends just to see their reaction,” Holmes wrote. “You need to know that bumble bees with a yellow spot on their face will not sting. Try it. I promise you won’t be stung.”

Bluebirds galore

A reader has asked me to explain the “bluebird mania” sweeping across North Carolina. I’m not sure I can.

Not many years ago the bluebird population had decreased by 90 percent, according to the N.C. Bluebird Society. Causes of the decline included the wide use of crop pesticides, the birds becoming trapped in the heat of flue-curing tobacco barns and even the replacement of wooden fences, a favorite nesting place, with metal ones.

Thanks in great part to Tar Heel residents’ avid courtship of this beautiful bird, the population is now rapidly increasing.

Readers frequently e-mail or call me to breathlessly announce, “We’ve got bluebirds!” with the same sense of pride that they might brag, “My folks came over on the Mayflower.”

A pair of bluebirds on your premises is one of nature’s highest compliments.

Bushy-tailed Grinch

After my column on squirrels’ crimes against humanity, horror tales from victims poured in.

Bill Rothwell of Cary lamented that the bushy-tailed Grinches every year at Christmas delight in gathering the bulbs from his outdoor illumination decorations.

“They once went so far as to nip off the sockets and store them in an empty flowerpot,” he complained.

Boyhood shenanigans

The recent column on my generation’s self-created forms of recreation prompted Jim Steagal of Greensboro to describe a practical joke his father and a cousin as kids played on Jim’s grandfather.

“When my Paw and his cousin, Lowell, found Grandpaw snoozing in his front porch rocker, they’d unhitch his overall galluses and run them though the rocker’s back slats.

“When Grandmaw called, ‘Supper’s ready,’ Grandpaw would try to bounce up and go, much to the delight of my dad and his cousin, hiding in the bushes nearby.”

Insensitive dad

The Father’s Day column on parents who never learned how to say “I love you” to their children registered with many of you.

One reader, still haunted by his father’s insensitivity, wrote, “When my mother went into labor with me, my father dropped her off at the curb in front of the hospital (in Chicago) and told her to have a nurse call him at his office when the baby arrived.”

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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