Dear Miss Manners:
I took the father of a young lady I would like to pursue to lunch a few months ago, seeking his permission and approval to date his daughter. After an encouraging lunch and conversation about our relationship, we decided that it would be best to wait until she was done with school for the year.
As we parted ways, I was instructed to wait until he told me it was okay to talk with her. Now, months later, I still haven’t heard anything.
Is it wrong to discuss this with him again? I don’t want to come across as impatient, as I certainly believe she is worth the wait, and I trust that he has her best interests in mind. How would you recommend approaching this conversation?
Yeah, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor, too. WTF? He took her father to lunch and asked if he could have permission to date the daughter? And they–the dude and the dad–decided together to wait until the school year was over for the dude to even talk to the daughter? Holy Patriarchy, Batman!
There are a few questions, that, if answered, would provide a much clearer picture of what’s going on here. Is the daughter attending high school? College? Are they from a conservative culture where prospective suitors usually seek a father’s permission first? If they’re from a traditional Indian or Muslim family, or even a Christian evangelical one, that might explain why the dude felt it was necessary to go to the dad, and why the dad apparently negotiated his daughter’s love life over a meal with a relative stranger.
Regardless, I found the whole thing pretty skeevy.
Miss Manners didn’t seem as skeeved as I was–she avoids the obvious “WTF?” response, presumably because of her exquisite politeness. (Exquisite politeness being one of the many areas in which Miss Manners and I differ.) She responds politely but pointedly:
What conversation? The one that starts with the premise that the father is willing and the daughter is eager, but somehow they have neglected to inform you?
Let us hope that the gentleman was charmed or amused or both by your use of the 19th-century formality of asking a father’s permission to court his daughter. Or perhaps you had rather hoped that the daughter was charmed — because one of the two has vetoed the idea. And even in Victorian times, as Miss Manners recalls, daughters would ultimately prevail in such matters.
I especially like the “Let us hope” line, which implies the distinct possibility that the father was skeeved rather than charmed by the dude’s bizarrely retro approach (as both DaddySharper and Bigstepdaddy would undoubtedly have been). Wielding her elegant blade, Miss Manners also deftly skewers the dude by pointing out that regardless of the approach or the conversation, the answer is clear: She’s just not that into you, dude. Now back the fuck off. I give the lady credit for being true to her nom de plume–she’s WAY more mannerly in her response than I would ever be.