Ten years ago, Hollywood gave us “8 Simple Rules (for Dating My Teenaged Daughter),” a television sitcom based on a book by W. Bruce Cameron.
Most of these rules predictably promised certain peril to the boyfriend at the hands of the father should certain lines of propriety be crossed; things like casting lascivious glances at said daughter, showing up with one’s pants hanging down around one’s hips … in short, the kind of event that predictably ends with fathers glaring menacingly at young suitors.
While the original rules were meant to be a (mostly) humorous platform for a moderately-successful series, the 2013 versions are taking a left turn on to the on ramp to Crazy Town. First out of the gate came an expanded “10 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter,” which was a spin off of the show, if you want to be generous, plagiarism if you’re feeling less so.
This is an equal opportunity nation, so it didn’t take long for the rules’ little brothers to show up: “10 Simple Rules for Dating My Son,” written by a mom to the unsuspecting bimbo young lady who foolishly dares to date her son.
That’s when I started to suspect that this is what happens when Helicopter Parents lose complete sight of the landing pad. Let’s take a look, shall we?
From the ‘Rules’: “(My son) is a big eater. Frozen dinners do not count.” I don’t know about the author’s Special Snowflake, but for my teenaged sons, if it’s presented as edible, I’m pretty sure it counts, as I’m not sure they stop to chew before heading for seconds.
“On issues relating to my son, I am the queen of his universe.” Last time I looked, monarchs rule at the consent of the governed. Is the Snowflake on board with this one?
The original Rules for boys implied that non-exclusive dating was fine as long as their little princess was OK with it. Not so much for girls, it seems: “If you date my son you date only him… You may only date one of my sons. Ever.” Junior doesn’t get a say in this? Ever?
“I suffered through 42 hours of labor to have him, and will unleash an unimaginable amount of anger such that the movie ‘300’ will look like an episode of the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ should you cross me.”
Me? Cross ME? Isn’t what’s important here, whether my son’s girlfriend crosses HIM? Who, exactly, is dating him in this scenario? And what does this whole list say about the horror show of a future mother-in-law we’re looking at here?
There is one great use for these rules: they serve as fair warning for the poor girl who would date this woman’s son. Run far, run fast, sweetheart.
I have1 Simple Rule for dating any of my children: My children are the ones who have to hang with you, not me. And if my child does something stupid while dating you, I’m going to blame my child, not you, because I raised them better than that.
So no, I can’t buy into any of these rules memos running around the Internet. Except for the one about using a staple gun on the pants hanging down.
I am totally down with that one.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.