She dresses up in her best frock and dons a handbag. He brings her a posy of flowers and is wearing his ‘good’ shirt. He tells her she looks “pretty”.
Then, he takes her out for a milkshake. Just her. He holds the cafe door open for her as they enter and pulls her chair out for her. He’s the perfect gentleman.
As she sips on her shake, he tells her that this is how she deserves to be treated by a man when she grows up and starts dating. One who treats her ‘like a lady’, compliments her on her looks and picks up the tab. She nods and smiles. His heart swells and hurts at the same time. No one is ever going to be good enough for his princess.
The ‘date’ is sweet and they both enjoy this special time.
Is it really cute or maybe a little creepy?
I know these daddy daughter ‘dates’ are not meant to be romantic.
I know it’s just all pretend play and dressing up – and is there any child who doesn’t love that?!
It’s a bit like having a tea party or standing in a box and pretending to be a pirate at sea with your little loves, right?
So maybe it’s just a bit of harmless fun.
Or is it a bit creepy to be pretend-dating your own child?
It’s not about the word ‘date’
These days any time we spend together is called a ‘date’
‘Play dates’ between toddlers are a thing, ‘mum dates’, where you go to the movies with another mum are a thing, and if I was to spend some one-on-one time with one of my sons, I might even playfully describe it as a ‘mummy-and-son date’.
So it’s not so much the labeling the time dads spend with their daughters as a ‘date’ that creeps me out – although the fact they are role playing an actual date kinda does – it’s more the thinking behind the daddy-daughter date that icks me.
Date a guy like me
The thinking behind the ‘date’ goes like this:
“My daughter is a princess and deserves to be treated with respect. I do not want her dating the ‘wrong’ kind of guys when she eventuality grows up and starts dating in the real world. So I am going to teach her what the right ones look like, according to my standards, and how a man should treat a woman.”
Now looking beyond the fact that dad wants his daughter to date a guy like him, which is a little narcissistic, what’s so wrong with wanting our daughters to have standards when it comes to men and to value themselves?
I just don’t think girls need to date their dads to learn this.
Teach by example
How about dads set the bar for the daughters by being the kinds of men we want our sons to be when they become partners?
The kind of guys who will make excellent, supportive, loving partners and dads.
I’m talking about men who pull their weight around the home and don’t leave the mothers of their children feeling burnt out, unappreciated and undervalued by all the domestic disparity.
Men who respect their partners daily and prove this in everyday acts.
Men who listen. Like really listen.
Men who know a woman has a right to choose – including the ‘kind’ of guy she decides to date, break up with or have a baby with.
Men who don’t expect women to be submissive and allow them to call the shots. To be the ‘man of the house’ so to speak.
Men who hang out with all their kids, no matter which gender, simply because they want to spend time with them and build their relationship – not distort it.
What a little girl needs in her life is a father, not a suitor.