The title of this post has everything to do with a bit of advice my Dad gave me when I turned sixteen and I was deemed old enough to start dating—in groups at that time—but I’m getting ahead of myself. Dad had certain strict rules and gave me scads of advice when I began to go out on dates.
The Dating Rules:
My dates had to come to the door for me and meet my parents rather than honk their car horns. They had to get Dad’s stamp of approval or I wasn’t going anywhere with them. [Did I mention Dad was hard to please?] If any of my dates made the mistake of discussing politics with Dad, look out. One of my dates and Dad got into a discussion of FDR, one of Dad’s personal heroes. My brainy honor student date opined that FDR was a socialist whose policies were undemocratic. Dad nearly burst a blood vessel, called my date a communist, told him not to return unless he apologized and was waving the American flag, and then Dad gave him the bum’s rush out the door [Use your imagination to guess how popular I was in high school.]
If the date involved a form of entertainment of which Dad did not approve, I remained at home for the evening. I wasn’t allowed to patronize the neighborhood’s family tavern with my friends until I turned eighteen. All they did was dance to the music from the jukebox and drink Coca Cola. Big whoop.
If my date brought me home after my curfew [10:00 p.m.], there would not be another date with him, and I would be grounded for a month. On one occasion when my date and I were out with two other couples, the car in which we were riding broke down about an hour from home. Cell phones weren’t available yet, so we split up and went from house to house asking permission from homeowners to use their phones. They must have thought we were gang members because they either peeked out their windows at us or wouldn’t open their doors. Finally, one woman opened her door a crack to one of us girls, leaving the security chain on, and eventually agreed to call for help for us. We got a tow, and I arrived home after midnight. No excuse was good enough, not even when the other five backed me up. [At that point, I believe I resigned myself to being an old maid.]
Safety and Self Defense:
When out on a date—group, double, or single—if I left my beverage unattended, Dad said I was not to drink from it upon my return. It might be drugged. I was to leave it and get a fresh beverage.
Should a date get too familiar, Dad said the knee is a very effective weapon if directed at a certain part of the male anatomy. [He even demonstrated the technique and had me practice, protecting himself of course.]
Dad advised me not to believe everything my dates told me. He assured me that a guy would say anything and promise everything to get a girl to go to bed with him. [I had to wonder if Dad’s was the voice of experience talking, but I didn’t dare ask.] Dad said to take flattery with a grain of salt and keep those legs crossed.
I was also to beware of the guys who were perfect gentlemen on the first date. Dad said it was a safe bet that they were lulling me into a false sense of security. Then he mentioned one more thing, and it seemed almost like an afterthought, “And whatever you do, never trust a hand kisser.”
Dad never got around to explaining in greater depth at the time. Why would Dad warn me not to trust a hand kisser? I didn’t get it, not until we were watching an old classic black and white movie on TV one night. The suave, snake in the grass villain who was out to ruin the heroine took her hand gently in his and kissed it, all the while looking soulfully into her eyes as if to say, “Your virtue is safe with me.”
Dad harrumphed and said, “That son of a [bleep] is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” He shook his head and grunted. “Women. They can be so dumb when it comes to men. She thinks he’s such a gentleman, so continental, and he’s just out to take advantage of her.”
That’s when it registered at last. I said, “Never trust a hand kisser. Right, Dad?”
Dad smiled at me and nodded. “Right, Sweetheart.”
See that, folks? I’m coachable.