So, big, green and warty, I returned to the struggling little fishing village of Santa Monica for another boyfriend inspection.
Here's what I presented to him: "10 Simple Rules for Dating My Millennial Daughter": Rule 1. Must agree that light beer is fine, but decaf coffee is "merely a cup of lies."MORE FROM THE MIDDLE AGES: Fall makes all of us see routine things with fresh eyes, even coffee-flavored onions Our columnist has cargo shorts and a bullhorn: Let the revolution begin!
Must always root for the underdog, prefer baseball to football, jazz to rap, fall to spring, Fitzgerald to Faulkner, pubs to opera, Montana to Marino, tailgate parties to weddings, dogs to cats, Mel Brooks to Albert Brooks, Matisse to Michelangelo, Bartles to Jaymes. By the second date, you must have it memorized.)Rule 2.
Must agree that life is a compilation of elusive little truths that, when piled up like sugar cubes, form the foundation on which everything else in the universe rests. When watching "Wheel of Fortune," must be able to shout outlandish, nonsensical answers that aren't even close. Earlier this year, the 300-pound beagle signed up for Obamacare. He seems to see the vet on a weekly basis now: for fleas, anxiety, warts, depression, insomnia, gout, gallstones, sex addiction, itching, incontinence, low blood sugar, hot flashes and the occasional but aesthetically...
In most cases, it was like shaking hands with a smiling canned ham. The more impressive the girl, the worse her father. I mean, aren't parents the most indecipherable of all human beings?
If your date was Goldilocks, her dad looked like Shrek, big, green and warty. "Of course, that's not exactly what her father meant.
As time passed, you learned to pick up your dates before the cocktail hour, before her dad was feeling extra social and likely to utter the worst words you'd ever heard: "Sit down, son. He meant: "Have I ever bored your folks with pointless stories at lousy holiday parties?"To which I'd then reply: "Yeah, probably."Today, boyfriend inspections are still a part of American dating culture, kept alive by fathers like me with a misguided sense of ownership over their children, the people they love more than anything in the whole world.Once upon a time, callow young men almost always met their dates' dads.This ritual vetting was an important part of protecting the human species from random romantic mistakes.As a new boyfriend, you'd rather get your skull drilled than meet your date's old man for the first time, yet meet him you did.You'd throw your shoulders back and wipe your clammy paw against your sweater in anticipation of his too-firm handshake.