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10 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter

Copyright 1998 W. Bruce Cameron
Please do not remove the copyright from this essay

When I was in high school I used to be terrified of my girlfriend’s father, who I believe suspected me of wanting to place my hands on his daughter’s chest. He would open the door and immediately affect a good-naturedly murderous expression, holding out a handshake that, when gripped, felt like it could squeeze carbon into diamonds.

Now, years later, it is my turn to be the dad. Remembering how unfairly persecuted I felt when I would pick up my dates, I do my best to make my daughter’s suitors feel even worse. My motto: wilt them in the living room and they’ll stay wilted all night.

“So,” I’ll call out jovially. “I see you have your nose pierced. Is that because you’re stupid, or did you merely want to APPEAR stupid?”

As a dad, I have some basic rules, which I have carved into two stone tablets that I have on display in my living room.
Rule One:
If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two:
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four:
I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate: when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five:
In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is “early”

Rule Six:
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven:
As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight:
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter:
- Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool.

- Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight.

- Places where there is darkness.

- Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness.

- Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat.

- Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chainsaws are okay.

- Hockey games are okay.

- Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine:
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten:
Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy outside of Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car-there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

NOTE: If you still have the guts to date my daughter, complete the “Permission to date my daughter” application here.

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77 Responses to “10 Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter”

  1. April 30th, 2008 at 12:43 pm #Atro

    Jeez, I guess your daughter will turn out to be a lesbian. How happy will you feel about that?

  2. April 30th, 2008 at 1:31 pm #AC

    Or she’ll snap from the utter lack of trust to make her own decisions and just never tell you even if she has orgies at the back of a car park.

  3. April 30th, 2008 at 2:19 pm #Kak

    Yeah, seriously, I tell myself I’m going to most likely be an overprotective father, but NOTHING this bad! Reminds me of my fiancee’s father/makes me glad she lived with her uncle. XD

  4. April 30th, 2008 at 2:48 pm #cj

    I would feel very happy about his daughter being THE lesbian that helped my girlfriend and I explore the finer points of a multiple person sexual encounter.

  5. April 30th, 2008 at 3:40 pm #jackass

    bet you have a small penis

  6. April 30th, 2008 at 4:28 pm #Guest

    Atro, it’s a joke. (and people can’t choose to be gay, they start out that way)

    I like it.

  7. April 30th, 2008 at 6:26 pm #Jeepers

    Atro is a lesbian!

  8. April 30th, 2008 at 6:56 pm #Wendy

    Oh please these archaic supposedly humorous little essays about big bad dad proclaiming his ownership over his daughter and scaring potential boyfriends to bits are tedious and sexist.

  9. April 30th, 2008 at 8:32 pm #Jasper

    what the fuck

  10. April 30th, 2008 at 10:16 pm #TeaAddict

    I belive the Author of this post was being Sarcastic.

    It’s about how silly both boyfriends and Fathers of teenage daughters really are.

  11. May 1st, 2008 at 12:33 am #Ben

    Hilarious! Great wit.

  12. May 1st, 2008 at 5:00 am #relationship defender

    Well… every father would have laid down those rules, still I don’t think anyone abides.
    And the guy telling these points probably never dated in his days

  13. May 1st, 2008 at 5:47 am #Ender

    Hahahah what A list xD, Lol to Astros comment.

  14. May 1st, 2008 at 6:14 am #Trvst Me...

    I know… Someone had actually given this to me to read one night on a highschool date. How foolish I was to believe that he came up with it himself. I was so completely shocked at it that the first opportunity that came along, I nailed his daughter and then dumped her because I did not want trouble. She ran away from home and then got knocked up by some guy shortly after. She decided to keep it in the end and he looks kinda like… wait… Nah, couldn’t be…


  15. May 1st, 2008 at 7:38 am #Claudio

    wow yeah, that’s pretty tough.
    While I do agree on some rational points, I think you might cool it off a bit.

    P.s. : I hope all of this was sarcasm and some kind of over the top humor that some people like. If not…take a deep breath because your daughter WILL have, at some point, a sexual relationship…

  16. May 1st, 2008 at 8:10 am #Dan

    Stealing material is wrong. Stealing material without attribution is VERY wrong. The original author has been notified…I’d take it down, soon.

  17. May 1st, 2008 at 8:14 am #Dan

    Oh and if he doesn’t take it down…the author’s name is W. Bruce Cameron

  18. May 1st, 2008 at 10:07 am #becky

    if i had a dad in my”teenage” years, i’d want him to be like you. high five, good job, your awesome. :D :D

  19. May 1st, 2008 at 12:49 pm #Victor

    @Dan, we received the article from a visitor of the website. The article is copied from the source you’ve mentioned and it seems that the guy that sent it to us added 2 more rules (the last 2) and removed the first paragraph.
    I hope the current shape of the article is ok.

  20. May 1st, 2008 at 1:15 pm #mugwump

    Grouchy posters above – meet irony. Irony meet grouchy posters.

    You clearly have never encounter each other before…

  21. May 1st, 2008 at 2:17 pm #W. Bruce Cameron

    Hello: I actually didn’t write the last two rules, they were added by someone else. I very much appreciate Dan watching my back, and am fine with the essay being posted with my copyright.

    This went on to become a book and then the TV show 8 Simple Rules starring the late John Ritter. In April, 2008, I published 8 Simple Rules for Marrying my Daughter, which will be a movie next year produced by Wendy Finerman. Thank you very much for supporting my work!


  22. May 2nd, 2008 at 6:45 am #Sal

    Wow. You people are idiots. This post has been circulating for years. I can’t believe someone would actually write to the supposed author and say “your daughter is going to turn out to be a lesbian.” I have a favour to ask. Please remove yourselves from the gene pool. You don’t have to die, just get sterilized. Thanks.

  23. May 2nd, 2008 at 6:54 am #Nevi

    Geez dude…
    Dont you think you´re a bit oldfashion?!
    Its peeps like you,that make the world a different place to be!
    Try to have a nice day,and no I have no interest in your poor daughter.;)

  24. May 2nd, 2008 at 6:43 pm #diana

    I liked the kind of father that you are. I believe any man with a daughter should care as much…We lived that way too as I have 4 daughters none of which are lesbians and only the tuff guy stuck around. None else mattered. I might add an addition that worked for us as well…When the guys come to pick up your daughter..just have them sign a 6mm bullet in case you need to go looking for him. We have several signed bullets so far we haven’t needed to go looking for him :) Now that my girls are married we just hang onto them in case. Thanks for the story it was great!! And to the author of this..thanks for your inspiring words.

  25. May 3rd, 2008 at 3:05 pm #curious

    oh, God, this is HILARIOUS!:D I’m a daughter of a great father and I kind of see him as the Big Bad Dad;) And it makes me laugh;)
    P.S. To all the people who took this post seriously: get a grip! it’s a JOKE!

  26. May 4th, 2008 at 4:33 pm #Val

    I liked it.
    It was entertaining and cute!
    And it shows that you love your daughter!
    I loved it!

  27. May 4th, 2008 at 11:57 pm #Matt

    wow. i didn’t know they allowed internet usage in the cookoo’s nest. i’m sure you’re old enough to know the reference from the movie that i’m mentioning, since you speak of this agent orange.

  28. May 5th, 2008 at 2:28 pm #Michael

    I’d be more than happy to tell you that I would be bringing your daughter home “early.”

    EARLY in the morning.

  29. May 6th, 2008 at 2:10 am #kimberly

    if i was your daughter i would never tell you anything
    i would hate you
    and this would diminish our entire bond

    i hope this is a huge joke like everyones saying.

  30. May 6th, 2008 at 6:09 pm #KW

    My dad was just as tough. My 2 sisters are beautiful, yet they were both virgins when they married. They are thankful to the old SOB still to this day.

    I have a daughter now, and the same rules apply as the old man’s.

    Some old values still need to stick around — because they protect our girls. Regardless of how free everything has become today, we still need to protect our kids.

    I have a special baseball bat in the closet the old man passed down, and it will be put to use if need be. Thanks dad, you old bastard.

  31. May 6th, 2008 at 8:45 pm #Samantha

    Yes, its a joke, and a funny one. My father gave me a safe word to saw if I needed the cops or a ride, discretely. Something vague like “The Peaches are ripe.” or “I miss mom’s Chili.”

  32. May 7th, 2008 at 12:54 am #CM Effer

    Now see, this seems like it was made to be humorous with no truth behind it. Funny thing is, well..

    That WAS my grandpop (my grandparents raised me).

  33. May 7th, 2008 at 10:01 am #Maox

    You people are so goddamned retarded. This is hilarious stuff.

  34. May 8th, 2008 at 11:00 am #TV Guide

    This is hilarious. I will be the same way with my daughter if not worse its only fair

  35. May 8th, 2008 at 2:15 pm #Antiques

    thats pretty funny. typical sitcom humor, but well done.

  36. May 11th, 2008 at 4:59 am #JoblessPunk

    I’m always afraid of meeting the dad. Even if hes the nicest person in the world I aways have that feeling that he thinks I’m “stealing” his daughter from him.

    lolol <3 the comments, better than the article!

  37. May 11th, 2008 at 3:45 pm #Brunhilde

    Hahahaha, I LOVE this!
    I am the daughter of a father who will be totally like this (when I deem someone worthy enough, teehee). And yes, my chastity is very important. Mess with it and if my father has not killed you and buried you in the Everglades, it will be because I got to him first. :D

    To those to took him seriously, OH MY GOSH, have you ever heard of satire? I mean honestly! Yes, if he’s really this anal I would be upset, but for crying out loud. This is so obviously one of those chain letter-style jokes it physically hurts me to see you whine. Pffft.

  38. May 13th, 2008 at 5:20 pm #Bremer

    The theory behind these points is sound but mostly the author just sounds like an uptight douche.

  39. May 14th, 2008 at 8:04 pm #Laughing Hysterically

    You guys huffing and puffing that this guy is a jerk or being an asshole are either stupid or got beat up by someone’s father. It is OBVIOUSLY a joke and a good one at that. Get a grip, people! Hell, if fathers were a little more strict with their daughters nowadays, we probably would have less teenage pregnancies and less skanky dressed teenage girls roaming the world. I thought this was funny.

  40. June 17th, 2008 at 10:00 am #missgreenbean

    I love this. It makes me think of my own dad.
    I honestly think the more parents care about their kids, the more strict they are. I mean, my own father was horrible when it came to dating. But Thank God someone had some sense about the matter, because I sure as hell didn’t.
    Thanks to Ole Bobby, I’m now dating the best guy on the planet. But not without some hassle.
    I’ve dated some real losers, and Dad was always there to tell me just how much he hated them. Although I didn’t always listen, I usually ended things with the boys he didn’t like.
    There is nothing harder than trying to date someone your Dad hates.
    It’s like trying to convince a charging bull that you’re really not wearing red… it just doesn’t happen.

  41. July 10th, 2008 at 1:56 pm #akray

    My daughter has always known that she will date by these rules and it is not a joke. It may be all in good humor but then humor is a great softener of any harsh blow. As a girl growing up, my parents failed to place any safeguards around my dating years and I was prey to every sexual preditor out there. My daughter is not going to fall into that same pitfall. Believe me, not having these rules is far worse than having them. They are blunt and to the point and if more parents were serious about parenting, these rules would be the prevalent force in our teenagers’ lives. And if you think it blocks communications between parents and daughters, think again. Too many parents stop being involved in their children’s lives too early. My daughter and I are closer than most parents and daughters, not farther apart. If you use love and humor in all you do to protect your kids, it doesn’t interfere with communication. And old-fashioned? There are four incurable STDs out there, guys…and at least two of them are unaffected by condom usage. I’d say this is more timely than ever, not old-fashioned. The only safe sex is no sex. Thank you very much.

  42. July 16th, 2008 at 10:21 pm #liz

    wow what a dick this guy is. “he made me feel bad so I’m going to make it worse for this guy… DURRRRRR”

  43. July 27th, 2008 at 4:13 pm #chuck 69

    omg…some of you people need to lighten up….it was not an essay…it was a joke… and unless you have a daughter, and are a father…you wouldn’t understand the humor in it anyways…..i was a “hungry” little boy at one time…so i know what those little boys wanna do with my daughter…just like i wanted to do to others daughters when i was young. but either way, it was still a joke, and should be taken that way….grow up, or get a sense of humor

  44. July 28th, 2008 at 1:55 pm #stephanie

    these rules are based on a book.
    I dont believe the author is actually serious.

  45. August 7th, 2008 at 8:39 am #GWEN


  46. August 12th, 2008 at 11:10 pm #Relationship advice that makes a difference

    Enjoyed your post. I\’ll stop by again soon for more tips.

  47. September 16th, 2008 at 6:42 am #febllins

    They is sense!!! Only the blessed will get sense

  48. September 16th, 2008 at 6:50 am #chanks

    You pipo out there this is just a joke dont take it so serious you might have BP

  49. September 16th, 2008 at 6:55 am #febllins

    They is sense !!!!! Only the blessed will get sense

  50. October 2nd, 2008 at 10:17 am #RatsAss666

    I just leave the Harley in plain sight and answer
    the door in my leathers and our Rotti siting behind me,
    and all is well

  51. October 3rd, 2008 at 7:10 pm #Kittycat

    hehehe, my mum’s partner sent her this, and says he lives by rule nine. he IS going to be the all knowing, merciless god of my bf’s universe, when I have one. personally I don’t have a problem with these rules, excepts number eight would make the date a bit uncomfortable. however I liked the ‘parents, policemen or nuns’ one.

    I feel that these rules would stop any deadbeats from hanging around, if they had a problem with the rules then byebye! only decent guys would be able to see the point behind the rules and therefore act accordingly.

  52. October 12th, 2008 at 12:36 am #ashe

    I wish I had someone to say these things to my dates. You girls with dads like that should feel priveleged and loved to have someone who cares so much for your happiness and wellbeing. And if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, then just wait until your first love breaks up with you and there’s no one there to ask (even jokingly) whether or not you want them dead.

  53. October 18th, 2008 at 1:12 pm #Me

    Have none of you any idea what a ‘JOKE’ is? This isn’t literal, chill. It’s just a giggle o_0

  54. November 20th, 2008 at 3:40 pm #Eric

    Kudos, this is hilarious !

  55. March 17th, 2009 at 4:14 pm #electronic cigarette

    My husband tells my daughter’s dates “Any thing you do to my daughter, I will do to you.”

  56. April 1st, 2009 at 8:14 pm #K

    So, how many cows is your daughter worth? This has far too many undertones of violence, rape, possession of your daughter’s sexuality. Maybe, just maybe, her body is her own, not yours.

  57. April 5th, 2009 at 10:25 am #LeAnne

    notice only the people we don’t want near our daughter’s are the ones who didn’t like this..the reasons we put these rules in effect lol. several of the losers we reject for our daughters are right here! Now to get rid of the rest! lol

  58. April 8th, 2009 at 6:59 pm #Steven

    I’ve never given this a try, but I think it’s about time I do.

  59. April 17th, 2009 at 10:04 am #Dad

    Well everyone. Despite what you might think, i know a dad who posted two of his Marine buddies at the door outside on full dress while his daughter watched from a distance. The poor smuck who arrived to say the least respected the daughter and the father. Kept his pants zipped and eventually married the girl. Others of you know well and the testosterone runs thick in young men. Sometimes it takes a little reality check to get a clue beyond a dumb buck in rutting season understand that unless you’re married to the girl, you stay off the body of another guy’s potential future wife. In addition, if a gal does not care how this portrays to a father, then this really does not matter and se missed learning real values for life and she will learn in time.


  60. April 20th, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I think any Dad would appreciate these rules.

  61. October 24th, 2009 at 3:14 pm #Russ

    20 bucks says his daughter is pregnant by 20. Guaranteed.

  62. January 8th, 2010 at 12:00 am #E Cigarette

    haha, when it comes to daughters i’m the barrier too

  63. January 11th, 2010 at 3:48 pm #mstar

    lol, this is funny, and the guy that gets his daughter is going to be awesome cause he stuck through to the end, the author reminds me of my dad

  64. February 9th, 2010 at 9:38 pm #nineseas

    Then I lean in and state in a low, but firm tone, “…and remember…if you hurt my little girl…I have no problem going back to prison!”

  65. February 16th, 2010 at 9:36 pm #The Dad

    My motto is whatever you do to my daughter, I do to you!

  66. March 12th, 2010 at 9:15 am #Kraig Lingelbach

    Hi – It’s great to find such interesting writing on the Internet as I have been able to fiind here. I agree with much of what is written here and I’ll be returning to this website again. Thanks again for posting such great reading material!!

  67. March 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm #Dreher


  68. April 25th, 2010 at 11:17 pm #Quietus

    Seriously folks. At least the rules show that the father CARES. Any guy who stuck around after these rules were imposed would certainly be a man of wax. Myself, I would have no objections abiding by them, Simply because I know how I feel about guys who want to date my sister. All I say to them is that there is no problem they can cause that a dull, rusty machete can’t fix.

  69. June 17th, 2010 at 1:51 pm #WTF?

    I would rather her be a lesbian than hang with the self-centered, lazy, sexist, chauvinistic douchbags that seem to make up 98% of the teen male population.

  70. June 22nd, 2010 at 2:02 pm #ALEX

    I love it… a lot of humor, but at the same time expressed the concerns and length a dad will go to protect his. I’m keeping this one till she’s of age… another… 15 years.

  71. July 19th, 2010 at 7:02 pm #Danie

    this is more than being to protective, I think this daughter was so gorgeous that the father wanted her for himself.

  72. July 20th, 2010 at 3:18 am #lacy

    i find this quite hilarious! i mean ofcourse this guy isnt serious, my dad jokes around like this all the time but then me and my boyfriend just joke right back with him. i find these dads to have a good sense of humor, a wonderful personality and i bet him and his daughter have a WONDERFUL relationship, i know i think my dad is just awesome and i just think of world of him

  73. July 20th, 2010 at 1:03 pm #Joshua

    Anyone with a daughter will surely agree… mine is only two and already im suspicious of little boys… my friends little girl just started high school so we’ve had many discussions on the evil things to do to little boys that hurt our little girls…

    As funny as it may be and covered in humor as it maybe … its sorta serious, any father that says otherwise should really stop and think about how much his daughter means to him…and moms you dont have to agree. Its fairly common for guys to over react especially concerning our little girls.

  74. July 28th, 2010 at 2:39 am #Suzie

    You sound like an asshole.

  75. September 11th, 2010 at 10:58 am #RoxyLynn

    AHAHA. i would hate to be your daughter. but funny stuff:)

    and FYI– scary movies, still bad:P just like amusement parks, the thrill causes excess endorphins:)

  76. March 14th, 2011 at 12:21 pm #kara jo

    my dad is exactly like this. but it works. daddys always want whats best and until they know hes the right one he is going to be overbearing and protective. it a law of nature. and my husband will be the same way with our daughter when the time comes.

  77. March 23rd, 2011 at 6:16 pm #Spofford

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    That is wonderful piece of info i was looking for online for ages. I see you must have put a number of work into it and that i already bookmark itto come backright here for others Thanks for sharing.

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