My Daughter is Dating and YOU can help!

gschwem-i-need-your-help

My Daughter Is Dating and I Need Your Help by Greg SchwemAll the signs are there.  The flirtiness when she enters the gym for volleyball practice; the text messages to names unfamiliar to me; the backseat conversations featuring casual talk about why “who and who broke up last month.”

My 14-year-old daughter Natalie is interested in boys.

And I need to be ready.

I’ve already heard the standard response from friends when I tell them that my daughter is about to start dating: “Better have your shotgun handy.”

Incidentally, why does a discussion involving daughters and boyfriends always lead to a shotgun reference?  Has any father really driven a young male off a front porch with a blast from a Remington?  I’ve never even read a tweet about such an incident.

But am I remotely qualified to select my daughter’s boyfriend on my own?  So many things to think about, so many details to sweat; why it seems that one man can’t do it all by himself.  I need additional input.

I need user generated marketing.

These days it seems every corporation is turning major decisions over to the masses simply so top executives can spend less time in the office and more time on the golf course.  When Baskin-Robbins needed a new flavor, did its ice cream engineers hunker down in test kitchens, mixing and churning into the dead of night?  No, the company hosted an on-line competition, ultimately won by Chicago grandmother Diane Sroga and her “Bunches of Crunches” concoction.

When Aflac Insurance needed a voice to replace disgraced former spokesman Gilbert Gottfried, it invited the public to upload audition tapes to YouTube.  According to the press release:  “The company is looking for someone who can convey an array of emotions while using a single word—Aflac—to help consumers understand that Aflac provides a safety net for policyholders when they are sick or hurt.”

All in one word?   Geez, I was on the phone with my insurance agent for 90 minutes while he explained the difference between term life and an annuity.

Whether improving an existing product (Domino’s), looking for a new voiceover talent (Chicago Cubs) or developing a new jingle (Folgers) companies want to hear from YOU.  Apparently YOU are more resourceful than all their employees.

So I’ve decided the best way to find my daughter’s first boyfriend is to employ a combination of user generated and social marketing strategies.  Boys, if you are between 13 and 16, read on.  If you are over that age, don’t even think about applying or there WILL be a shotgun in your immediate future.

First, submit a YouTube clip stating why you think you should be allowed to squire my daughter around town.  If you have experience in the dating field, tell me.   Also, start lining up an army of people to “like” you when I create a Facebook page.

Your video should be bare bones.  Don’t try and dazzle me with your Auto-Tune or FinalCut Pro expertise.  Remember, you are auditioning to be my daughter’s boyfriend, not her cinematographer. Also, your video should be two minutes MAX!  I’m expecting several thousand entries, many from teens who are only using YouTube for their 15 minutes of fame, a strategy that’s working wonderfully for Justin Bieber.  I know who you are and I will weed you out faster than a dandelion at Augusta National.

You will get two weeks to produce your videos.  During that time, I will create a Twitter account with the name @Natsdad.  Occasionally I will tease my followers with cryptic posts like, “Just saw vid from @CharlieSheen. LUV HIM! #warlock #pornstar.”  These posts will draw the attention of mainstream media.  The Today Show and Good Morning America will bump Bobby Flay and Curtis Stone and their competing risottos to the curb for the chance to interview me.

I will allow public comments on each video.  After all, I’m soliciting opinions from everybody, including those who haven’t entered the contest.  Even if you are not interested in dating my daughter, that should not preclude you from logging on to your PC at 2 a.m. in a totally inebriated state and helping me make my decision by posting comments like, “Is that a wart on his nose?  Ewwww, gross!”

When I have narrowed the field to a dozen I will pitch a reality show to all 4,675 television networks, whose very existence I pay for every month when my cable bill arrives.  The show will be called simply The Boyfriend and I will host.  All twelve boys will live together under one roof for an entire summer, competing in a series of challenges.  One week I will ask them to talk extemporaneously for five minutes without dropping an “F-bomb;” another week they will be forced to navigate three city blocks without a GPS device.

I will judge their attire from the front and the back; if I see even the slightest hint of a butt crack, they are out.

All must blog daily.

Once a week they will enter the “room of truth” and talk to an unmanned video camera.  With voices cracking from the onset of puberty, they will mercilessly rip into all the other contestants in hopes of swaying my vote.

Of course they don’t realize that a three-judge panel, consisting of Dr. Phil, Sharon Osbourne and Anne Hathaway (I’ve always wanted to meet her) will be watching their rants and making witty comments before a live studio audience.  Ultimately however, their opinions are worthless; it’s YOU I want to hear from and you can do so once AT&T opens the phone lines.

I will let two weeks go by before announcing a winner, which should give the media plenty of time to scoop each other by revealing who I have chosen, even though their only source is “a guy who knows a girl whose old boyfriend used to work at FOX.”  The entire nation will be speculating about my decision and it will lead the news every night, even if banks are failing, oceans are rising, terrorists are successfully hacking the CIA’s computer network and William and Kate are seeking an annulment.  Matt Lauer will get to that after Al’s weather. And the cooking segment.

Finally, millions will wake up to a short simple tweet:

“Don’t like any of u. Convent awaits. #nun  #pope  #shotgun.”

2 Responses to “My Daughter is Dating and YOU can help!”

  1. Brenda
    May 26, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    I can relate to your story about your 14 year old girl because I also have a teenage daughter that is 13. What happened to our little babies? I just want to make you aware of a site if you come across bullying or anyone harrassing your child. Mousemail.com is an email and texting for the family. Mousemail filters your children’s incoming and outgoing messages for inappropriate behavior. Any messages that are flagged for harmful content are diverted to the parent for review and approval before they reach your child. Parents can decide wheter or not to allow their child to see the flagged messages. It has done wonders for me and my nerves because let’s be honest; parenting is one of the hardest things that we”ll ever do, but yet the most rewarding. I enjoyed reading your article, thank you!
    Sincerely,
    Brenda

  2. Brianna
    August 5, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi, just found this.

    I would like to share my own story with you. See, I didn’t start dating until college (I’m now 21) and even so, I have a difficult time flirting back with people and actually getting to the dating part. Perhaps this is mostly my fault, but my parents are actually the most to blame and they don’t even realize it (I love them too much to tell them how they screwed up my love life). Back when I was in middle school, when many kids actually start dating and becoming interested in the opposite sex, I was no exception. However, whenever my parents would hear about my friends going out they would make remarks like “oh, but don’t their parents think they’re too young?” Fearing what they would say if I went on a date, I stopped flirting and squashed any attempts of other students trying to attract me. This carried over into high school, when my parents would occasionally say disapproving things about relationships between my friends. My brother actually did date some people at that time, but my parents talked behind his back about each one of his girlfriends and expressed their dislike of them. Naturally, I wanted no part of any of this and remained on the sidelines of the dating world. Only now have I realized how socially handicapped I have become concerning relationships, and people, it is not fun.

    You may therefore want your daughters to stay your little girls forever and chase away potential suitors, but just know that by doing this you are making it just as awkward and uncomfortable for them as it is for you. If you truly love your daughters, you will encourage them to date and act pleasantly when someone comes to the door for them.

    And as for Brenda, the person who commented about spying on your children’s messages… really? If your children ever find out you are doing this it will take a very long time before they trust you again. They may not even let you know that they know, but because of this they will increasingly go behind your back because they will fear your disapproval. Bravo for actively alienating your children and not allowing them to learn for themselves.

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