Rules For Dating My Daughter


Tumblr-Kristine SpeareWhen I saw the buzzy Tumblr photo by Kristine Speare of her dad’s “Rules for Dating My Daughter” t-shirt, something bothered me about it.

I get why it is popular. The dad-joke that says “Sure, date my daughter. I’ll spend the time you’re out cleaning my gun,”  never resonated with me … and always seemed a little insulting. (And I was always glad I didn’t have to deal with that dad.)

But this guy makes a couple of critical errors. First, his “feminism” feels like a cop-out.

     When I saw his t-shirt I immediately wondered: Does he mean this?


Second, his “feminism” looks like sexism in disguise, like her body is a sex object.

      After all, no one would applaud if his t-shirt said this:


I too am a father of daughters … four, actually (and five sons!). So I got to wondering what my t-shirt would say. It would have to be something that respects the whole person, doesn’t just reduce dating to sex, and applies to both partners.

     Maybe this is what my shirt would say …


The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Tom Hoopes is writer in residence at Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas, where he teaches in the Journalism and Mass Communications Department and edits The Gregorian, a Catholic identity speech digest. He was previously editor of the National Catholic Register for 10 years and with his wife, April, of Faith & Family magazine for five. A frequent contributor to Catholic publications, he began his career as a reporter in the Washington, D.C., area and as press secretary for U.S. House Ways & Means Chairman Bill Archer. He lives in Atchison with his wife and those of his nine children still at home. The views and opinions expressed on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Benedictine College or the Gregorian Institute.

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