I am the father of three sons, now grown. When the boys reached dating age, we had a continual conversation about respect. Respect for the girls they were with and respect for themselves. I passed along what I had been taught: When you pick the girl up to go out on a date, do not leave until you have introduced yourself to her father, looked him in the eye, and told him where you are taking his daughter and when you will have her home. Then bring her home when you said you would. Like my father before me, I also let them know that I would be calling the girl’s family to make sure they had done what was expected. We welcomed all our sons’ friends and girlfriends into our home, but no girls were allowed in their rooms and no girls were allowed in the house when no adult was at home. We weren’t hard-asses about it, but everyone — girls included — knew the rules. That is not to say we (or they) were perfect, but we damn sure tried hard. And we struggled. We struggled when the homecoming and prom dates came out in outfits that were a bit scandalous. We struggled when the girls’ parents left the kids alone upstairs “watching TV” in private.
We struggled when the girls had no curfew and kept our sons out past their own. My boys weren’t saints, but I can tell you for certain after watching what my boys went through that being over-sexed isn’t strictly a male problem. Let me ask you this: If you had a brand new Ferrari convertible and you drove it to the wrong part of town, parked it outside a liquor store with the keys in it while you went in to shop for a pint, and you came out to find it stolen, who’s fault would it be? At some point, commonsense has got to matter for something. My father used to say we should avoid the “proximity to sin,” by which he meant we shouldn’t put ourselves in a position where an “accident” might happen and temptation get the best of us. Don’t go out drinking and dancing with the secretaries from work while your wife is at home alone. To this we might add, “And don’t subject anyone else to temptation unnecessarily either.” Don’t make that Ferrari too easy to steal, and don’t let your daughter accidentally subject herself to unwanted attention by letting her dress too provocatively. Sure, it’s her right, but to use another one of my father’s favorite expressions, use your head for something besides a hat rack.