Emily Engaged

Emily Engaged: Asking Dad for Permission

Meet the Parents Movie Still

Hi, I’m Jim, Emily’s fiancé. Emily asked me to write a guest post about the proposal from the male perspective, which I will, eventually (brief summary: males are less surprised). But first, I wanted to write about the lead up to the proposal, particularly the thing that people ask me about the most: talking to her father.

Do people still do that? I’m pretty sure. I did, at least. Why? Respect? Tradition? I think we do it because it’s the right thing to do. Do you ask for permission or ask for a blessing? Great question that I hadn’t considered. See, most of us only do this once, so everybody’s an amateur at it. I’m sure there is a protocol, but every friend I talked to had a different story. The best I can do is offer mine. Well, I guess the best I could do is research proper protocol and report back, but…

I don’t live in the same city as Emily’s parents, so I couldn’t just pop by.  Instead, I stole Emily’s dad’s number from her phone under the guise of taking a picture (note: for this to work, also take a picture), and then chickened out on calling him multiple days in a row because, by far, the phone call was the most nerve-wrecking part. I knew that as soon as I asked if I could fly up and take Emily’s parents out to lunch, and asked for them to keep it a secret from Emily, my intentions would be pretty clear. At that point, it was possible he could say, “Don’t bother, I don’t want you to marry my daughter.” I didn’t think he would say this, but he had rejected one of her sister’s boyfriends before, so you never know.

Instead, he agreed and we made plans. Emily’s mom was visiting us the weekend between the call and our lunch, so I let her dad decide whether to stick his wife with this secret or keep it from her until she got home. That weekend, Emily, her mom and I were having a lovely drink by the ocean when Emily excused herself to the restroom. Her mom turned to me and asked, “So Jim, any plans on coming up north anytime soon?” I couldn’t tell if she was giving me a wink-wink or legitimately asking, so I eloquently responded, “Uhhhh, uhhhh.” At which point she got uncomfortable, and I came clean and told her. She got teary eyed and very excited, and the only thing I remember her saying before Emily came back was, “Don’t let her do something weird, like get married at Disneyland.”

When the day arrived, I told Emily I had to work that Saturday (she was pretty mad), but really I flew up, got picked up by her parents at the airport, had lunch and flew back. The hardest part was remembering not to tell Emily that I saw both Barry Bonds and Carmen Elektra at the airport, because normally, that’s pretty interesting information.

As for the actual meal, we talked a lot about almost everything. I actually had a job at this point (humble brag?) which, as a television writer, isn’t always the case, so that eased the classic, “How will you provide for my daughter?” concern. I learned a lot about them as well, and toward the end of the meal, I brought up the real reason for my trip. I told them that I loved Emily very much and I wanted to marry their daughter, and they were happy to hear it. I don’t know that I really asked for a blessing or permission, but by the end I felt that both had been given.

Image via Ulife.com

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