“Why you gotta be so rude,” croons Canadian band Magic! in their chart-topping hit, “Rude.” It’s based on a true story about the lead singer, Nasri Atweh, getting rejected by his girlfriend’s dad after asking for his blessing to marry his daughter.
Dads everywhere might groan in response and say, “Hey, it’s not rude - it’s protective. There’s no way some loser is going to marry my daughter.”
In a YouTube video parody of the song that has garnered more than a million hits since it was posted four days ago, parent duo Benji and Jenna Cowart presented the parents’ side of the story, explaining, “You say you want my daughter for the rest of her life, well you’ve gotta make more than burgers and fries.”
In the parody, the dad even threatens to get a gun and “do hard time” if the boyfriend marries his daughter anyway.
Threats of physical violence aside, this song completely resonated with me, both because of how I was raised, and how my husband and I are looking ahead to raising our daughter as teenager.
Though our daughter is only a toddler now, my husband has big plans for intimidating her boyfriends when she gets older, and we’ve already had heated discussions over whether mini skirts will be allowed when she’s a teenager. It’s clear he sees that protecting her from creeps as a key part of his role as a father.
My own dad, while a bit more subtle, also took his protective role seriously. Though he never weighed in on whether I should be dating certain a boyfriend or not, his presence was clearly felt whenever a boyfriend came over for dinner. The boyfriend would be quizzed on his political and religious views, regardless of whether I had been on one date with him or 20. For my dad, those were the two areas that were most important to be able to discuss intelligently. (My husband definitely keeps my dad on his toes whenever they discuss politics or religion.)
More than his verbal intimidation, I clearly remember a giant antelope head mounted on a wall right near the front door. There was zero chance anyone could miss it, and without fail, every boyfriend made uneasy comments about it.
Suitor: “Uh… did you kill that?”
Dad: “Yes, in fact, I did – in Wyoming.”
Suitor: “Oh wow, it’s big . . .”
Dad would follow with, “Your head will be next if you hurt my daughter!” He’d then let out a big belly laugh as my boyfriend cringed and attempted to laugh nonchalantly.
The battle between dads and boyfriends continues – resulting in what are sure to be clever songs from both sides for some time to come.
There’s still room for another parody – the girl’s point of view. I suspect that while she’s annoyed by her dad’s interference in the moment, she’ll be grateful for his help in weeding out the candidates, once she eventually finds her ideal match.
Thanks Dad – you really helped me avoid picking a dud – with the antelope head as a sidekick.