Rules for Dating My Mennonite Daughter


Well, I see you’ve got eyes for my daughter Sarah. Mrs. Dyck says she saw you looking across into the women’s section last Sunday and she told me after church, “Harold, you need to say something to that Klassen boy.” So, now, here I am, telling to you how it is. I understand that Sarah is getting up there in age–she’s almost 19 already–and I don’t want her to be a spinster forever. So, well then, if you want to date her, you better follow these rules yet.

  1. Sarah’s brother Henry will accompany you on any excursions off the property. You can drive, but Henry will sit between the two of you and select the radio station. No complaining about Henry’s body odour, either. It’s part of the plan.
  2. When you pick Sarah up for Bible Study, no honking the horn from the truck. Come to the door like a gentleman and also bring a freshly-picked ice cream pail of Saskatoon berries.
  3. Stop at Grandma Friesen’s house. This is not just to keep her company and eat her molasses cookies, but she’ll check the genealogy books to make sure you’re a close, but not too close, relative.
  4. Sarah can dump you at any time by attaching a basket on the bumper of your pickup. When you drive down the dusty roads, everyone will know you’ve “got the basket.”
  5. Keep your hands to yourself. I don’t care what you used to do with the cousins behind the barn, but around my daughter Sarah you will remain eight inches, or one hymnal length, away at all times, except, perhaps, to help her adjust her duak before church.
  6. No movies. We don’t watch movies. Not even Fiddler on the Roof yet. The hymn sing provides all the entertainment a young person might ever need.
  7. You must chit-chat with Mrs. Dyck for at least half an hour at the door both before and after each date. Once Mrs. Dyck smiles and says, “nah, yo, dan” for the fifth time, you are free to go.
  8. No free milk. You’ve got your own cow, Junges, so milk it yourself. Our milk stays on our farm. No exceptions.
  9. If, after three months, you’ve passed all my tests, you may ask me for Sarah’s hand in marriage. Then, if Mrs. Dyck has baked enough zwieback to go around, the wedding will be held the following Sunday after church.
  10. You are welcome to move into the shed. As is the custom among Mennonites, you are to spend the first year of marriage in the old chicken coop in the back 40. Once your third child is born you are eligible to move out on your own.
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