Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla.
— Jim Bishop
When a teenage girl has a date, the date always comes over to pick her up, and because it takes women forever to get ready, he ends up spending some quality time in the living room with her Overprotective Dad
. Depending who the audience is sympathetic towards, we either watch a domineering tyrant taking this opportunity to brutally intimidate the crap out of the poor kid, or we see a loving and indomitable guardian instill some much-needed restraint into a disgusting teenage male
— a vile creature he remembers only too well.
Topics of discussion may include Dad's gun collection, combat experience or prison time, or perhaps the mysterious, unfortunate fates of the daughter's former suitors. The date will become emphatically aware of the daughter's curfew, as well as the fact that he is dating Daddy's Little Girl
, and that if he ever does anything to hurt her
, he will live only long enough to regret it.
Generally, the girl is cheerfully unaware of her father's threatening of her date. Though in modern works, there's an increasing trend towards Genre Savvy
girls intentionally leaving Daddy alone with her boyfriend to invoke
The name is a pun on Perp Sweating
, a situation this is probably intentionally meant to echo. A bit of a Dead Horse Trope
in fiction these days, as almost all modern instances will be heavily lampshaded
, but it remains Truth in Television
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- A commercial for a cell phone company has the girl's father showing the suitor his daughter's cell phone contacts. He comments that their entries are next to each other, and it's like "[He's] watching you, all the time." He continues to mouth "All the time" at the couple as they walk away.
- A commercial for Oscar Meyer deli meats is showing all the times a man says no (before he says yes to Oscar Meyer bacon, of course). A wannabe gangster shows up to his door, asking for his daughter. He takes one look at him and says no.
Anime & Manga
- Bill Engvall includes this in his stand-up comedy routine, claiming to tell his teenage daughter's new boyfriend, "I've got no problem going back to prison."
- Phil Jupitus in his Quadrophobia show:
I've got me own problems. I'm a dad, I've got two daughters, and the other day the eldest brought a boy home for the first time. And I think it's safe to say that I reacted quite badly. She came in and she went "All right, Dad? This is Billy" And I went "Billy?" [twitch] "You go and put the kettle on, darling, while I talk to Billy". She went out of the room, and I went up to this Billy, and I said "If you so much as touch her, I'll cut you". So this Billy starts crying! Still, that's seven-year-olds for you, no spine.
- Christopher Titus had to deal with some of this from his new girlfriend's family - her father was a Marine sniper, and her brothers both work for Federal agencies. He mentioned their seeing one of his shows where he joked about how, if he screwed up, you'd hear on the news that his body was found in 5 states - "Federal agents are baffled". Their response? "They'd never find ya."
- And on his first meeting with her father and brother, his parting advice was this.
Brother: Yeah, and don't bother running! You'd just die tired.
- In New Warriors, Marvel Boy gets this treatment from Firestar's father on their first date. (The fact that Mr. Jones is a normal human that Marvel Boy could smack down without lifting a finger makes absolutely no difference to the intimidation factor.) She's apparently used to it, only smiling and commenting that he used to be worse.
- In Gold Digger by Fred Perry, Theodore Diggers is the master. As it's put by his adoptive daughter Brittany, "Some dads polish a shotgun in front of their daughters' dates. My dad magically sets his head on fire." He even quips "Mind if I smoke?"
- Done with several entertaining twists in Secret Six; the "twerp" is an good-natured adult lesbian, the "innocent girl" is the team leader and an immortal badass, and the very "overprotective dad" is Bane.
- A The K Chronicles strip starts off with Keith doing this to his mother's date, but then the date starts talking about how much he respects cartoonists and what a shame it is when newspapers cut them. In the last panel, Keith asks the visitor whether he needs a condom.
- Happens to Peter the first time he arrives to take Denise out in FoxTrot.
- This trope is incredibly common in Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfics, with nearly every named character getting in on the action in one fic or another.
- Combined Force sees Spike and Giles join forces to scare the living daylights out of Dawn's date.
- The series The Chosen does the same thing with the whole gang; Dawn's date is mostly completely smooth and prepared in the face of all their questions...except when Giles enters and goes a bit Ripper on him.
- Gender Flipped Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change with the Light. Instead of the Overprotective Dad threatening his daughter's potential boyfriend, in this case the Overprotective Dad is threatening his son's potential girlfriend. Andrew Reilly hates Mary Jane Watson and bluntly warns her to stay away from his son Ben, threatening to make her life very miserable if she doesn't stop dating him. Ben himself is not amused when he finds out.
- Quite a few 2007 Transformers movie fanfics assume that Ironhide adopts the Lennox family, becoming "Uncle Hyde" to Lennox's baby daughter, even Twerp Sweating her prospective dates. Most of the time he uses a holographic projection (usually of a very big and scary man), but occasionally he Twerp Sweats the hapless boys in his alt mode.
- A memorable Supernatural fic called That's My Story involved Sam Winchester winning an informal dorm competition that started with a neighbor's crazy father doing this to a boyfriend, and something about a really long multiple-choice test before prom. Then they manage to draw Sam out, and his story has Dean epically trolling some school friend of Sam's who came over to do homework, with a knife covered in blood and Ominous Latin Chanting.
"And then I jumped up and started yelling at him, but I was yelling in Latin, and he started yelling back, so we were having this huge fight, and in the middle of it Wendell just kind of snuck away and never talked to me again."
Films — Live-Action
- A good part of the premise of Meet the Parents was Robert De Niro blurring the line between Twerp Sweating and Perp Sweating.
- Subverted in Twilight the movie, when Edward is obviously not intimidated by Charlie, Bella's dad. Though Charlie is the sheriff, not to mention cleaning his shotgun at the time... none of that really matters, as it's not at all close to an even match physically or mentally.
- Uncle Buck
- A variant appears in this movie, where Buck realizes his niece's boyfriend, Bug, is only interested in sex and sets out to scare him off, constantly talking amiably. It's actually creepy:
Buck: We can talk about burying the hatchet. You know what a hatchet is, don't you, Bug?
Bug: It's an ax?
Buck: Sort of, yeah, yeah. I got one in my car if you'd like to see it.
Bug: I'll pass.
Buck: Fair enough. I like to carry it, you never know when you're going to need it. A situation may come up say for example, someone has been drinking, and about to drive a loved one home, then I'd like to know I have it. Not to kill, no. Just to maim. Take a little off the shoulder. Swish! The elbow. Slash! Shave a little meat off the old kneecap. Fowap! Ooooo! You got both kneecaps? I like to keep mine razor sharp. Sharp enough you can shave with it. Why, I've been known to circumcise a gnat. You're not a gnat are you Bug? Wait a minute, bug, gnat. Is there a little similarity? Whoaaa, I think there is! Ha ha ha. You understand what I'm talking about? I don't think you do. I'll be right back. Heh heh heh heh.
- And when Tia tells Bug that Buck is "all talk", Buck produces the hatchet from the trunk of his car! He later gets to make good on the spirit of his threats (if not the letter) when the kid does turn out to be a slimeball who's only interested in getting it on and takes some liberties with Buck's niece... by practicing his golf. And using the kid as a target.
- One of the absolute best examples is in Bad Boys 2 where Marcus and Mike threaten the hell out of Marcus' daughter's date Reggie. Cluster F-Bomb and N-Word Privileges ahoy. Mike threatening the poor boy with anal sex. Mike then pulls a gun on him. Reggie looks like he's about to cry by the time Marcus' daughter comes to the door. It must be seen to be appreciated. Even better, the poor boy playing him had no idea what he was in for. The fear is quite genuine.
- From Clueless: "Anything happens to my daughter, I have a .45 and a shovel. I doubt anyone would miss you." Doubly funny because the father spends most of the movie buried in his work. His entire perp-sweating consists of the above line, during a (very) brief break from his work. Not that he had to worry about that particular guy.
- Analyzed and ultimately subverted: Castle gets all excited at the opportunity to terrify his daughter's prom date... but his daughter intercepts him before he can greet her date at the door with a fake severed head. The trope is discussed further when Ryan and Castle reflect on the things the fathers of their prom dates did regarding this trope — which leads the previously clueless Beckett to come to the dawning realization that when she was getting ready for her date, this is what her dad was doing.
Beckett: Now you mention it, he looked terrified. All this time, I thought he was scared of me.
- Then played with further in the episode "Punked", when Castle does it by accident. He doesn't realize Alexis's friend Ashley is a boy, and walks in waving a very large antique revolver. note The boy is, understandably, rather disconcerted.
- Then Kate's father does it to Castle in a deleted scene. Though it's mostly Castle's fault. This is entirely in keeping with Castle's Man Child tendencies - the character is in his late 30s or early 40s, but often acts like someone who would expect to be Twerp Sweated.
- In Season One's "The Coach's Daughter", Diane notes that her father was very prone to this.
- In one episode of Just The Ten Of Us, Wendy recruits a ringer to pass her father's "dinner test", then drive her to meet her real date. All the sisters want to actually date the ringer, as he is played by a young, charming Matthew Perry.
- 8 Simple Rules. Number Six: "No complaining while you're waiting for her. If you're bored, change my oil."
- Done once with style in Hannah Montana where after very blatantly hitting on Miley while her dad is in the room, then insulting Robbie Ray's choice of guitars, the date manages to announce that he's not afraid to say that Hannah Montana sucks, prompting Robbie Ray to comment, "Well waddya know, the boy's got three feet!"
- Parodied in Angel, when Angel and Doyle take the opportunity to do this to one of Cordelia's dates... in order to rile Cordelia.
- In one episode of CHiPs, the captain's adult daughter comments to her father about the habit he had of greeting her dates while cleaning his gun.
- Lie to Me: Emily Lightman is the sixteen-year-old daughter of the world's foremost expert on deception, Cal Lightman. She expects her father to pull something like this on her date for the evening, so she makes him promise not to use any "covert tactics" to freak out the guy. But, since she never said anything about overt tactics:
Cal: (opening the door) Hi, Dan!
Dan: Hi, Doctor Lightman.
Cal: Are you going to try and have sex with my daughter tonight, Dan?
- Done in The George Lopez Show when Carmen's first boyfriend is at her house. George tells him that he will be watching him everywhere. Done with another boyfriend when he says that he has another boyfriend buried under the roses and that's what makes them bloom, causing the kid to run out of the backyard. Done again with Carmen's boyfriend Jason, when they interview him but can't find anything wrong with him.
- On Modern Family, Dylan is sitting (uncomfortably) on the couch with Phil, waiting for Haley, watching baseball. Phil makes a comment about one of the players being "stuck at second base, and thinking about trying to steal third, which is just a terrible idea" then turns to him and asks how things are going with Haley. Phil may or may not have even realized the double entendre, but Claire, in the background, seems pleased to see Dylan squirm awkwardly.
- In the pilot, Phil explains his technique of acting perfectly friendly to his daughter's boyfriends, except for giving them a cold, dead stare. He doesn't pull it off as well as he thinks.
- On The West Wing, the first time President Bartlet's daughter Zoey brought a boy home, he was greeted with the immortal line, "Just remember these two things: She's nineteen years old, and the 82nd Airborne works for me." And when Ellie sent her (rather weedy-looking and nervous) fiance to meet the father, Bartlet "just happened" to be flanked by all of the joint chiefs of staff.
- Subject of the Rodney Atkins song "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy):"
Come on in boy, sit on down and tell me about yourself
So you like my daughter, do you now? Yeah, we think she's somethin' else
She's her daddy's girl, her momma's world
She deserves respect, that's what she'll get
Now, ain't it son?
Y'all run along and have some fun
I'll see you when you get back, bet I'll be up all night
Still cleaning this gun
- The subject of Jens Lekman's "A Postcard to Nina", except the tension is because he doesn't want to reveal that he's The Beard.
- Crops up in MegaTokyo to the point of deconstruction; the father is a government agent, and plans on using his connections to commit privacy invasion on a massive scale and follow him very closely. Or was it?
- Subverted in Sandra and Woo: Larissa's boyfriend braces for this when her father wants a talk with him, but the father is all too happy she's dating a nerdy nice guy and gives him tips on how to avoid sinking the relationship instead.
- Ash's father in Misfile uses a sausage and a pair of scissors to tell Rumsiel why sleeping with Ash would be a bad idea.
- In a Crossover between Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks, Melissa's "Daddy", Dakota, does this to Ace, offering to show off "his" sword collection.
- Surveys suggest that most parents aren't actually too worked up about their teenage children dating (provided this is at a reasonable age), but some parents still do invoke this trope. Especially the dreaded "what are your intentions?" question. There is no right answer.
- Some US presidents have used the Secret Service to do this. That must be fun.
- A questionnaire once stated that to test your daughter's new boyfriend, you are supposed to stare at him for an uncomfortably long amount of time. If he nervously breaks eye contact, you have established dominance and he passes the test. If he stares back at you, you have a problem.
- Just keep it short, sweet and simple. "She cries, you die...have a good time!"
- Doctors and veterinarians have been known to sharpen their personal necropsy kits at the particular part of the evening when the boyfriend comes to pick up the doctor's daughter but before she's ready. Suffice to say, the large, ludicrously sharp blades leave a very lasting impression.