Let me preface this by saying that the concept of fathers and daughters building a strong relationship is, in and of itself, a good thing. But surely I'm not alone in thinking several things about the following are just a little weird (and unhealthy):
Girls will have a unique excuse to put on fancy dresses and prepare for a night of ceremony and dancing in Chandler next weekend at the Valley's first Father Daughter Purity Ball.
The First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale and New Life Pregnancy Centers are sponsoring the Sept. 7 event at the Castle at Ashley Manor. Girls and young women ages 10 and older who attend make commitments to live a pure life before God and set personal standards for themselves.
According to event's Web site, fathers also read covenants over their daughters and promise they will protect the girls' commitments and serve as positive role models of purity and spirituality. Their dedication is symbolized by commitment cards the girls sign during the ceremony and white roses laid at the foot of a cross.
"The dads or mentors commit before God to be a living example of purity," coordinator Mona McDonald said. "The daughters are going to try to do their best to honor their fathers' involvement in their life."
... The first Father Daughter Purity Ball was held in Colorado in 1998 by a Christian group called Generations of Light, according to Ashley Ellingson, development coordinator for the Arizona Baptist Children's Services.
"A woman who worked at ABCS heard about these Purity Balls and thought they were a really neat idea," Ellingson said.
... Mona McDonald said about 75 people had signed up for the Chandler event as of Aug. 28, although previous balls in Tucson have attracted up to 200 attendees. She said she chose the Castle at Ashley Manor because of its romantic ambience.
"For a girl it's kind of fairytale romantic," she said, describing the reception hall's new castle-themed building on Price Road. "I can't wait to see their eyes when they drive up."
Mitch McDonald said he feels the ball has become an annual way for his daughters to spend a special evening with their father.
"What really makes me feel good is that I know my daughters are going to be going to dances for the rest of their lives, but the first time they were dressed in a formal, their dad was the first one to slow dance with them," he said.
"I've been able to tell both of my daughters how precious they are to me," he said. "Those are moments in time that are very important."
Somehow, I don't think most girls want their first romantic experience to be with their dad. And I doubt that a slow dance with dear old pops outside of their wedding is going to rank as a stellar memory.
But even if you get past the creepiness of it, it's still a bunch of bunk. Anybody that's seen The Education of Shelby Knox knows where I'm coming from here. If you want to solve the problems of teen pregnancy and promiscuity, don't strap on the chastity belt, but rather analyze the underlying reasons.
"It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge." -- Voltaire