You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics

by Elizabeth

5M4B disclosure

dave barry

Heeeeee’s back! I don’t know about you, but I used to love reading Dave Barry’s weekly column in my local paper, back in the day when we got the paper. I discovered his books, collections of his columns, and avidly read those too. But in recent years, we’ve drifted apart. I don’t know if he hasn’t been writing as much or if it’s the lack of a paper in my life, but although every New Year’s I google his “Year in Review,” other than that I haven’t read much new stuff in about 10 years.

So I was thrilled to see he’s back, nattering on about parenting and other topics he knows very little about, in as fine a form as ever.

This new collection is great. He takes his 13-year-old daughter to a Justin Bieber concert, he reads 50 Shades of Grey in order to find out what women really want, Mr. Language Person returns to explain grammar to us, Dave, his wife Michelle, and their daughter Sophia tour Israel, and so much more.

Dave’s gift is always to be a kind of clueless Everyman who ends each story with something unexpected. He explains that “It turns out that the noise teenage girls make to express rapturous happiness is the same noise they would make if their feet were being gnawed off by badgers.” (p 12) His take on 50 Shades of Grey (which, for the record, I have not read) is hysterical while confirming in my mind yet again the many reasons I don’t want to read it. “This is the kind of book where, instead of saying things, characters muse them, and they are somehow able to muse them matter-of-factly.” (p56)

Dave is 65 now (I know!) and contemplating his own mortality, mostly thanks to the mail he gets, and the commercials for Viagra that insist on coming on during family appropriate television. (Aside: I have been amazed at this myself) He makes a comparison chart  for prescription drugs whose names sound like characters in The Lord of the Rings (p.86).

The title of You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About comes by way of explanation: Sophie is not allowed to date boys til she’s 40. “This is the only rule I’ve laid down for her and I think it’s reasonable, based on the known scientific fact that boys–even intelligent, thoughtful, loving, sensitive and caring boys–are scum.” (p 87) And he plans to monitor her closely even after she commences dating–even if he’s dead. As he explains in the introduction, this book covers a variety of topics, but the publishers rejected many of Barry’s title suggestions such as Dave Barry: A Dave Barry Book, by Dave Barry or Dave Barry: You Probably Thought He Was Dead.

You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty explains how to be manly in various situations, how to become a best-selling author, and how to walk backwards off a cliff without sending anything unfortunate down onto the heads of those below. It explains how to avoid run-on sentences, which Barry shows are sentences that continue beyond where they should have stopped. While it may sound like a practical book, its best use is to provide hours of enjoyment to the whole family. Because I don’t know about your husband, but mine loves it when I snort, quietly to myself and in a lady-like fashion of course, and then insist on sharing with him a snippet of what I’m reading. But I can tell you that right now, next to me on the couch, my daughter is discovering Dave Barry for the first time and is snorting with laughter herself. And sharing snippets with me.

Hours of fun, this latest book shows that age hasn’t slowed Dave Barry down a bit! It’s a delightful read, highly recommended.

Win it

Best of all, one of you can win a free copy for yourself. Follow the instruction in the widget to enter. Start off by leaving a comment telling me how old you were when you had your first date.



Email Author    |    Website About Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a voracious reader with eclectic tastes who loves being part of the team at 5 Minutes for Books. She's lived in 7 countries and is currently in Oregon, where she spends most of her time with Iraqi refugees. She has 3 teens.

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mark February 24, 2014 at 2:34 am

I was 17 when I had my first date.
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2 Bin February 24, 2014 at 8:46 am

I love Dave Barry! Would love a copy of this. Thanks!!

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3 Nicole Robinson February 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

I was probably pretty old before my first date. I remember a lot of group dates with my parents and cousins in tow. So romantic, right?
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4 Theresa Ramus February 24, 2014 at 7:38 pm

I went on my first date when I was 12 years old.

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5 Christine L. February 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I was 18 before I went on my first date. Late bloomer!

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6 Sue Eckhardt February 24, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Dave does a LOT of stuff throughout the year. I post whatever I can find out about on a Facebook page that I manage. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/145749861758/

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7 Susan P. February 25, 2014 at 12:29 am

I was 14 when I went on my first date.

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8 Head_Smashed_In February 25, 2014 at 3:15 am

*snork* at “…and other topics he knows very little about.”

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9 Susan Kelly February 25, 2014 at 7:09 am

I was 17 when I had my first date.
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10 Patricia February 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

I was sixteen.

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11 Chatmal February 25, 2014 at 9:11 am

I’m a big Dave Barry Fan! I even saw his band play loudly once!
I was about 15 when I first dated, but I’m not even sure we were totally alone then!

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12 Annette W {This Simple Home} February 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

I think I was fourteen. Maybe.

EEEEK!

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13 James in NC February 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

Believe it or not, I was 35. Married her when I was 36. I’m now 65 and we are still in love.

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14 Lynette February 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

hmm, maybe 18?

Would love a copy of Dave’s book!

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15 Rhonda February 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

Sweet sixteen&it
was sweet.

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16 GreenEyedDaisy February 25, 2014 at 11:19 am

I was about 12. Someone drove us to the movies.

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17 The Gang's Momma February 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I was a senior in high school I believe. On a date with my boyfriend to Friendlys for Fribbles and fries :)
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18 danielle February 25, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I was 16 when I had my first date

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19 Judith February 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm

i love his book: dave barry does japan. my first date : 19. and it took me til 39 to get married.

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20 Pamela j February 26, 2014 at 3:58 am

I was about 15 on my first date and it really wasn’t a real date. I went with a friend and her cousin so she could date her boyfriend.

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21 Linda Meyers-Gabbard February 26, 2014 at 6:32 am

I wasn’t allowed to date until I turned 16. I was asked out for the first time at 15. Two weeks shy of my 16th birthday. I had to turn him down. I was told no.

The next time I was asked out I was 17. We went rollar skating.

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22 K. Finn February 26, 2014 at 6:38 am

I think I was about 16-17.

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23 Debbie February 26, 2014 at 11:14 am

I was 15 when I first started dating…I was also a senior in high school at the time (skipped grades) and I felt like I was way behind everyone else!

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24 Terra Heck February 26, 2014 at 4:02 pm

I was 13 when I went on my first date. I watched Turner and Hooch at a movie theater with a boy. Thanks.

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25 JEN February 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I had my first date when I was 17, but with our daughters, 40 sounds about right.

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26 Dorothy February 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I was 16 when I had my first date

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27 vickie couturier February 28, 2014 at 11:35 am

I was 15 an it was a double date,wasnt allowed to single date until I was16

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28 Susan Smith March 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I was 16 when I had my first date

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29 Sara S March 2, 2014 at 5:33 pm

I think I was 15 or 16….

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30 Shannon Baas March 2, 2014 at 8:23 pm

I was around 16

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31 Ann F March 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I think I was 16 when I went on my first date

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32 Xty Cruz March 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm

I think I was 15.

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33 DarcieN March 3, 2014 at 3:53 am

Without my parents knowing, 15. With my parents knowing, 16.

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34 Kristie March 3, 2014 at 8:49 am

I must have been 17…I went to prom :-)
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35 ron frampton March 3, 2014 at 5:23 pm

I was 14 when went on first date

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36 Shelton March 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

The first real date- I was 16. It was the best of times and the worst of times.

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37 Mihaela Day March 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm

I went on my first date when I was 12 years old :)

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38 Claudia March 4, 2014 at 11:25 pm

I was 16 when I went on my first date,Thank you!

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39 Michelle C March 5, 2014 at 3:13 am

I was around 15 for my first date but my daughter will be 21.

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40 Karen T March 5, 2014 at 6:24 am

I don’t want to read Fifty Shades of Grey either.

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41 Amanda Sakovitz March 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I was 14 when I went on my first date.

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42 lisa March 5, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I was eighteen :)

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43 Thomas Murphy March 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm

I was 16 when I went on my first date.

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44 amy f March 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

I was 15 or 16

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45 Cynthia C March 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

I was sixteen when I had my first date.

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46 Danielle hall March 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

ummm 17 i believe

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47 Kati March 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm

16 I believe! Looking back I probably wasn’t ready, but “everybody else was doing it”

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48 Daniel M March 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

don’t remember 15 or 16

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49 katie k March 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm

18 or 19 – late bloomer! :)

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50 Heather B March 7, 2014 at 12:53 am

I was 15 I believe, maybe 14

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51 Belinda Shaw March 7, 2014 at 5:16 am

I was age 16 on my first date.

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52 Karen Drake March 7, 2014 at 6:38 am

I was nineteen when I had my first date.

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53 Brenda Robinson March 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

I was 18 years old

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54 Charlene March 7, 2014 at 6:42 pm

I had my first date when I was 13 years old :)

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55 lori Walker March 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm

16, that was how old i was on my first date.

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56 Angela W March 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm

I was 16 years old

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57 susan smoaks March 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm

18 years old on my first date. i was a late bloomer. i am tony l smoaks on rafflecopter.

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58 Brenda Elsner March 8, 2014 at 12:01 am

I was 16 when I went on my first date.

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59 emily l March 8, 2014 at 12:26 am

I was 12. :) And it was Titanic.

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60 Renae C. March 8, 2014 at 8:39 am

I was 19 when I had my first date. It was awkward and weird. I am actually very happy that I waited as long as I did.
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61 Misha Estrada March 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

I was 14, and it was a double date.

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62 Carl White March 8, 2014 at 11:52 am


43, no, but too old to remember. Does getting fondled by your teacher count?

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63 Jane H March 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I was 16 and he was 17. We went to the school dance together.

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64 Nick H. March 8, 2014 at 3:44 pm

I was 14 when I had my first date!

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65 Wes Hovorka March 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

I was about 15 years old.

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66 Sand March 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

I was seventeen.

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