I hope you set aside time today for some dedicated cringing, because 19 Kids And Counting was on last night, and we got to see Jill Duggar‘s first date with her now-fiance, Derick Dillard.
First dates are uncomfortable enough in normal life, but this one should be a lot easier to watch, right? After all, we know how things end up: with the two of them getting engaged and finally being allowed to hold hands like the lovestruck youths that they are. And yet it was so very rough. And not because of Jill and Derick, who actually seem surprisingly well matched, especially given the circumstances — because of Jill’s dad Jim Bob tagging along and supervising like the world’s most creepily-invested chaperone.
The kids had known each other and been talking for a couple months, but they hadn’t been able to meet yet, because Derick was doing humanitarian work in Nepal. So up until this point, their relationship had consisted of monitored Skype sessions. Enjoy the heebie-jeebies you’re about to get:
“About three months ago, Derick called and we were visiting and I just got the idea that I really believe that Derick and Jill would probably hit it off and so it may have been a little going out on a limb asking him to contact her, but I really thought that something might work out here.”
Ah yes, what a natural way for your twenty-two year old daughter to move into adulthood — with what’s essentially an arranged marriage.
When the two of them arrive after a thirty-six hour trip, Derick is waiting with flowers, and they sneak in a quick side-hug (allowed) with a gentle rest of Derick’s cheek on the top of Jill’s head (borderline!), and after the Duggars nap off their jet lag, they set out on some one-on-one-on-one time as Jim Bob trails them around the city for some sight-seeing.
“I really felt like the third wheel. I stayed back about twenty feet or so, close enough that if Jill needed me I was there, but hopefully not close enough to interrupt their relationship because they are considering each other as possibly a life partner, as someone to spend the rest of their life with and I’m just kind of maybe a future father in law that’s kind of checking him out, but I felt like the most important thing is for Jill to check him out.”
Yeah you’re right, you’ve definitely figured out what the most important thing is. For you to give your daughter a full twenty feet of space while she meets someone whom there’s immense pressure on her to spend the rest of her life with. But as it turns out, Jill’s opinion is only secondary anyway, because she’s not even the first person who gets asked whether she wants to court Derick. He has to run it by Jim Bob first.
“It’s a big step, we went through this with Josh, kind of being the guy that went after a girl, first time I have been through this, I guess Jessa started courtship, but I know you guys seem pretty serious and Jill really likes you, I wish Michelle was here too so I could talk to her about it. You know, I really feel like if Jill is fine with it then mom and I will be fine with it. So I tell ya what, why don’t you ask Jill.”
I TELL YA WHAT WHY DON’T YOU ASK JILL. What a novel concept. And as it turns out, she’s not even that into it, saying:
”At this point I’m really enjoying getting to know him, I’ve never been this interested and this close to somebody, but if Derick asked me to court him, I don’t know actually, I’m still praying a lot.”
Good thing she came around! Otherwise it would’ve been really inconvenient for Jim Bob!
Meanwhile, back at home, Michelle herself is teaching another one of her daughters, Jessa, how to stifle her own feelings for the benefit of her man! Jessa feels like the boy she’s courting, Ben Seward, is very emotional and makes grand gestures, which she’s not super into. So you know what you should do, Jessa? Absolutely nothing, just learn to do it his way, for he is the man:
“The way that he expresses love is probably the way that he receives it as well, and on your part you will probably practice learning how to express that love language that he needs to hear from you to him and it’s a learning process.”
At which point Jessa agrees with her mom and says that her sisters are ‘training her’ to be more receptive to his…shall we say unwanted attention? This just gets worse and worse.
(Images: DCL for TLC)