I am a man in his late 20's. Is it still appropriate for an adult courtship to begin by asking the lady's father's permission to court his daughter? I feel more comfortable talking to men than women, and it would give me more courage to talk to a lady if I knew I had made my intentions clear to her father. Would it seem completely inappropriate though?
On a more profound level, I feel caught between two ways of engaging in the search for a wife. On the one hand, I can see the advantages of the old-fashioned ways, with their strict stages (father's permission, followed by a period of courting (chaperoned) then a period of 'walking out' (unchaperoned), a series of parties at which the man and woman's friends offer their advice, then another permission from the father, then engagement, leading quickly to marriage) which I can see would lead quickly and efficiently to marriage, and is deeply rooted in tradition and community. On the other hand, the one and only serious relationship I have ever had was much more spontaneous and romantic, we didn't make a contract, we were in love with eachother, and, although I'd be more careful not to over-step the line this time, it felt like a relationship I could care about, and we got to know eachother on our own terms, it never felt like a burden or a duty. I also worry that going too 'traditional' is in fact about living in a fantasy world which no longer exists, even in mainstream Catholic parish communities.