When it comes to getting courtship proposals from their fans, the Duggars have plenty of experience. After all, one look at their Instagram comments reveals all the viewers at home who are volunteering to date the TLC reality stars — especially Jeremiah Duggar, one of the twins and the member of the Counting On family who can count the most fans in his corner. But it turns out that getting tons of courtship, engagement, and marriage proposals from their fans isn’t anything new for Jim Bob Duggar‘s family. In fact, the patriarch has been fielding requests ever since they first started appearing regularly on TV in Season 1 of 19 Kids and Counting (though they only had 17 kids at the time).
In an episode from 2008, back when Josh Duggar had just driven down to propose to his now-wife, Anna Duggar, Jim Bob and his wife Michelle chatted with the cameras about when it might be the next kid’s turn to start courting. And then the dad of 20 says, “I’ve already had several guys send emails to me to say they’re interested in our daughters.” Now, we’re hardly courtship experts, but they can’t be how the process normally works, right? We know JB has to approve of the whole process, but as far as we can tell, all courtship requests (our requests to make a courtship request) have to be part of an awkward face-to-face conversation with the girl’s dad. Nobody gets the go-ahead over email.
Jessa Duggar seems to agree, especially since, as soon as the words are out of Jim Bob’s mouth, she’s already rolling her eyes. “Most of ’em are weirdos,” she says without missing a beat, scandalizing her mom who swats her with one hand, forces a laugh, and then mock-punches her with the other. “Well, they are!” she insists, as Jana adds, “They’re creeps.” And considering that almost all of the girls were underage at the time — except for Jana, who was 18 — we’re inclined to agree.
That’s not to say that Duggar fans have never actually ended up courting one of the members of the family. After all, Anna shared on her old family blog how she’d followed Josh and his family in the papers and on TV long before she ever met them in person. And plenty of fans suspect that Derick Dillard and Ben Seewald had both seen the show before getting in contact with the family. Derick reached out to Jim Bob to be his “prayer partner” while on his mission trip in Nepal, and Ben dragged his family out of their way to try going to the Duggars’ church, but rumor has it both boys already had their eyes on their future wives.
Apparently, if you’re a fan and you want to court one of the of-age kids, an email just isn’t gonna cut it. An elaborate scheme to get you close to the family, though — well it just might be crazy enough to work. So won’t someone come up with a plan to whisk Jana away?
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