I’m not worried about meeting your parents.
I know that it’s a big occasion in our relationship – one that confirms that, yes, this is more than just a fling. I know that their approval of me will make things between us run much more smoothly. And I know that if things go wrong, you’ll hear about it from both me and them. But none of that bothers me, because I know that your parents will like me.
I don’t say that because I’m conceited (although I do say other things because I’m conceited). I say it because it’s almost definitely true.
Your parents want to like me. They’ve seen the happy couple pictures of us on Facebook; they’ve heard your friends and roommates say nice things about me and they see how your eyes light up when you get a text from me. Unless they are crazily overprotective (which leads to a whole other discussion) or I royally
screw it up, the first time we meet, they’ll like me. All I’ve got to do is be myself, and use a little of the charm that made you fall for me in thefirst place.
Not that there isn’t strategy involved. I may not be worried, but I do understand the stakes, so I’ll do my homework going in.
First, I’m going to make sure I do all of that chivalrous stuff, like holding doors and pulling out chairs, that I sometimes forget to do. Unless your mom is a feminist – then I’ll slip in a few subtle comments (Hillary 2016!) that show how I’m down with her cause. Add in a few compliments to her cooking (or her choice of restaurant, if that’s the setting) and a nod to what a wonderful, beautiful daughter she raised (with the emphasis on her influence on you), and by
the time I leave, we’ll already have a date set to do it again.
Fathers are usually a little more difficult to win over – they’ve been in my shoes before, and know the not-so-noble motives that many of my male colleag
ues have with women. With your dad, I have to subtly assuage his concerns that I’m another Barney Stinson without downplaying my inherent masculinity. It can be a difficult balancing act, but nothing out of my depth.
Luckily for me, there’s usually more in common that I can talk about with your dad that can reveal a lot about me. We can talk politics (not a good idea to talk about how much I like Bill Clinton and/or Sarah Palin), sports (good: Kevin Durant, not good: John Calipari) and his favorite Beatles album (not Abbey Road).
Nail these subjects, and order the right thing (no cobb salads), and by the time we depart, you will like me the least of anyone at the table. They’ll ask you about me constantly, and if we ever break up, they’ll take it just as badly as we do.
And if I screw it up? I’ll let you know if it ever happens.
I’m completely worried about meeting your parents.
Well, not so much your dad. He’ll probably stay fairly quiet and polite, occasionally adding in a few, “She’s a looker!” lines throughout the night, as appalling as that may sound. Generally, I could probably charm him by saying anything, really. I’ll just leave out any talk of politics or religion because I don’t want to start a riot.
The truth is … it’s your mother. It’s always your mother.
It has nothing to do with my delicate self-esteem or my lack of confidence. In fact, I’m pretty comfortable with the person I am now and who I’m becoming. I’m sure that’s a big reason you’re with me right now – aside from my flawless face and body. The discomfort comes from the notion of “mother.” Don’t get me wrong – your mother is probably be the greatest person on this planet. But, the real issue is that any mother will never feel as though any girl is right for her son.
I’ve accepted this entirely and I have made a list of rules for myself and any other girl that wants to eventually be loved and accepted by their boyfriend’s mother.
1. Smile. Even if you’re not the happy-go-lucky type, act like it. No mother wants her son to be with a sourpuss; it’s unbecoming.
2. Talk about “girly” things: Cooking, clothes, shopping, etc. Although this sounds sexist and horrible at first glance, your primary goal is to reach a common ground. You want to be able to get to a point where you two relate. Even if you aren’t Martha Stewart in the kitchen, bringing up any discussion of food and your lack of experience can make her think she’s your mentor. It still proves that she has some power while still being able to connect with you.
3. Wear appropriate clothing. The newest LBD you picked up from Forever 21 is probably not the right choice. A simple outfit of jeans and a nice shirt will do. She doesn’t want to see your ladies coming out, let alone any other part of your body that could be construed as inappropriate. The last thing she wants is for her son to be dating a hussy.
4. Bring something. If you’re coming to the house for dinner, don’t show up empty handed. It’s old-fashioned, but definitely foolproof. Even if it is something simple like an Entenmann’s cake, it’s a gesture; that’s what counts. It’s what will stick in her head.
5. Be yourself. I know this seems somewhat contradictory, given that this is a rule list but don’t let the real you go away entirely; crack silly jokes, giggle awkwardly. It’s charming and what makes you who you are.
It sounds treacherous but it’s really not that hard. I’m always going to be nervous; it’s only natural. But I care about you and this is something I’m looking forward to doing, for us. Plus, she’ll love me … eventually.