Meeting the Parents

Originally posted 1.29.2007

I just met the parents.

And I just realized that anyone who has read my blog over the past six months is probably surprised to find out that I have convinced a girl that I am not, technically, a barbarian. Alas, using chicanery and two forms of calculus, I have done just that.

Well, a few months passed, and over the weekend, I met the people who spawned my girlfriend, which is sort of like a first date your girlfriend all over again, except that you aren’t going to be opening your wallet and there will (hopefully) be no goodnight kissing, unless they’re italian. And this is the most indisputably awesome thing about meeting parents: You are not expected to kiss them.

Even with that obligation absolved, I was still a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Once again, it’s like a first date, only it’s two first dates in one. You have to make good impressions on both mom and dad, which requires you to summon two diametrically opposed parts of the brain — like watching “Animal House” and reading Hemmingway at the same time.

Knowing that I am a) an idiot, and b) a giver of bad first impressions (it seems I’m too reserved causing people to infer that I do not like them), I decided that my best strategy would be to talk about benign things like my job and my family, make only the easiest, safest jokes and otherwise keep my mouth shut, much like Jay Leno. After all, moms are easy. You can win over a mom in no time because they want to like you. You just have to not give them an obvious reason not to, which is harder than it sounds. It would be horrifyingly easy for me to mess this up. So keeping it simple, I thought, would at least get me mom’s approval, which generally goes a long way in getting dad’s approval. Dads want to dislike you, or are at least looking for any reason to dislike you. But they get lazy, and don’t spend nearly as much time thinking about it as moms do. So they usually end up just grunting and trusting mom’s opinion (I have two younger sisters, mind you).

Anyway, I was playing it fairly well. Made it through one entire evening with no major screwups. And the second evening went almost as well, except for a harmless remark I made about myself showing a little leg to get something. Well, this rapidly devolved into Mom and Girlfriend talking about showing cleavage while I tried to pretend I didn’t know the first thing about cleavage and Dad tried to pretend he wasn’t hearing his wife and daughter talking about showing cleavage to gain favor with men.

Fortunately, that situation ended with neither me nor Dad uttering the words “boobs,” “cleavage,” or any of their derivatives.


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