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10 Stories About Meeting the Parents
"He gripped my hand like a vise, and uttered in very broken English, 'Hello. I am father.'"
by Nerve Readers
My boyfriend still lived with his parents when we started dating. He invited me to dinner with them, but I got cold feet and backed out at the last minute. Two weeks later, he invited me over to fool around since his parents were out of town. As we put our clothes back on, we heard footsteps, then voices.
After a brief moment of panic, we cobbled together an exit strategy: as soon as he was sure we were clear, we would sneak out the backyard towards his car. We made it out of the gate when the highbeams from another car — his dad's — flashed on us.
"You didn't think you could get away that easily, did you?" his father called, before escorting us back inside, where my boyfriend's mother and teenage sister sat awaiting the introduction.
I had long been curious about meeting my girlfriend's mom. I've almost always gotten along instantly and fabulously with parents. But knowing that my girlfriend kept her mom at arm's length, and that she was an evangelical Christian, made me a bit nervous.
Her mom was going to be in L.A. for an evangelical conference, and I had agreed that she could spend a couple of nights with me. My girlfriend would be in Asia for work, but we agreed that her mom would fly in, stay with her cousin out near the airport the first night, and then come over the next. So, imagine my surprise when the morning she was set to arrive, I woke up with fifteen voicemails. The first was a perky "Hi! I'm here! Can't wait to see you. I'm outside." By the fifteenth, it had evolved to, "Hey, so... I'm going to sleep... in my car."
This was all surprising, because she didn't even have my address. But I live in a recognizable building, and she had gotten the address from the rental-car people, showed up (unannounced), and been promptly turned away by the doorman. When we finally talked, it turned out that she couldn't stay with her cousin, and had decided to stay with me... without telling me.
She ended up meeting someone at the conference she could stay with for a couple days. So I was spared until Friday night. I got home late, completely exhausted, and knowing she was planning on crashing on one of my couches, I was surprised when I didn't see anyone in the living room. Thinking she hadn't made it, I walked into my room. And there, for the first time, I saw my girlfriend's mom. Asleep in my bed.
I had been dating this girl for no more than a few months, and gone to collect her from her house for our date. I knocked on the door, and she answered, telling me to come in and go sit down in the lounge.
I walked in to the lounge to be greeted by a room full of family members — she'd really pushed the boat out here. Her father greeted me with the most horrifying thing I've ever heard in my life: "So I hear you're marrying my daughter?" I decided not to sit down, as the room was getting increasingly uncomfortable. The girl was fussing around in other rooms, and her dad then jovially elbowed me and said she was "getting her jam rags out." Bemused, I asked what he meant. "You know, jam rags," he elaborated. I still didn't know what jam rags were. I assumed it must have been a colloquialism for some sort of snack, as she had a hearty appetite.
She walked in to the room, holding bundles of unused sanitary towels. Jam rags. My bikini wax had been a total waste.
The first time I met my ex's mother wasn't so bad. I was staying at their house for the weekend, but my flight got in late, so we crept in quietly thinking everyone would be asleep. She greeted us at the door; I thanked her for letting me stay, and handed her a box of biscuits as a thank-you present. So far, so good.
Her father, on the other hand, was a completely different deal. He worked odd hours (though my ex refused to tell me what he did), and her close knowledge of local organized crime had me convinced he was involved in the Mafia. I met him my first morning there, and he was a giant of a man — around 6'6", and fat in a way that made him terrifying, not laughable. He gripped my hand like a vise, and uttered in very broken English, "Hello. I am father."
I found out later that the bedroom door that had been closed when we went to bed was open when my girlfriend woke up — so apparently before I even had a chance to introduce myself to this man, he had already seen me sharing a bed with his only daughter. Our relationship was doomed from the start.
Several years ago I dated a Welshman whose family hailed from rural Tredegar. The first time I met his dad was when we picked him up from JFK for his week-long visit to the States. That evening I meant to take father and son to a cushy gastropub, but we ended up in Lucky Cheng's, a drag-queen karaoke restaurant.
Somewhere between my efforts to order as much alcohol as possible and Welshman Sr.'s disappointed cries over the bartender ("She can't be a man, she looks like Kylie Minogue!"), my boyfriend got dragged on stage for a male beauty contest, which he won after getting stripped down to his underwear. The reward turned out to be several deep, lipstick-caked kisses from the MC. "Son, I'm oddly proud of you," his dad burbled when we finally got him in a cab back to the hotel.
NEXT: "Oh, I don't like foreigners," she said. My smile froze and she continued, "Ah not you, you're fine! You can speak English almost like us!"