Some people view “meeting the parents” as a huge milestone in a relationship. For many, this is an indication that what was once a new relationship has transcended the precarious “casually dating” moniker into the realm of exclusivity. For most of us, this feels like a loaded moment. What if his parents don’t like me? What if I say something stupid? The pressure of having to make an immortal and impressive impression on the ones who love the one we love can be overwhelming to say the least.
Having done this several (see: way too many) times with varying success, I have drawn some conclusions about the big ol’ parent introduction that I think are important to share.
When asked about your job:
Lie. Lie lie lie lie lie. Oh god, lie lie lie.
Do not tell the truth, is what I’m subtly saying here. This is one of those few cases in life when telling the truth will not set you free. You can have all of the intimate, trust establishing, relationship affirming conversations with your beau, but you cannot expect to get anywhere in this situation by telling the truth. If you, like me, are pursuing a profession that requires you to work a joe-job in addition to the countless free hours you invest in your craft, you simply cannot explain to anyone’s well-established parents that you spent last night YouTubing Oscar acceptance speeches in an attempt to inspire yourself to write something uplifting after you worked a shift with your cleavage up to your chin at a bar frequented by upper-class misogynists. Try focusing more on what your career goals are, and what you are planning to do with your future.
When asked about what you do for fun:
“I love to read.” Translation: I most certainly did not dance around in a naked conga line at Hanlan’s point while floating a plastic bag filled with cans of Milwaukee beside me as a Mariachi band played “La Cucaracha” on a boat a few feet away.
“Cooking is my passion.” I will take care of your son/daughter and not abandon them after a fight in Trinity Bellwoods after I throw at $20 bill at them to take a cab home and tell them I never want to see them again.
“I frequent the cinema.” Translation: I simply adore Nagisa Oshima’s films, and you can rest assured that I didn’t waste an entire day watching two seasons of Dawson’s Creek that I’ve already seen six or seven times.
While they’re reminiscing about family memories:
TRY TO PRETEND TO BE AMUSED (I do this by keeping my eyebrows raised, but find what works for you and stick with it).
At the end of dinner/drinks:
You should really be cleaning up. Let’s be really real. If you were invited into someone’s home, you should help to clean up. Don’t be an animal. Unless you cooked the meal, in which case, you will probably still have to clean this up. In a year or so, you can likely make some kind of passive aggressive statement about it (hey, we’re all family now!), but for now you’re almost done the evening. Keep going!
On the way out the door:
Be gracious, be thankful. Remember that regardless of whether or not you feel you made the right impression, regardless of whether or not you had a good time: your opinion is as important as theirs. You are not at the mercy of the opinions of your boyfriend/girlfriend’s family and friends. And if you are, you should probably dwell on that fact for a few minutes before deciding to remain in your relationship (this took a turn, eh!).
You’re fabulous (probably, how would I know?), so keep your chin up and keep putting yourself out there! Meet those parents (but not too many of them, cause that’s like, a lot of serious relationships and do you really have the time to invest in that many people?)!
You can read more from Allana Reoch on her blog.
Featured image via.