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Meeting the Parents

Today I "meet the parents" of a girl I adore. Beyond that, the rest of this post is a speculative sort of "thought experiment" in stream of consciousness.

Imagine that I like a girl named Amy (chosen primarily because it's short, and I don't know anyone named Amy right now). Amy's a bit younger than me, still in college, and thus still under the thumb of her parents. Typically, people this age have a bit of "rebellion" left in them. They're freer to do as they wish, living in dorms or their own apartments, but they still feel the pressure from their parents. After all, they go home on weekends or every summer, and still rely on their parents for a few (or more) bucks now and then.

So suppose that this girl, Amy, has invited me to meet her parents. Not because she wants to, necessarily, but because they insist. Amy is daddy's little girl - and probably always will be, and has already warned me that her father won't like me, and not to let it get to me. It's just a matter of course. After all, I can't imagine liking any of my (future) daughter's male friends, either. The old saying "I know what I was like when I was his age, and I don't want that for you!" holds true. I wasn't like that, but I certainly knew enough guys who were.

The mom, though, is practically already in "give me grandchildren, I want to see my daughter happy" mode. Of course, the latter has absolutely nothing to do with the former, but in her mind, "finding a husband" has a direct connection to "being happy." Let's just say mom isn't really contributing much to the feminist movement. Amy doesn't like mom's meddling. She doesn't like mom trying to control her life, and as I said, there's still a bit of rebellion left in her.

So given these circumstances, what am I to do? The father's a wash: he won't like me, and there's nothing I can do to fix that, but I should act on my best behavior from a "guy who respects his daughter" sort of position. I do, but demonstrating that is always difficult. Do I touch (hug, brush her hair back over her ear, etc.) her as much as normal? No, I suppose I don't. Does she toss her legs over mine or put her head in my lap when sitting in the living room for after-dinner coffee? No, I suppose she doesn't.

And mom? I tend to get along with moms, because, after all, I'm a smart, witty, engaging young man. What mother wouldn't want their daughter with someone like me? (Ha ha ha.) But in this case, I'm presented with two main options: one: mom likes me, pressures daughter, daughter resents mom and, by proxy, me or two: attempt to make mom see me as non-ideal, thus presenting myself as a way in which daughter can continue her small rebellion by dating "the Bad Boy™."

In other words, what's my goal? Work hard to get dad's approval (or at least to minimize his despise) and to get mom's disapproval?

That's the game of life. Well, one of the many.

P.S. Let me repeat that the above is hypothetical. I'm not dating Amy, and I'm only meeting her parents at this point because she's my "date" to my sister's wedding at the end of May. If I was a parent, I'd certainly want to meet the friend who was taking my daughter 1300 miles away from me.

P.P.S. This fabulous* thought experiment brought to you by Smarties.

* obligatory - o·blig·a·to·ry   adj.
1) Morally or legally constraining; binding.
2) Imposing or recording an obligation: a bill obligatory.
3) Of the nature of an obligation; compulsory: Attendance is obligatory. Mathematics is an obligatory course.

4 Responses to "Meeting the Parents"

  1. give me grandchildren, I want to see my daughter happy" mode. Of course, the latter has absolutely nothing to do with the former

    I don't know about that...

  2. That whole story sounds so very cliché to me...

  3. When I met my wife's parents, I could tell they were somewhat cautious. I won them over, not necessarily by being polite, but by being myself. I never got the give me grandchildren or not good enough for my daughter vibe from them either. Perhaps its because my wife is a feminist and/or her parents trusted her judgement. Her parents liked me, I suppose, because I carried the aura that I would not be intimidated by them and they respected that.

  4. i found this to be highly amusing...seeing as how im doing a speech for my public speaking class on "meeting the parents" in a dating relationship. Just be highly mannerful, and modest.


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