Hey, Boyfriend-in-a-serious-relationship! I know you’re aware that the holidays are around the corner (Hanukah, Christmas, New Year’s, Festivus, etc.). So I’m also sure you know what that means: time to meet the parents!
Aw, that’s really sweet that you’re nervous about the milestone. Sure beats an ex-boyfriend of mine who, upon meeting my mom for the first time in all of his tracksuit glory, leaned back on his chair, spread eagle, and was all like, “I don’t know why your daughter is with me, either.” (FYI: Don’t be like him.)
You’ve got this, though. Your babe has already put in the almighty good word to her folks and now all you’ve gotta do is prove her right. But, just in case you’re freaking out a bit (Robert DeNiro with a lie detector has forever changed the phrase ‘meet the parents’), here are some tips to help you make a lasting, positive impression. Because, the thing is, even if your GF’s parentals are not going to be your future in-laws, you want to be so damn charming that you will always be the standard to which the Next Guy is compared.
Dress To Impress
You want to strike the balance between “casual” and “dressy” without looking like a stiff, and without looking like you’re trying too hard. Translation: become the dopest blend of Carleton and Will from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. That means you shall wear neon colours, cool-ass kicks and a hat – a baseball cap, a toque, a Lou Bega fedora (most especially if you’re bald) and that facial hair is OK (preferably a well-groomed thin goatee). As are sweater vests. Sweater vests for everyone, everyday.
Get Your Story Straight
Maybe the first time you met your lady was when you were both blackout drunk and what was supposed to be just a one-night stand actually turned into a full-blown relationship. It happens. It probably happened with her parents (and, I hate to say this, but yours too). But I can pretty much guarantee that’s not what she told her dear old Dad when he asked her how she met “this young fella” (a.k.a you). So before you ruin it for yourself and when he asks you the same question, then you better sync up your story with your girlfriend’s. Remember: it’s not a lie if you believe it.
Plus, saving the truth will only make it that much sweeter when you eventually tell her “dear old Dad” what really went down (“Actually, sir, your daughter had a nice rack and I was wasted”). After you’re married, of course.
It’s All in the Greeting
First, start off with a really good handshake. Weak handshakes are the worst. And even if you are Dwayne Johnson, I wouldn’t recommend crushing Dad’s hand either, you big showoff. Also—and this might be a personal preference—but don’t wear mittens or driving gloves while you’re shaking hands (actually, don’t wear driving gloves at all because that’s weird and mittens on guys are too). As for Mom, you can go in for the hug, but that’s a little cliché. I’d go for the European “kiss on the cheek” thing just to mix it up a bit and to show her how very cultured and worldly you are. It’s also a small taste of what her daughter is getting most nights, and she might appreciate that (no tongue, though, because that’s weird).
Then, proudly display the beautiful gift you’ve picked out for them. Yes, it’s a token of your gratitude, but it’s also a bribe. They can’t possibly tell their daughter what a “pansy ass dork” you are if they’re enjoying that new car you bought them (or just a really expensive wine might do).
Engage Them While Eating
No one looks very attractive while chewing food, but you can still wow them with your mad conversational skillz at the dinner table. Etiquette goddess Emily Post once said that you shouldn’t discuss religion, politics, or money in a room full of strangers, but she’s dead. So I say, go nuts. A way to prove to your significant other’s parents that you’re loaded with money and super smart is to talk about it. A lot. But also, ask them questions too. You know, about their hobbies and jobs and other boring stuff like that. You don’t want to come off as a braggart or anything. Also, quote lots of movies. Men seem to think that’s funny or something, so I’m sure Dad will “get it.”
Basically, be yourself. But, like, a better version. Don’t worry: they’ll soon get to know the real you eventually, but by then, it will be too late for them to do anything about it.
Say No to Sex (At Least For the Night)
Chances are you’ll be invited to spend the night. Agree by saying, “as long as I won’t be sleeping with her tonight!” as you point to your girlfriend defiantly. Not only will her parents eat this up, but it will also save you a night of awkwardly sharing a twin bed with your GF and her old Care Bear collection. To really amp up the charm, sprinkle rose petals on her parents’ bed. That way, if the thought of you having sex with their daughter ever comes to mind, they’ll chalk you up as a “romantic” guy who “makes love.”
Here’s one final tip, guys: double up on the deodorant. Because if you’re already sweating as you’re reading this article, then your pits will definitely look like the goddamn Niagara Falls on the Big Day. And you know what they say: desperation plus perspiration equals expiration.
OK, I may have just made that up but I actually think that’s really, really good advice.
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan