Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time can be daunting. Follow these dos and don’ts to make a potentially bad situation a little bit better.
There’s a great story that’s done the rounds on the internet about a guy who went to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. He wasn’t doing badly until halfway through dinner, when he had to make a polite but urgent visit to the toilet and, to cut a long story short, when he tried to flush the offending body away, it just wouldn’t go.
Horrified that someone might see, and desperate to salvage the situation, he took a wad of toilet tissue, grabbed the offending item and threw it out the window. Returning downstairs, to his horror, the averted eyes and red faces told him the full story long before he’d witnessed it for himself. Yes, you guessed it… the toilet was right above the dining room, and lying outside on the lawn, where they had all seen it land, was an exploded lump of tissue and fecal matter!
A matter of grey matter
Of course, I’m pretty sure that our fine LovePanky readers are far too clever to make such a ridiculous faux pas. Nonetheless, it is still worth pointing out that the application of a little common sense goes a long way in interpersonal relations of any dynamic, and this is one occasion when you really do need to stay on your toes. So, just in case they need pointing out, here are a few of the dos and don’ts of the parent-meeting scene.
#1 Be punctual. First impressions last, and nothing makes a worse first impression than arriving late. Punctuality is the hallmark of a responsible and considerate person—exactly the kind of guy they want their daughter to continue seeing.
#2 Dress to the nines. Look sharp. If you live in a traditional part of the world, do the full formal dress. Don a suit and tie. The mother will think you look great and the father will appreciate the effort. It’s a win-win entrance into your girlfriend’s family.
#3 Shower thoroughly. A shame that this needs to be pointed out, but not everyone is as keen on showering as others. The best way to sour the proceedings is to turn up smelling like a hobo.
#5 Have immaculate table manners. Such a simple thing to get right, and yet so many fail on the most elementary etiquette. Remember to keep your mouth closed when chewing, don’t talk with your mouth full, and make sure that your face is at head height, rather than buried in your bowl.
#6 Treat your girl with respect. There’s a time and a place to refer to your girlfriend in a jokingly disrespectful manner—if she’s in on the joke, of course—but in front of her parents is not one of those times.
#7 Consume moderately. Whether food or alcohol, no matter how much you want to indulge, just lay back a little. Gluttons and drunkards do not a good impression make.
#8 Have some plans. There’s going to be a point during the evening when the father corners you and starts, albeit politely, interrogating you about future plans. You see, parents want to know that their little girl is hooking up with someone who has a future—someone who can provide—and if all you can say is “Well, I’m pretty happy flipping burgers,” then you ain’t gonna be in for an easy ride. [Read: 12 life questions to help you visualize your real future]
#9 Watch your body language. Sit straight, keep eye contact, and don’t slouch. Poor body language can undermine all your hard work in one fell swoop.
#10 Leave the door open. Being invited to her bedroom at some point is not a signal to attempt full and immediate coitus. Keep the door closed at your peril and, if you do, don’t be surprised if the next thing you see coming round the door is the nose of her father’s shotgun.
#11 Leave at an appropriate time. It’s simple good manners not to hang around too long, especially if that might give the impression that you’re waiting for the parents to go to bed so you can have your wicked way with their daughter. Leave neither too early, nor too late, and give them time to discuss, as a family, what a fine young gent you are.
#1 Slap your girl on the ass. In front of her father… are you crazy?! If you’re lucky, you’ll just get a stern glance and a tight lip, but if he’s the old-school type, you’ll be out as fast as your legs can carry you.
#2 Slap your girl’s mom on the ass. Unless you like the taste of hospital food, that is! It’ll be more than a quick exit you receive at her father’s hands this time.
#3 Slap your girl’s father on the ass. SERIOUSLY DUDE… WHAT THE **** IS WRONG WITH YOU?!
#4 Do a number two. As in the introductory tale, there’s so much that can go wrong with a bodily evacuation. Make sure you take care of that either before or after the event—not during.
#5 Complain about the food. Have some manners, please. Would you complain about your own mother’s food? If you would, then you need to think long and hard about implementing some immediate personality alterations.
#6 Be obsequious. Although being rude is a huge no-no, so is flattery when taken to the extreme. If you find yourself burrowing your nose so deeply in your host’s butt that you can see what he had for breakfast, you really need to rethink your approach.
#7 Curse. The mother, especially, will dislike this, and a few badly used “F” words will have her trying to sabotage the relationship at every opportunity.
#8 Make empty boasts. It’s great to have aspirations, but don’t start telling her father that you’re going to be the next CEO of Apple. He’s a lot older than you, probably a lot wiser, and he isn’t going to swallow that line of BS.
#9 Produce bodily emissions. Burping, farting, whatever it is—desist at all costs. If we need to tell you why… things are worse than you think.
#10 Drink too much. Either before or during the event. Too much alcohol can loosen lips, bladders, bowels, and brains and potentially lead to any and all of the above.
As in any area of life, surviving meeting the parents comes down to employing a healthy dose of common sense. In case you don’t have much of that, follow these helpful dos and don’ts—especially if you aim to see your girlfriend again!
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David Cullen is frequently described as erudite, insightful and witty – but only by himself and only after several large glasses of Rioja....