"Hey, would you like to meet two heavier, less-attractive versions of me (aka my parents), and try to convince them you're a nice guy?!"
While a relationship can be one of the most rewarding things in life, walking into that cold pool can certainly make you think twice. I've been "dating" a girl for a little over a month now, and things are going great. It's 2012, so we obviously met online and we've been slowly rounding the relationship bases: Meet the friends, see her apartment, have a "sleepover," now meet the parents....
When I met my ex-girlfriend's father, the first thing he told me was that I looked like a character from "Deliverance"... and that was a perfect preface for that father-boyfriend relationship. However, I've learned that the fear that a girlfriend's parents won't like you can be squashed by being charming and giving a great first impression, basically pretending that you're a game-show host. Behind door number one is a nice, responsible young man who will pay for dinner, use "protection" and help you move... into a nursing home in five years.
Once, in college, I was dating a pre-med soccer star who was at school on an athletic scholarship. Meeting her father was probably the worst yet. Our first meeting was a Sunday dinner at her parents' house, where I was grilled on everything from the fact that I don't play college sports to why I have tattoos. After a while, I finally said, "Wow... you're making this very awkward." Her father responded, "It will get awkward, if she ever comes home crying." That was one occasion I was glad her mother could cook, because the rest of that night was not very conversation-heavy.
My real worry today comes from wondering what sort of family my girlfriend will have. Being 25 and entering a new relationship really makes you think longterm. Will this be a family that I want to eventually join? What if her mom can't cook and I'm fake-smiling my way through terrible pot roast for the next 40 years? In my particular case, I have high hopes, because only Mr. and Mrs. Perfect could have raised Miss Perfect, right?
Furthermore, introducing someone that you care about to your own parents lets her into your world a little more. I mean into your own personal world: the one where you cannot fall asleep without a fan on and you hope she's the same way. Allowing someone into that world is where it really becomes scary, because now it will hurt you if she wants to leave it. Which I hope doesn't happen, but the only way to find out is to do it!
This past weekend I actually just introduced my girlfriend to my parents... and they loved her, of course. But it clearly made her nervous. Miss Spontaneity quickly became Miss Cordial as soon as my folks strolled in. Knowing this, I didn't want to leave them alone at the table by themselves, but I have a nervous stomach and we chose a Mexican restaurant... so my girl and my parents became a little more acquainted than I'd planned. All in all, it's just another step towards getting to know her better. And that's one thing I'm not afraid of.
Check out the slideshow for video clips of our favorite cringe-inducing meet-the-parents moments!
For more by Timothy Swiernik, click here.
For more on becoming fearless, click here.