Our male writer fesses up to the biggest reasons most men would rather read the entire Twilight series than socialise with your folks.
Driving up to my girlfriend's parents' house, I was nervous enough. Meeting the folks for the first time is scary to every guy. So when I saw her bearded father standing on the front porch clutching a hammer, I almost had a full-blown heart attack. Thankfully, it was all a joke (more later on why those pranks aren't funny), and her parents were quite nice. But even under the best of circumstances, women need to know that introduction is hell for men. Here's why....
The first stressful question that pops into our heads when you bring up that initial get-together is whether your parents will despise us. Most important, if your dad hates us, will we get dumped? The second, and perhaps scarier, question: is your mom the type to get immediately attached and overly involved? For example, just weeks after meeting one ex's mother, she started making 'joking' references to our wedding and was talking about arranging a dinner with my family. Uh, major relationship buzz kill.
Look, guys move slowly and need time to adjust to how serious things are getting. So, if your parents assume the mere act of a guy meeting them means you're heading down the aisle, it's terrifying and nerve-wracking.
The other panic that sets in is due to the fact that no matter what, we will look lame in front of you. As men, we want to appear strong and assured. When we meet your parents, we feel forced to act submissive and pleasing. Hell, half the time, we're totally fake- whether we pretend to agree with their outdated politics, look like we are really preppy, or behave like we just graduated from an etiquette school.
And knowing that you are seeing how phony we're being makes us really embarrassed. An ex even mentioned to me once that I was so schmaltzy around her parents that she couldn't tell if I was trying to impress them or land a job.
What We Want You to Do
If we love you, we will man up. But there are a few things you can do to help. When the time comes to finally introduce us to your folks, please make sure your dad gets all the jokes about doing us bodily harm, out of his system. For some reason, most fathers think these stunts are hilarious. They're not.
We don't know how to react to them. Consider my encounter with my ex girlfriend's bearded father. He was probably kidding with the hammer, but it's hard to gauge what to do in that awkward moment: act scared or just smile vacantly at him?
The best thing you can do is be chatty while we are all together. It helps put us at ease if we feel like we don't have to do all the talking and well...also gives us a lead on what to talk about in such a stressful environment.
And even if the first meeting doesn't go perfectly, understand that some mutual appreciation takes time. So please, if we cringe when you pop the meet-the-folks question, don't freak on us. Know that we're really just shaking in our boots.