So, you’re coming to meet the parents!

It's really my house.

“It’s really my house.”

Congratulations on dating our son/daughter. Rest assured your sweetheart is the culmination of generations of only the finest natural selection, with the exception of a brief period in the late 1800s that no one in the family likes to talk about. But as Great-Great-Uncle Walston used to say, “Let’s let bygones be penguins.”

In the coming days, you will be arriving at our home for the first time to meet us, your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents. Welcome! To make this important rite of passage as pleasant as possible, we encourage you to review the following information. After all, an auk may be a bird, but add a “word” and it’s “awkward.” Ha-ha-ha! Of course? Yes! So let’s go ahead.

  • We have four cats and a dog. We trust that’s not a problem. Don’t let that be a problem.

  • We are aware there are cobwebs in some of the corners of the ceiling. We prefer not to mention them and suggest you do likewise.
  • That light switch doesn’t do anything.
  • Please inform us if you have any allergies: cat hair, food, cat hair on food.
  • We reserve the right to refer to you as “the suitor.”
  • You will find that throughout the house several piles of clever and/or important novels have been distributed upon surfaces in an ostensibly casual but clearly self-conscious manner. The purpose of this is twofold: 1) to determine whether you a) are well-read b) enjoy reading c) can read; and 2) to demonstrate how cool we are, because as important as it is for us to like you, we really want you to like us. Like, wouldn’t it be neat if we hit it off and could have long chats about Haruki Murakami or the vintage Brian Eno that just happens to be playing in the background? Wouldn’t it be great if, later on, you said to our son/daughter, “Your parents – especially your dad – are really cool and hip”?*
  • We keep the thermostat at a brisk 17 degrees Celsius. This is our way of sticking it to Big Oil, although we end up being somewhat beholden to Big Sweater. Bring slippers.
  • You might not want to sit there.
  • Or there.
  • We don’t always flush the toilet. Don’t be alarmed. When we do flush it, however, sometimes a cat will come running, so excited about the fresh drinking water. It’s not mandatory but you should totally try it.
  • Remember how cool and hip we are? It will be no surprise, then, that we are respectful of your privacy as young adults and will allow you to make whatever sleeping arrangements you’re comfortable with, bearing in mind that it is a small house, we are light sleepers and please don’t do anything.**
  • At some point during your stay, you may find yourself alone with one or the other parent. Be aware that, despite the outward charade (which we pronounce “sha-rawd”) your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents are socially inept and at this point will likely have covered all the basic points regarding family, geography and area of study/work. That’s it. Nothing left in the tank. It’s all up to you now. This might be where one of those books lying around comes in handy. Other safe topics:
    • How weird are feet?
    • Look how fat your cats are, but in an endearing, not-at-all offensive way!
    • The Toronto Raptors’ motto “We The North”: is it the verb “are” that’s missing or would a comma suffice?
    • Five-syllable words that make me feel diabolical.
    • Ways in which I won’t disrespect your daughter/son.
  • Doing the dishes equals big brownie points. If you want to tackle those cobwebs also, who are we to stop you?
  • At some point during your stay, the conversation will turn to he aforementioned toilets and the usage thereof. This is who we are; don’t be fooled by the clever books. How you participate in this conversation (appalled, amused, engaged but not so engaged as to be disturbing, etc.) will be observed and discussed in great detail after you leave.
  • Please understand that if we make fun of you, it means we like you.
  • We’re not big huggers.

*The maternal half of the parental welcoming group would like to point out that none of this was her idea, and that in fact she knew nothing about these desperate cries for acceptance, though really she’s not surprised. And the Brian Eno playlist? It was sent to him by a friend three weeks ago.


About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Family - whadya gonna do?, It Really Did Happen! and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to So, you’re coming to meet the parents!

  1. Fun post. thanks for the giggles.
    What is it about cobwebs? They are totally invisible until company comes, and then they appear, sturdy enough to support Tarzan.

  2. It seems like they’d have it pretty easy in your household. We’d have to add “Don’t mind grandma, she says loud and embarrassing things about everyone. Except we believe her when she’s talking about you.” Our kid is not yet to the dating stage, but even when my daughter has a new friend over, I grill her about how clean their house is before they visit ours – it gives me a hint whether the cobwebs stay or go.

  3. Paul says:

    Love the post-visit discussion of toilet behaviour. ha! So true. And yes, the animals rule. I was always warned by the female parental unit to behave myself when potential suitors/girlfriends arrived. I always found that a good sign of character was their relationship with the cats. If the cats refused to participate, the visitor was likely bad news. If the cats came out en force to inspect and then ingratiate themselves to the visitor, then that was likely good news for the pending relationship. Much like the ground-hog , except 6 weeks of dating.

  4. Lynn says:

    Awesome post Ross! SO.MUCH.FUN!

  5. Ned's Blog says:

    My youngest daughter (14) just got her first boyfriend, who I did my best to be charming to in a Hannibal-Lector-kind-of-way. I like to keep them guessing what I’m capable of.

  6. I read this out loud to my husband. We are now quite certain that you are spying on our family. How much are they paying you? I hope it’s worth your INTEGRITY. Sheesh.

  7. Amanda Fox says:

    Except for the Brian Eno playlist (to be replaced by Justin Timberlake and some pretty good but still awkward “I’m holding onto my 20-year-old, but I’m now in my mid-forties” dance moves), and of course that one dog, my husband could’ve written this himself, though he’d probably add “And I own a gun” (to be directed at boys), and “I can make you feel really terrible about yourself if I so choose” (to be directed at girls) as an addendum.

    Not surprised at all that Karen (see above) says the same LOL.

    As always, you definitely know how to expose the true nature of the Canadian family.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Was it Canadian, do you think? Because after I wrote it, I thought, “Gee, I sound awfully nice.” Like, where are the references to shotguns? Maybe because I haven’t met a suitor yet who’s set my teeth on edge. I’m sure that day will come.
      Thanks, Mandy.

  8. Carrie Rubin says:

    I love this. You captured the awkwardness of such an initial meeting well. I haven’t yet had to face that, but I know when I do, thanks to my introvertedness, I will likely be more uncomfortable than the visiting girlfriend. Unless she’s an introvert, too. Then we’ll sit quietly and read those strategically placed books.

  9. markbialczak says:

    The best game is trying to figure out who’s more wary of who. Or whom’s more wary of who. Or who’s more wary of whom. Or who knows which sentence of those three is correct. Have fun, Ross!

  10. Mine goes something like this: “Yes, that is a real picture of my wife posing in battledress holding a Chinese-made Type 56 assault rifle. What’s that? Yes. She was in the Chinese military. Huh?Yes, she does know how to fire it. So, even though I’m a foot taller and weigh 125 lbs more than her, it is in fact my wife you should be afraid of disappointing. Have a nice date.”

  11. Remember when the shoe was on the other foot, pal. Don’t torment these poor bastards. Fortunately, I’ll never have to go through this exercise. I’m steering both daughters into a gay lifestyle so I’ll never have to deal with creepy men.

    I am most happy to see the Eno name-check. And I thought it was going to be just another dull Thursday. Now…where’d I leave that bong?

  12. “That light switch doesn’t do anything.” We have one of those! My theory is that it doesn’t do anything in MY house, but one of my neighbors is mystified about their lights going on and off for no apparent reason.

  13. Laura says:

    This is so genius! Having two daughters, I particularly like point #5, “the suitor.” Oh, yeah, that’s a good one.

  14. I think it should be “Wee the North.” 🙂

    Great post – lots of fun. 🙂

  15. ksbeth says:

    i have 3 daughters and i know of what you speak. may the force be with you.

  16. Trent Lewin says:

    I like the style of your family, dude. But I’m going to ignore this whole thing. I can’t possibly think of suitors. I don’t even like that word. It sounds creepy. Like strange boys or girls hiding in the bushes, looking for my weak spots (I have several). No. Dating. Allowed.

  17. Elyse says:

    How long were you living in my house before you noticed that damn switch?

    Fun post.

  18. My kids will have to leave my house before I worry about suitors, at this rate I will be I my mid 80s before explaining how to jiggle the toilet handle.

  19. Letizia says:

    Love this! It should be taped on your front door.

  20. cat9984 says:

    Congratulations. The cat slams were really oblique this time. 🙂 And you must admit – dogs are really bad at looking judgmental.

  21. You had me at four cats, then lost me at no flushing of the Baby Ruths, got me back with 62 degrees, then finally lost me forever with the no hugging rule. If I have to endure someone else’s floating candy bars, I’m gonna need a hug.

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