Well, I have to admit that if I was dating a Disney princess (again) I would feel relatively good about bringing her home for a meal. If they can handle the scrutiny of the paparazzi they could probably handle my Jewish mother. But given that most of the women my friends and I are dating are a far cry from that too-innocent-to-be-true type, I have some thoughts on what it takes to be that sort of girl who enters the family abode.
Tip #1: Have Social Decorum
The first thing we look for is basic social cues. When out with our friends, do you ask about their lives? Do you offer to buy them a drink? Pay attention to their dates? If we pick up that you go out of your way to accommodate other people in our life, making them feel at ease, listening to them and adding in basic pleasantries, we know that you'd likely do the same over dinner with ma and pa.
Tip #2: Handle the Critics
Another thing we think through is whether you can handle scrutiny. It's not that we're embarrassed that you're a waitress or that we think you eat like a slob; it's that the harshest critic you may meet is your guy's mother. I know I have always felt that way on the opposite end of the table. At one point I was invited to my GF's parent's home for a few days. The issue? She didn't tell them I was coming until the day before. By the time I got there her dad was ready for grilling; and I don't mean the outdoor burger type. "What did you major in?" "What does it mean you do 'development' work?" And my favorite: when I was confused which "fish plate" I was supposed to get from the cabinet I asked, "The one that looks like a fish?" Geez. Who is this guy? Years later this father apologized. But I've seen this play out for friends who have brought home women, only to see their mom get into past boyfriend histories and job prospects way too early into knowing someone. So if your boyfriend sees that you're quick on your feet and able to handle some occasional barbs, he's more likely to take you home and risk the critique.
Tip #3: In for the Long Haul
The one aspect of Selena's statement that I want to refute is that there are distinct categories of "the girl you sleep with" and "the girl you take home to your folks." Selena's line in the sand is a bit naïve. In fact, I have never taken a girl home to meet my folks unless we've slept together and am serious enough with them that I'm willing to risk having to talk about future plans involving you. In other words, if I am going to take a girl home I need to know it's a real relationship, not a fling because my mom will ask about you every time we speak for months. For some guys, that means there's a sexual component there. But if a guy's parents are coming into town for lunch and he casually mentions you might want to join? Yeah, he's thinking long-term commitment. And he probably brought it up while in bed next to you.
Lodro Rinzler is the author of 'Walk Like a Buddha: Even if Your Boss Sucks, Your Ex is Torturing You, and You're Hungover Again' and the founder of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership
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