I traditionally haven't done that well with parents. And by 'parents', I of course mean 'the parents of someone I'm dating' - because obviously I can't do badly with ALL parents EVER. That would mean half my friends wouldn't be my friends anymore, that people in the supermarket would hate me on sight, and that I wouldn't get along with any boss I'd ever had (oh...wait).
More specifically, I haven't done that well with mothers.
Dads are ok. If I may throw out a sweeping generalization, if a guy brings home a not-stupid not-ugly girl, dads are generally of the well-good-for-him school of thought. Whether the dad in question and the girl in question personally bond doesn't have a great deal of effect on the relationship between the girl and the guy.
Moms, though? Not so easy going. By a longshot. And by longshot, I mean 'GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY SON YOU HUSSY' kind of longshot.
The mother of my college boyfriend - let's call her Mrs. Jumpsuit - wanted sooo badly to like me. She wanted to bond, she did.
Of course, the things she wanted to bond over were clothing from Chico's and how one day I'd be making her little Jewish grandbabies.
I don't like Chico's.
I'm not Jewish.
You can imagine how well that went.
Jumpsuit is now married to a nice Jewish lawyer, and while I haven't spoken to Mrs. Jumpsuit to find out for sure, I can only imagine she has my picture in a secret 'could have been worse' file somewhere and pulls it out when Jumpsuit's wife does something silly like forgets to pick up the challah on Friday.
I met Crockett's parents sometime last year, and I was scared to death. I already knew how much I loved the man, and I really really really REALLY wanted his parents to like me. Or at least not run home and start one of those construction paper daisy chains counting down to the day we'd break up.
His dad was easy as cake. (Pie isn't easy. If you think it is, go make one, then send it here, c/o emmanation. Cherry, please. And send an apple one to Mr. Crockett, it's his birthday today and he doesn't like cherries.) Mr. Crockett is funny and sweet and a talented artist and was sending me embarrassing pictures of Crockett via email before we'd ever met in person.
Mrs. Crockett was a different story. She's brilliant and successful. Her day job puts her in charge of several hundred people, and she loves her children less like a mama lion and more like a mama sphinx - she's not all up in their business, but you know when the going gets tough she'll (regally) be all over that shit.
What would we bond over? I fretted. Hair twisting nail biting fretted. I'd been meaning to learn to sew for years, and she makes the worlds cutest purses, so I asked her to take me sewing machine shopping. Turns out I love to sew.
Now? Now we share patterns. Her neighbors in Crockett's home town email me comments about my sophomore efforts. The lining of my new bag was her brainchild.
It makes me wonder - if Mrs. Jumpsuit and I had found something like this, would we say hi every so often? Jumpsuit and I obviously wouldn't have made it, but maybe, just maybe, the key to being good with parents?
Is treating them like people.
P.S. I'm over at The Road bitching about Apple's iPhone 4 commercials today, if you're in the mood for some good old feminist ad-bashing.