My girlfriend and I have gotten more serious as of late, and soon I will have to attend a dinner with her parents, and I’ll be meeting them for the first time. I expect I will be grilled with questions, and my answers on certain topics, such as religion (I’m an atheist, they most certainly are not), age (there is some considerable difference between us), and my home life (NOT GOIN’ THERE) and who knows what else, are most likely not going to be pleasing to them.
My question is, would it be best to just tell them what they want to hear now, until such time where my answers won’t matter, or just come clean now and risk making the relationship, and our own personal lives, all the more difficult to maintain?
This would make an excellent plot for a movie. Tell them you’re a hedge fund manager and that you’re best friends with Ivanka Trump, and then in a moment of stressful comedy when they come into the Starbucks in Newark where you actually work, you can be like, “Oh, I’m just doing this for fun because I like coffee. I do it on my day off when I’m not managing hedge funds and making bazillions of dollars. By the way, have I mentioned that if I believed in God I would totally hate him? And that my childhood sucked and also I know your daughter is 16 and I’m 38, but true love knows no bounds?”
Speaking of movies, you do know that “Meet the Parents” isn’t a real scenario, and that normal parents don’t wait on the front porch with a shotgun and a polygraph with every intention of scaring the tuna salad out of their daughter’s boyfriend? I’ve met plenty of parents of boyfriends, and introduced my parents to a variety of fine young gentlemen, and they never once grilled them or made them feel uncomfortable or tried to put them on the spot. And none of the parents (well, except the one mother who told me that it’s too bad I wasn’t Jewish because she did like me very much, but oh well) said anything even remotely unkind or threatening to me. People who do that are assholes.
Don’t lie. Don’t apologize for who you are. Don’t be all proactive and “putting it all out there” on your first interaction with them (I despise people who put it all out there), because that’s just aggressive and defensive and insecure. This isn’t a battle you’re heading in to. If they ask you about politics or religion or what it was like growing up on a commune where everyone slept in cardboard boxes and used their tin foil brain wave machines to communicate with the aliens before breakfast every morning, just say something polite and noncommittal like, “I had a very interesting childhood, and I’m grateful that the path I chose brought me here,” or “I have some opinions on religion, but the best thing about living in this country is that we can all find our own way.”