So, you're going to meet your girlfriend's parents for the first time. Whether its the holidays or any other time of the year, here are some tips for making sure your first, or second, or third meeting with her parents and family goes well.
Find Out The Scoop
Number one, know where you stand. Is she out to her family? How do they feel about their daughter being gay? Are there family members who know and who don't know. Do you have to keep quiet to Aunt Lucy? Is Grandma a homophobe?
In addition to knowing where they stand on the gay thing, find out if they're vegetarians, don't drink alcohol or have a culture or custom that you should familiarize yourself with. Learn what family traditions are. You don't want to be surprised when everyone jumps from the table to head out caroling.
Dust Off That Skirt
I'll never forget the woman who told me that her girlfriend shaved her head right before going to meet her Mormon parents. What was she thinking?! Don't wear a skirt, if you're not a skirt-wearing girl, but do pay attention to your wardrobe. Dress conservatively, within your own style, of course, and for heaven's sake, don't shave your head just before the visit.
Flowers and Wine
When meeting your girlfriend's parents for the first time, be sure to bring something. It can be a bottle of wine (if they drink), some homemade jam, or some lotion from your favorite store for her mom and a cuban cigar for her dad. Learn a little about them so the gifts are meaningful.
Don't wait to be asked. Clear your plate and ask if you can help. Even if your girlfriend remains seated talking to Dad about football scores, get up and help out.
Know Where You'll Lay Your Head
If this is an overnight visit, talk sleeping arrangements over with your partner. Will your parents put you in the same room? Will you be expected to sleep side by side in the twin beds in her childhood room? If these arrangements don't suit you, and you can afford it, get a hotel room.
Make yourself a part of the family traditions. If they play Yahtzee every night after dinner, don't excuse yourself to go check email. Play along. Watch TV, play X-Box or help decorate the tree. You'll feel part of the family and you'll have the opportunity to spend time with different family members.
So, Prop 8
passed in California and you've got some really strong feelings about it, don't get into a debate with her dad about the history of marriage. Likewise, avoid topics of sex, religion and politics. Stick to tamer topics, like your work, your pets and the love you all share of the Boston Red Sox.
Don't Overdo the Eggnog
Having a drink to take the edge off is okay, but be sure not to over do it. Stay sober and alert for the family visit.
Take Needed Breaks
Walk the dog around the block, run to the store for milk or just take some time in your room. Being around your partner's family is intense. Make sure you take the time you need to rejuvenate.
Keep PDA to a Minimum
Discuss with your girlfriend beforehand what you are each comfortable with in terms of touching, hugging and kissing.
It will be over soon. Try to stay present. If you can, keep the first visit short.