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{{else}} {{/if}} {{/if}} Canada. Uniquely Canadian.
Holiday woes: Meeting the parents

Holiday woes: Meeting the parents

By Melissa Chrisman

In the comedy, Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller's character, Greg, is more than a little nervous about meeting his girlfriend's mom and dad. As a result, he tells a few well-intentioned white lies that quickly snowball and turn the weekend into a series of outlandish debacles. After breaking an urn of family ashes, backing up a septic system and a story about milking a cat, Greg finally comes clean and ends up winning the approval of his girlfriend's dad.

While most people have never resorted to tales of milking a cat, meeting the parents for the first time can be more than a little nerve wracking. Whether the result of differing family traditions or simply a good old-fashioned embarrassing slip-up, meeting your boyfriend or girlfriend's parents for the first time often results in some memorable, even embarrassing memories.

A new tradition: For example, when Terri's new boyfriend, Samir, asked her to his parent's home for Thanksgiving, she didn't hesitate. After all, she had no family of her own in town to share the holiday with. But when she arrived that afternoon, dinner was anything but the traditional turkey and dressing she had expected.

"His mom had made all kinds of Indian dishes like chicken curry and egg curry," says Terri. "The problem was I don't like curry! I didn't want to insult anyone or hurt his mother's feelings so I moved a lot of stuff around on my plate and stuck close to the pumpkin pie I brought. I went through the whole day hoping no one would notice how little I ate. That night when I got home I raided the fridge. It wasn't until months afterwards that I told Samir about it."

Looks can be deceiving: While Terri's uncomfortable situation went unnoticed, others aren't always that lucky. Take Scott, who first met his girlfriend's parents when they visited their daughter from out-of-town. "They were staying with Jill at her house and I was supposed to go over after work to meet them," he says. "I had a crazy day and was running late. Not wanting to be late and make a bad first impression, I rushed up onto the deck and straight through the door. Unfortunately, I thought it was open and didn't realize there was a screen door. The screen popped right off the hinges and into the living room floor where they were all sitting. Needless to say there was a lot of talk about my observation skills that evening!"

A revealing tale: The first time Julie met her boyfriend Devin's parents it was over a long-weekend at their home. "The first afternoon went fine. His parents were great and I instantly liked his mom," she said. "Fortunately, I soon discovered they had a sense of humor as well. The next day we were sitting in the living room watching television and out walks the family dog with my bra in his mouth! I learned a valuable lesson that weekend — never just throw your laundry in a corner when you're an out-of-town guest!"

A grape experience: For Shane, 32, meeting his girlfriend's mother was a far less formal affair. "I was shopping in the produce section at the grocery store and had just popped a handful of grapes into my mouth. I turned around and saw Denise with a woman whom she introduced as her mom. Not only was my mouth full, but I was also caught "sampling" the merchandise!

No matter what the case, if you're meeting your love interest's parents this holiday season, remember one thing — be yourself. And if you happen to have any uncomfortable or embarrassing moments in the process don't worry — you're sure to find others who've been in your shoes.