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How I Learned To Stop Being Afraid Of Other People’s Parents

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Growing up, avoiding parents in order to party our nards off was our modus operandi. We thought, “no parents, no rules,” and we found ourselves scrambling to pick up the pieces after someone puked on his duvet cover or broke someone’s mom’s favorite vase while using it as an oversized pint glass during a game of Big Container (where all you do is literally just drink out of a big container while everyone chants, “BIG CON-TAIN-ER”). Life was just easier without having old people around telling you what to do and where to be.

But now? We’re beyond the “parents just don’t understand” part of our lives. We don’t drink as hard (or maybe we just finally know how to hold our liquor) and we attend more cocktail parties than power hours. I even found myself tweeting something that 21-year-old me would have hated:


Just last Friday, I was sitting at my desk doing the whole “stop thinking about happy hour, stop thinking about happy hour, stop thinking about happy hour” thing when my friend’s mom called my work line. She was calling to see if I wanted to head down to Chicago with her to see her son for the weekend. After I respectfully declined, we end up shooting the shit for, like, 20 minutes–we touched on her dog’s haircuts, whether or not her son was taking down any babes, and if a new restaurant in town had a liquor license yet. At the end of the conversation, she tossed me a “stop by the house for drinks with Tom and me sometime!”

That little off the cuff invite gave me this coming of age realization that my friend’s parents don’t necessarily just like me because I’m bros with their son. They may actually like me for my personality. And this makes complete sense. After all, these are the people who raised the guys I’ve been crushing it with for the last two decades. They’re the reason my friends like hockey instead of video games, golf instead of model trains, aged bourbons instead of bowling–they are fucking cool, and they taught my cool friends how to be cool.

So, really, why the fuck wouldn’t we get along perfectly?

I happen to live in closer proximity to most of my friends’ parents than I do to most of my friends. I don’t live in one of the largely populated, postgrad infested, frat house extension cities that all my buddies live in. Do I wish I did sometimes? You bet your ass I do. I miss out on a ton of awesome shit. But for every big weekend I miss in the city, I also get to play a round of golf five minutes from home or ski all day while they watch movies hungover in their apartments. Rural life has its perks and its pitfalls. I just happen to see more retirees around than postgrads, and I’m fine with that. I’ve entered adulthood surrounded by seasoned vets rather than rookies.

And, at this point in our lives, we are (or are supposed to be) fully functioning adults. We aren’t the needy inconveniences that old people hate. We’re in the early stages of adulthood where we’re supposed to be doing those fun “adult” things. We’re supposed to go to our friend’s mom’s dinner parties. We’re supposed to get hammered on golf courses with our girlfriend’s pops. We’re expected to be the life of the wedding receptions that the parents are paying for.

Whether you realize it or not, your friend’s parents probably like to hang out with you. At the end of the day, we’re their living, breathing liaisons to the life that they used to live (and maybe even wish they were still living). We are what they used to be. For every time your parents grounded you, they probably got a little too tipsy at a party. For every rule they made you obey, they broke it behind someone else’s back. For every little thing they told you not to do, they probably did with a shit-eating grin on their face despite knowing it would turn out badly.

And that’s what happens in life. You live and you learn. Right now, we (the mid to late twenties man- and woman-children) are just the ones living in the midst of those who have already learned all of life’s lessons. We are what our parents used to be, and they’re what we’re going to be in 35 years. “The Lion King” was on to something, guys: the circle of fucking life. Time is a flat circle, McConaughey.

This past summer, I was at a cocktail party talking to one of my buddy’s uncles when, out of the blue, he asked me, “How much pussy you think Joe DiMaggio got?” I looked over to my other buddy’s dad, who I assumed would be slightly shellshocked and uncomfortable answering the question in front of me. But, while grinning ear to ear, he responded, “Shit, probably a lot.”

And I, knowing I’d reached the promised land where nothing is off limits anymore, gave a satisfied nod and replied, “Probably a lot, indeed.” Maybe parents do understand.

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Will deFries

Will deFries (@WilldeFries) is the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries. Writer, Editor, and Content Manager at Post Grad Problems. Email me at will@grandex.co.

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