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So, you’ve found a girl you you’re into. Everything is going well in the honeymoon phase, and all is copacetic. You meet her friends; they are apprehensive, but you work your charm and mix it up with the other boyfriends. But in the back of your mind, you know that the true test lies ahead. It lingers and weighs heavily on your mind – you are going to meet her father.
Remember that scene from Bad Boys 2? The one where Martin Lawrence and Will Smith meet Martin’s daughter’s Ludacris lookalike boyfriend? We all have haunting visions of a scenario in which the father hazes you, was ex-military, cleans guns in front of you or some other form of physical or mental torture. Many guys agonize over the first meeting of the girl’s father. I’ve been extremely fortunate because my previous girlfriends’ fathers have been reasonable. Sure, there were a few strange encounters, but life is full of that kind of stuff. Without some weird shit, life is plain boring.
The thing about fathers-in-law is that they know how you think. They used to chase tail and try to bring home women just like you did, but this time it’s personal because she’s his daughter. I never want kids, but the prospect of having a daughter is terrifying solely because “when you have a son, you worry about one dick, when you have a daughter, you worry about every dick.” They also know there is a strong chance you have already nailed the daughter, and they try to keep that thought out of their mind.
So how do you make a good impression? For starters, you must do your homework. Do some recon, ask around, and use context clues. Find some things he likes and educate yourself. As well, to make a good impression, you must act the part. Don’t give him a wet noodle handshake and quite honestly, the sooner you can be on a hug basis, the better. Don’t force it, but this should be something you work towards. There’s nothing like bringing it in for the real thing and seeing two guys being dudes to show mutual respect.
Speaking of guys being dudes, know when to drop jokes and rib. This is, again, a tactic that is innate to some but must be learned. Most guys like when you can give some guff but also take it. Any decent FIL can give it like the best, and mine always gives me a hard time about my ancestral home state.
The first time I met my soon to be father-in-law was at a dive bar. To paint a mental picture, he is a coal miner with a power mustache and resembles Wario. He had over-served himself and needed someone to drive him and his pride and joy Chevy truck home. Being a Ford man myself, some gentle banter was exchanged and he highlighted, “I guess I’m making a good impression” while he slugged beers and Jaeger. I still give him a hard time about our first meeting.
Probably the most crucial thing is to spend some time together. We went out for wings and cheap beer last night. He had been lagging finishing his pitcher so I said, “if you don’t get to drinking that beer, it’s going to evaporate on you.” After that, I watched him put it into fourth gear as he exclaimed, “See! I finished mine before you!” Could I have beaten him? Without a doubt, but you should let him have his day.
It’s important to be appreciative of your father-in-law. Mine isn’t perfect, but then again, no one is. He’s helped me out of a bind on multiple occasions, like putting new brakes on my car, and I’ve tried to help him cut his lawn after surgery. You must respect the relationship, as you may marry this woman and having an obstructionist FIL can put a wrench in the cogs. Since my own father has passed, I always tell him, “you’re all I’ve got” and I make sure to give him a big hug every time I see him. He always pretends to hate it, but deep down I know he enjoys it. The real joy came when one day, he was introducing me to another member of the family and I was referred to as, “his son-in-law.” Honestly, that’s all any person can ask for..
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