Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Around The Dinner Table & GIVEAWAY

Have I mentioned before that my family is a tough crowd-- In a very loving way, of course, but tough nevertheless. Case in point-- Meeting new boyfriends.

I learned early in my dating years never to bring a boyfriend home to meet my family unless I was SURE he couldn't live without me. Around our house, boyfriends were questioned, "checked out" and an easy target to embarrass and harass. Not the boyfriend, oh no, no, no-- the embarrassment was aimed directly at our siblings! Most of the time it was all in good fun to let the guy know not to mess with our sisters but a few times... well, let's just say the "questioning" stung a little too much for me and I avoided the entire "meet the family" gatherings at all costs.

But, since we lived in a small town, everybody knew everybody's business and boys had to meet my parents and understand the "rules" or there was no dating. Period!

Rule Number One was that boys had to abide by my Mom's very strict 11pm curfew. If a boy brought one of us home so much as a minute late, our Mom was parked at the front door, in her rocking chair, reading the Bible, and perched to scare the hell out of the boy. I kid you not!

My oldest sister Marie was guilty of breaking the 11pm rule a lot and spent so much of her teen years grounded that I was never late-- Of course my high school boyfriend was afraid of my Mom so that helped too.

Fast forward to my past weekend in Ohio. It seems the "boyfriend checkout" continues and has evolved into an art form. My lovely niece, Victoria, just turned 16. About 2 months ago she started "dating" Kevin. Dating has changed a lot since my day with more group outings than one-on-one-pick-me-up-kind-of-dates but they are definitely "a couple". Naturally, Kevin had to pass the "parents test" before they were allowed to go out together.

Victoria was comfortable enough (or should I day delusional enough) to invite Kevin to our big family bbq with three generations in attendance, including my folks, my adult siblings and all of Victoria's generation of siblings and cousins. Now it was the rest of the family's opportunity to check him out. Let me tell you, the look on Kevin's face when he walked into the living room was priceless. As we said back in the day, the poor guy didn't know if he should "s**t or go blind".

We were all greeted politely. My brother shook his hand and gave a thumbs up when Kevin looked him in the eye and called him Sir. My Mom gave him the once over then a big hug. My sisters told him what a brave guy he was to come to dinner, and I welcomed him to the Zoo. I actually saw him breath a sigh of relief when he was invited to sit down.

Victoria and Kevin sailed through dinner unscathed, even holding hands under the table. Ahhh, young love. But our "best behavior" didn't last long. Dessert was being served and Kevin was invited to the hot seat next to my very protective, oldest niece Meredith, who, at the ripe old age of just 26, has ridden shotgun over the cousins since they were born.

Meredith is a lovely newlywed and all of about 105 powerful pounds. As soon as she had Kevin seated next to her, the rest of the family knew what was in store and gathered round. The conversation, in rapid fire, went something like this...

M: So Kevin, you like my niece?

K: Yes M'ame, I like Victoria very much.

M: What's your favorite hobby?

K: Football M'ame.

M: Do you like football better than you like Victoria?

K: No M'ame, I like Victoria way better than football.

[Ohhh and ahhhs from the family.]

M: What exactly do you mean by "way better"? Never mind, Kevin, What's Vic's favorite color?

K: Orange M'ame, like the color of the socks she's wearing today.

[The crowd cheers for Kevin. Victoria sits a little straighter in her chair.]

M: What color are Vic's eyes?

K: Light brown M'ame?

M: And do you spend a lot of time looking into Vic's eyes when you are driving and supposed to be watching the road? Never mind, Kevin, where exactly are your hands when you are driving my cousin in your car?

K: Steering wheel M'ame and yes we both wear our seat belts.

[Kevin scores extra point with the adults]

M: So Kev, babe, what do you like best about our dear Victoria?

Chirp, chirp. Kevin was silent. We heard crickets! He blushes brightly. Victoria looked like this.....

M: Kevin, are you still with me?

K: Yes M'ame

M: Let's move on. Kevin, what's your favorite flower and have you sent them to Victoria yet? Scratch that. What is your idea of the perfect date?

[Without missing a beat....]

K: A perfect date is one that ends at 11pm sharp with Victoria safe at home M'ame.

[Good answer-- More cheers!]

M: When was the precise moment you decide you liked our Victoria?

K: The minute I saw her M'ame.

M: Right answer Kev. Just one more question. Are you fully aware that if you make our Victoria cry, no scratch that, if you make Victoria so much as whimper with sadness, all of the people in this room will hunt you down; you understand that, right Kevin? Am I clear on that? Our Victoria is very precious to us.

K: Yes M'ame, Victoria very precious to me too.

At this point the poor guy was sweating bullets, my niece was again smiling joyfully and all is right in the world.... For as long as Kevin is good to our girl Victoria.

Yes, we know this will not be the last interrogation of boyfriends around our family dinner table but Kevin was a great sport and took it like any nervous as hell 17 year old boy could. Afterwards, Victoria gave him a big hung and told him "You're in Dude!"

It's nice to see that as time changes, some traditions stay the same.

Did your siblings cover your back?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna
Photo Credit: Mine
Don't Forget: Leave a comment on THIS POST and any NEW POSTS between now and AUGUST 16th to automatically be entered in The Fifty Factor Time & Money GIVEAWAY! For full Contest details click here or on the picture of the cake in the above right corner.


  1. I am the oldest, and my parents divorced when I was 18, so no interrogations, thankfully!

  2. dang I thought my step dad the social worker was bad and he was also in charge of the juvenile delinquent home...dang .. Way to go Kevin :-)
    Great cute family story love it!

  3. grace and manners under pressure; Kevin is definitely a keeper (for the time being I'm sure). how cute!! I have an older brother/sister; we didn't really cover each other's backs when it came to dating; I think we were all on our own, LOL


  4. Great story. I have only one sister and she is 7 years younger than me (I?? English isn't my cup of tea!). Mom and Dad let me have boyfriends, but dating was out of the question until I was in my Jr year in high school...actually about 1/2 way through it. Boys had to come to visit me. Fortunately, there was the rec room in the basement where I hid out most of the time...and I was allowed to have my friends in that area. of course, the living room, mom and dad's bedroom was right above the rec room. Dad didn't question the boys...he just was Dad and mean looking.

  5. Awe, the poor guy! But it shows good character that he survived that! And did good.
    Since my daughters are the oldest from all the cousins and they have not brought home "a guy" to family gatherings yet, I don´t know how that will go...

  6. Oh wow! he got GRILLED!

  7. Wow, Kevin can certainly think on his feet! Pretty cool 17 year old--he's ready to enter the diplomatic world. Do you think Victoria coached him? :-)

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  9. Poor Kevin! Sounds like he did a great job though and with that behind him, the family visits will be easy!

  10. That sounds like a scene from a movie - not real life! What a great sport he was! I love it - more family stories, please.

  11. He is only 17? It was so polite and respectful.

    I did laugh, maybe if my parents had questioned my previous boyfriends like that, it would have gotten rid of the 'bad apples'!

    He sounds lovely - hope it works out.


  12. Are you sure you guys aren't Mafia? LOL!! Your family is very protective! I think that's great and so very cute!!

    My sister helped me with a bully when I was a Freshman and she was a Senior in high school. I was able to date who ever I wanted. Which, wasn't always that great!

    Great post!


  13. My half brother wasn't around when I was dating. So, it wasn't that...I just remember my two aunts trapping the guy and asking him way too many questions for my comfort.

    Nothing like a little grilling before dinner, no?

  14. What a great story and a great young man. :)

    The picture of your niece is perfection! ;-)

    I'm the youngest of 5 and the only girl.

    I think that probably tells you everything you need to know. LOL

  15. Actually, what you describe in this post sounds like a lot of fun. I had one brother and didn't live with him and our mother after age 12 so there never was anyone to cover my back. But I think I would have liked it.

  16. Thank goodness I never had to go through anything like that! I probably would have eloped! :-)

  17. I am so glad I am not dating anymore! lol

  18. Go Meredith! She's my sort of girl.
    Your Victoria (from what I can see of her) is adorable.
    I love to ask awful, embarassing questions of my kids 'dates' too!
    Last time our PROBLEM daughter Lacy was home with a guy I gave him a real hard time... and she wasn't even dating him at that time. They have since gotten engaged.. he must have like us! And you have NO IDEA how bad some of my questions were to him!
    He is a paraplegic and I asked him if 'it' still worked! Gawd I'm evil. (and 'it' does still work, Just so ya know)... lol.

  19. oh that was rich...yeah been

  20. That is so great! I'm glad Kevin passed the test and I'm glad that your family cares so much about one another! You don't see that as much these days!

  21. That is so funny and so perfect. I loved it! Brought back a lot of memories!

  22. And I thought my younger brother was tough!

  23. Wow. That's tough- but so wonderful that she has a family who loves her so.
    I think, in spite of the obvious drawbacks, that that kind of family treatment would have saved me a lot of boy trouble.

  24. OMG that was just too funny - poor guy...but what a peach - and a keeper!!! The pictures - too cute!!!
    Great post!!
    Please add me to your contest - how fun is that!!!! Sarah

  25. 16 and a serious boyfriend....I'm almost there with my daughter and I'm not liking the thought.

    I think I'll keep a copy of this for future reference.

  26. I'm in a sea of comments, but I'm compelled to leave one anyway. This conversation is something I'd expect in a movie! Hilarious and just too perfect to be real. Loved it. Never had that experience myself, but I did get a few looks from fathers that actually made me fear for my life.



  27. That boy sure was a good sport!

    Someone once sent me a questionaire titled APPLICATION TO DATE MY DAUGHTER. Oh Lord this is sooo funny! I gave it to my daughter's boyfriend when she was 14 and he was 15 and that kid was going to take it! He thought it was real! LOL

  28. I love your mom and her bible, haha. My mom would wait in the dark living room, smoking a cigarette, yikes. When my daughter's dates would pick them up Cute Hubby would be sitting there polishing a rifle and have a shovel sitting next to his chair.

  29. Poor guy! I felt his pain just from reading about it. I have to say that he's now on pins and needles that if the relationship doesn't turn into marriage, he's going to have to run for the hills.

    Let me know what your schedule is like. I'd love to get together!

  30. I am the youngest and as my mom says "the one that got all the hormones" so my two older sisters had lots of boys to interrogate. They even did it over the phone when the boys called.

  31. Oh, this was funny. And embarrassing. Kevin deserves several medals - he'll go far with those super smooth answers!

  32. Joanna, you are my Jane Austen of the blogosphere. I think society in general needs a good dose of your mum and dad with complimentary extended family thrown in to sort out the myriad of uncontrollable youth running wild these days! Can I book in a Skype conference call now for when my daughter reaches dating age, please? Welcome back from your holiday.

  33. Excellent fun! It's pretty impressive for a kid to hold up to that kind of teasing when there is an army watching his every move. I'm impressed! I was one of 5 - 3 of them brothers. I never had to worry about anyone picking on me. They didn't just have my back; I had a force field around me. My oldest brother was tough on the boys too.

  34. What a great story! My son is 16, I kept thinking of him in Kevin's place. I wonder if he would have fared as well.

    When I was a teenager, everyone (friends and boyfriends) were afraid of my brothers. I suppose that's because they once threatened a boy who was harrassing me.

  35. We all need a Meredith in our lives. For me it was my grandmother - an old
    Scot, she looked at my future spouse whom I had brought home for Thanksgiving. With a twinkle in her eye she glared at him and said, "if you mess with my granddaughter, i'll slit your throat." they've got along famously from then on., What a great story and description! He sounds very well trained and as if he passed testing very nicely :)

  36. Dad had a propensity for cleaning his shotgun at 11pm, and my brother would stand over my shoulder when I was on the phone and say things like "tell him not to eat garlic before he comes over."

    Victoria is a very fortunate young woman, and I could feel the heat from her blush days later and through the screen.

  37. That is so fun! I love interrogations!

  38. Wow thats pretty intense!
    KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

  39. Where did you find this boy!! What a riot - yes sir!! My boys would have both been kicked out.

  40. Hoooray for Kevin to keeping his cool - very nice!
    And my family are the same. It's not so much an interogation but more darting glances across the room and underhand comments...not cool!
    When I got introduced to an 'exs' parents he warmed me they would ask a gazillion questions - I gave as good as I got and his dad was chuffed with me :-P

  41. Holey moley. And these boys actually are heard from again, are they?

    I think the young ones today have the right idea about "dating." More fun, less pressure.

    As for MY're kidding, right? I think I was rated about three notches below barn cat.

  42. First of all--thanks for your comment on my blog yesterday...

    Second of all--how in Heaven's name do you get 44 people to comment on your blog?

    And last of all--I loved the "stroll down memory lane

    My mother was called "Midnight Molly" and my grandma was behind the door with an umbrella at the storke of midnight and whacked her more than once...

    But my darling mother Marie always said it was worth it--I was a "Goody Two-Shoes" Guess I missed out on a lot!

  43. Our family does something similiar to the newbies but not as much as you...very funny.

  44. Oh poor Kevin! What a great sport--from the sounds of those answers he's either Eddie Haskell's son or extremely well prepped! I don't think D could answer some of those questions right after 14 years of marriage!

  45. Sounds like a nice young man. You could also tell him all of us bloggers will be on him too if he makes Victoria cry. That should really scare him.
    I think it is sweet he says yes ma'am. He's been taught to be respectful.


  46. Oh I forgot to tell you my dating story. I am the oldest. I only have one sister. I always wanted an older bro. Anyway, I have a boy cousin that is a few years older than me. When I was 16 or so I was on a date with this guy and I guess my cousin found out where we were going. I saw him later there at a distance kind of checking on things. It was very reassuring and made me feel good.


  47. I think I am in love with Kevin.

    Oh...that young love....boy, I miss that...

  48. That sure was some third degree Meredith gave Kevin. Do yo think maybe Victoria might of clued Kevin into what he was in for? Thank you for coming by, have a nice weekend.

  49. Sounds like Kevin passed the family test! My parents were very strict when I was young. My curfew was 11 p.m. also and my mom was always waiting with the porch light on. Guess some things never change. They sound like a cute couple that cares for each other.

  50. lord howdy you get a lot of commenters.

    1. Entering the contest again.

    2. Yeah, just the fact the boy withstood the barrage of questions means he's quality. Men who can sit there and not only take it but be charming and thrive, well

    THAT's a keeper

    but, a few follow ups

    A. What does he do? School? What are his favorite subjects? Does he play football?

    B. What are his plans, college? What subject? Why?

    C. What is his relationship like with his Mom? His sister?

    i could go on but . . . . I'll let the rest slide for now :)

  51. Priceless! I loved this post :-)

  52. That was so sweet!
    (Please note that blogger is suffering difficulties with open id's so Cat=Knittnkitten for purposes of giveaway).

  53. Ok, I've stopped laughing long enough now to leave a comment.

    This is just plain funny. Your story brings back < throat clearing ahem> fond memories of teenage dating. I can still remember the staring eyes as I'm being introduced by my girlfriend, and the mind boggling questions that followed.

    Ah, the good ole days.

  54. My husbands father did this to me when his son and I started dating.

    I thought he was completely serious until he busted out laughing after I turned 10 different shades of red.

    He was a wonderful father-in-law :)


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