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.