For as far back as I can remember, I’ve kept my romantic life away from my family. I’m Jewish and it’s very important for my family that I marry someone of the same faith. Ever the rebel, most of the men I’ve been attracted to—and have subsequently dated—were not Jewish. So when in the midst of those relationships, I did everything I could to keep them away from my family—out of sight, out of mind. On top of this, some unspoken jury unanimously decided that 90% of dating in New York falls into the casual or the very very casual category and so, relationships are often fleeting. Knowing that the men I date may not be in my life from one month to the next, I’ve usually opted to keep them away from my family (who are awesome and people would be sure to get attached to), in order to keep the tears at bay on both ends. TBH, there’s also an element of not wanting to hear the sure to follow, incessant litany of questions post meeting them:
Mom: Jay, where’s that nice boy you brought home last week?
Me: Oh, he was just for fun. Nothing serious.
Not exactly the type of convo you want to have with mom. So I kept them away until recently.
Right before the holiday, one of the guys I’ve been dating who happens to be Jewish, asked if he could join my family at our Rosh Hashanah dinner during a drunken night out. I woke up the next morning and texted him if he was in fact serious about joining, assuming he’d beg out of it using the booze as an excuse. Because honestly, what man on this planet would want to meet a woman’s family before they’re even in a committed relationship? But nope. He was all in.
Well sh*t I thought to myself. As a Jewish woman, I felt a bit of an obligation to give a fellow Jew a place to celebrate the holidays. On the other hand, this guy:
· Told me from date one that he was returning to England at the end of November (and that I shouldn’t get attached)
· Is quite a bit younger than me (hence the name, Baby Brit)
· Is in the midst of a quarter life crisis (so no real long-term potential)
Needless to say, bringing him home seemed to be in direct opposition with this grand plan of mine. But I thought to myself, “Self, it’s time to grow the hell up and see what it’s like to introduce a man to your parents. What the hell. Let’s bring Baby Brit home.”
Just for a bit of context, on top of my anxiety about what I considered to be a terrifying proposition, my family is kind of nuts. In the best possible way. We’re loud, inappropriate and our dinner table conversations will often veer into topics ranging anywhere from the scatological to the sexual. I’m proud as hell that my family is like this—they made me the loud outspoken person that I am today. But they’re not for everyone. Especially a British man who on our second date gently chided me (mostly facetiously) for speaking with my mouth full and using my fingers to pluck food off the plate we were sharing and deposit it into my mouth. Don’t get me wrong, my family is classy when they want to be, but they definitely didn’t go to finishing school. On top of that, my dad, brother and brother’s fiancé are all veterinarians. My bro and his fiancé live in one of the apartments in my parent’s home and between the two apartments, there are four dogs and three cats, all of whom join us at each and every family meal. Again, not for the faint of heart.
Before the big dinner, I prepped Baby Brit accordingly. I told him the names of all of my family members. Warned him about the dogs. Told him he was likely to be the politest person at the table, and that there would be a significant amount of talking going on with full mouths. Undeterred, he told me he was excited to meet them all.
Well fortunately, it turned out all that worry was for nothing. The meal went off without a hitch, aside from my brother asking his fiancé to stick her head into his armpit at one point to determine whether or not he smelled, the topic of squirting somehow arising during the meal (and my mother subsequently asking Alexa to explain what that was) and our needing to put the dogs downstairs mid meal (apparently chicken with a side of dog hair was a bit too much for Baby Brit to handle). My parents didn’t interrogate him about his life plans or what his intentions with me were, he showed up with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, like the classy kid that he is, and he impressed my family with his politeness, intelligence and British charm.
So thanks Baby Brit for making me face my fears. It wasn’t so bad after all.