Rules for My Boyfriend When Meeting My Father
1. When shaking his hand, put your off-hand on his shaking hand, providing a snug shake-pillow. Hold for one to two beats, then release your hands gently. This will show him that you're committed, that you're brave enough to put two hands to his one. My father is a huge man and few people do this.
2. If he sees you looking at his banjo he will insist upon playing. DO NOT mention "Dueling Banjos" or Deliverance
. Just don't.
3. He may want to kiss you on the mouth a little. While this is not our family's custom as much as my father's own, just let him kiss you. He's not gross about it or gratuitous, but he may come off more passionately than you'd expect. Again, just let him. It's a strange alpha-dog sort of thing and it should be dry.
4. He'll interpret how you look at my mother. If you look at her too much, he'll be offended. If you don't look at her at all, he'll be offended. The best thing to do is to look at her once when you come in, once while we are all talking, and once when you leave. He'll call her any number of nicknames--Sweet Fingers
, Jelly Neck
, Pegs McSwegs
, Lip Service
--and you should just pretend those are the most common nicknames you've ever heard.
5. When my father mentions The Devil, you need to look concerned. You hate The Devil too. Show this disgust on your face. He always says that The Devil took his eye, but he has both eyes and he can see fine. Again, just go with it. If he asks you why you hate The Devil say something like, "The Devil gave me this limp." But don't limp. He'll know we planned that.
6. Don't wear any watches or rings or bracelets or necklaces. No jewelry.
7. My father's got a thing for old British actors. He loves Paul Scofield, but not Lawrence Olivier. He won't care about your preferences so much, but just don't badmouth Scofield. It probably won't come up at all, but you should be ready.