It’s time-honored ladymag fodder: at what point do you bite the bullet and introduce your bf/gf to mom and dad? Always impressively heteronormative, we decided to let Cosmo weigh in. They suggest: “Meeting your mom is great, because it’s typically an easy way to score points. Your boyfriend knows that as long as he speaks highly of you, asks her questions, and doesn’t accidentally use her drapes as a hand towel, Mom will probably like him. Fathers, however, are another matter. Your dad is a dude and has had sex at least once, which means he knows the kinds of things your boyfriend thinks about and the kinds of things you do with your boyfriend—and your boyfriend knows that your dad knows these things. The result is at least slight discomfort and at worst naked terror, no matter how cool or laid back Dad is. So when they first meet, try not to leave them alone together for any longer than it takes you to pee.” Well, that illuminated nothing. Here are some actual thoughts:
Jennifer: So! When should your significant other meet your parents? I say, when they’re a significant other. And not an insignificant meat-bag.
Ashley: WHY DO YOU ASK JEN
Jennifer: NO REASON MEAT POCKET.
Ashley: Um. Well, to be honest with you, I feel like whenever I encounter the “When should you introduce your SO to your parents?” question, I feel like there’s only one respectable answer is, which is, “Uh. Every relationship is different? I want to say six months or something, but that’s pretty arbitrary, ultimately. So, like, at least two weeks? At least, I think. But it’s possible. Maybe. At least that much time.” But you know, that’s not a very good headline and it certainly doesn’t fit into a slideshow.
Jennifer: Really? Two weeks? DO YOU LOVE PAIN? I’d put it at more the six month mark.
Ashley: I wasn’t suggesting two weeks, I was saying that declaring any amount of time is arbitrary and every relationship is different. Some people get married after two weeks! I don’t think it’s a good idea, per se, but I can’t just claim it’s a fundamentally horrible decision.
Jennifer: No, they’re not. They’re not arbitrary. 6 months.
Ashley: Okay, fine. I’ll say, in my experience as a dating adult (as opposed to a teenager), it’s usually been about six months, but that’s because I live 3000 miles away from my parents.
Jennifer: Nobody is different, everybody is hive mind.
Ashley: You asshole.
Jennifer: You think you’re a snowflake but you’re an iron filing.
Ashley: Look, I’m saying I have enough respect for our readers to not try and tell them their relationship should conform to whatever we randomly decide for their relationship (/all relationships). You, however, have a kind of gleeful despotism when it comes to things like this.
Jennifer: That’s true! So I’m saying 6 months or until you’re getting married. The only point of having someone meet your parents is seeing how well you would all cooperate as a larger group. I think it takes around 6 months to see if there’s any chance of you settling down with this person. Although, if you are getting married after two weeks, by all means, bring them over to meet your parents. Go to a Denny’s, eat on some paper plates. They will be easily disposed of, like your claims of eternal love.
Ashley: Have you ever been in a Denny’s before?
Jennifer: I heard about one once… I heard they put avocado in lemon.
Ashley: Avocado in lemon?
Jennifer: To keep it fresh. My mom told me about it kind of like a horror story.
Ashley: You mean they put lemon on avocado…?
Jennifer: I don’t know what you’re babbling about.
Ashley: What the hell? First of all, Denny’s doesn’t have paper plates. Second of all, I’m pretty sure a fresh avocado hasn’t rolled through a Denny’s in a good thirty years. Third of all, I just put my avocado halves in Ziplocks and suck the air out; they keep color for at least another 24 hours and worst case scanrio is you just slice that off. Also, I hate you and I don’t know what we’re talking about anymore.
Jennifer: So, what is comes down to is my parents are very wonderful and I like them a lot. They’re also like – for all their charming eccentricities like invoking the prospect of Denny’s as a terrible punishment – very warm and apt to like people I bring to meet them. So if those people are not around they will continue asking about them for years afterwards. Before they meet I had better be pretty sure this is at least someone I will stay in touch with for a good deal of time.
Ashley: Okay, let’s back up. Assuming you think introducing your significant other to your parents is necessary, you think it should be six months. Why?
Jennifer: I think if you’ve made it that long, you’re coasting into what can be considered a long term relationship. If it wasn’t going to work it would be all fights and recriminations three months in and it would be over by then. 6 months seems like a pretty good signpost for “yeah, this could be a thing that lasts for a significant amount of time.”
Ashley: Okay. I think six months is sensible. But I also think there are so many factors here–your romantic relationship, your relationship with your parents, how you feel about marriage, where you live with respect to your family–that it’s kind of impossible to say any one amount of time. Though yeah, you might not want to introduce your parents to some random guy you blew once.
Jennifer: You would do so at a Denny’s.
Ashley: On paper plates. And all your avocado will be sour and several days old!
Jennifer: Yes. Otherwise your parents will love him, and you’ll be like “that ended in a flurry of fights and dreadful recriminations for everything the other person was not.” And they’ll be like “but he helped me park my car” with big sad eyes.
Ashley: Oh man, that’s the worst. When your parents are like, “He was really nice.”
Jennifer: My parents periodically ask after them years later. Always in the same sad tone of “do you ever see Bob? ” And the answer is always “no, he leaked our sex tape, and now he runs a Denny’s.”
Ashley: I feel like you’ve made Denny’s represent a lot more than what it is: a place for drunk teenagers to go after seeing stadium rock shows and/or the birthplace of Moons Over My Hammy. Which I have neither eaten nor seen in person, but periodically laugh at, whenever I think of it.
Jennifer: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA I”M GOING TO TAKE MY MOM AND EVERY GUY I DATE TO DENNY’S. No, not really. No, you just obviously want to feel like you are going to keep in touch with anyone you introduce to your parents so if they ask in the future, even if the relationship does not work out, you can say “yes, I see Bob once every month and we volunteer with blind deaf orphans. We teach them to fence.”
Ashley: How else will they get their aggression out? They are orphans.
Jennifer: They sign that they want to kill.
Ashley: Okay. Well, I think we can both agree that introducing your SO to your parents is a serious decision (maybe) and shouldn’t be taken lightly (probably) and you should consider your future with that person honestly and thoughtfully (sure) before doing so. Also, that Denny’s is weird.
Ashley: Ugh. If I have to, I’d say… introduce your parents to your SO after two weeks and before five years.
Jennifer: What would have to happen for 2 weeks to be appropriate?
Ashley: I don’t know. Maybe you’re a one-armed contortionist with colloidal silver poisoning who speaks exclusively in Pig Latin and you met another one-armed contortionist with colloidal silver poisoning who speaks exclusively in Pig Latin through the official Weird Al fanclub, Close Personal Friends of Al. Maybe you know that it’s meant to be, maybe it’s rue-tay ove-lay. Though I’m not saying that’s likely–I was in that fanclub; I didn’t meet my soulmate either.
Jennifer: I think this is a dumb example because all you really have in common is that you look similar, which is pretty superficial. I mean if would be like if you date someone because you were tall and they were also tall. You’re both one armed? Whoopee. But! I see what you’re getting at. Still though, you could find out that they clip their fingers at the dinner table or hate stuff you like in bed or have any other manner of habits that might make a long term relationship with them UNBEARABLE. So. I’d still say wait 6 months. What would happen, in your mind, to make you not introduce someone to your parents for 5 years?
Ashley: No, you fool. Weird Al is the glue that binds our hypothetical blue-ish gray contortionists together.
Jennifer: They had one common interest. It’s like “you two are both tall and like golf. Go have babies”
Ashley: I fee like contortionists are waaaay into contortionism.
Jennifer: Not the point. 5 years. What keeps you from saying “no, too soon” for the first 4 years and 11 months and then suddenly decide “alright. I’m in. Meet my mom.” Dramatic plastic surgery?
Ashley: Maybe you met on a four and half year Arctic expedition. Or maybe you hate your parents. I’m allowing for both. I don’t put peoples’ relationships in boxes! That’s you! You do that.
Jennifer: I would put you and I in the best box, or maybe a binder. I would fill it with lemon juice!
Ashley: We would stay fresh for days. Also. This has been weirder than usual.
Jennifer: 6 months.