We all have to go through this phase of the relationship right? Meeting the parents? While I wish I could say I’ve done this plenty of times—I haven’t. We could also probably draw a few conclusions about what this does or doesn’t say about me but the truth is I’ve only recently felt serious enough about someone to want to meet his parents, and last Saturday, I was beyond anxious leading up to meeting Brent’s parents.
I had previously settled on one outfit, but due to the rainy weather we had been having and the fact that my sister said it was too short, I decided to wear longer ensemble. As I began doing my makeup, I kept wondering what Brent’s parents were like and whether or not they would like me. Brent kept telling me there was nothing to worry about but I was still anxious; not only was I about to meet his parents, I was meeting them at The Jacobson, a local restaurant in the crossroads where the most expensive thing on the menu was about as much as it takes for me to fill my little Ford Focus. While this may not seem expensive to some, to a girl who’s only making about 30k a year, I’d never dream of eating there myself. Not only that, the pressure to impress them was higher as they picked such a nice place to take me. Maybe it seems like I’m assuming the worst in people in I thinking that they wouldn’t be willing to pay for my meal, but would they really be so generous and pay for a meal if they decided they didn’t like me; especially one so expensive?
Brent and I met a few hours before meeting his parents at The Jacobson to give me the once over and brief me on any off-limits topics for dinner. Despite being told for about the billionth time that his parents would like me, I still felt the pressure to make a good impression and for some reason part of my anxiety weighed heavily on what I would order. The old saying goes you are what you eat, but does that also attribute to how expensive the food is? What would his parents think of me if I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu? Of course it wouldn’t be on purpose, but I guess I felt as though my character weighed on how expensive the dish was; was I someone who appreciated the essentials in life or was I one to milk a free meal for all its worth?
I was surprised Brent’s parents introduced themselves by first name when we arrived at the restaurant, although Brent fully expected me to call them Mr. and Mrs. Feeling welcome the moment I arrived calmed many of my anxieties and was able to focus my attention on what I was going to eat. Brent of course told them about my insecurities about what I would order but they quickly assured me that I could order whatever I wanted. So I did. I didn’t order one of everything but I did worry less about how much my food would cost. I started with an “On the Boulevard” cocktail, a drink involving muddled strawberry and cucumber. I was glad I settled for a lighter drink as Brent’s parents were intent on spoiling me with an array of food. Neither Brent nor I had eaten prior to dinner, so he suggested an appetizer. He quickly pointed out the macaroni gratin while his parents suggested the ceviche. Overwhelmed, I sat back and listened while Brent and his parents debated over which appetizer we should get. Brent advised his parents I was kosher and so couldn’t have the ceviche anyway. Finally, Brent’s mom looked at me and asked what I wanted; I was in the spotlight and everybody was waiting for me to make a decision. Upon scanning the appetizers, I found there weren’t many kosher friendly options, but eventually decided on the macaroni gratin and trio of spreads plate; we ordered the red pepper humus, roasted garlic and chickpea spread and white bean and truffle puree spread.
I thought I had played it a little safe on the appetizers but none of them seem to complain. It was soon time to order dinner and I still had no idea what to order; I was too caught up listening to Brent’s parents tell funny stories about his family and about Brent as a child. I quickly picked up my menu and muddled over what to order. I finally decided on the bourbon glazed cedar plank salmon; the same thing Brent’s mom ordered, which Brent found to be very cute. It’s not very often that I have salmon as tender as the salmon I had that Saturday. My sister, self-proclaimed fish connoisseur, would have been impressed. The bourbon glaze provided the perfect amount of sweet which complimented the slightly salty potato strings on top. I only got about halfway through my salmon before I thought I might explode. Brent, however continued muscling through his KC strip steak, leaving only a few bites for the server to pick up.
Dinner had been a success; I made it through with Brent’s parents and hadn’t put my foot in my mouth—so I assumed—and I no longer felt guilty about the dinner I had. I realized I didn’t need to; Brent’s parents are happy to take Brent and I out to dinner just to get to know me. I had a lovely time and I had great food to go with equally great family stories. After was all said and done, both of Brent’s parents hugged me goodbye, which Brent was surprised his dad hugged me at all. I smiled at my victory as I took Brent’s arm as we walked back to his car. Brent told me once that he had a knack for meeting parents and I was starting to think that maybe I did too.