For all the years I’ve been dating, for all the years my brothers have been dating, there is this annoying little glitch in our family circle that has yet to be overcome.
My parents hate all outsiders.
No no, I’m serious. Gloom and Doom hate anyone and everyone of the boyfriend/girlfriend genre. And frankly, they can be quite obnoxious about it. They are very dismissive of anyone who we bring by for an introduction. My brother had a therapist who likened our family to a cult. Don’t believe me? Think I’m exaggerating? You’ll see. Take for instance when I was dating a man who lived in Queens. He was Greek, so I figured it was safe to introduce him to them.
Velvet: Mom, this is Billy.
Mom (Gloom): Hi Bill. Nice to meet you.
It’s subtle, but it is there. The name abbreviation. Get it? They tolerated Billy, he was at least allowed in the house. But the others? Oh boy.
For years this insanity required my brothers and I to “sneak around” with significant others. But then you get to be in your early 20’s and you’re like, “Shit, I have a job, my own money, what the fuck am I doing?” So you foolishly tell Gloom and Doom that you met someone by the name of AtlantaBoy and that you are in love and are going to move in together. You are met with stunned surprise, then something along the lines of “You have proven yourself to be the biggest disappointment of our lives.” Everyone resumes their respective sneaking around, to which Gloom and Doom are wise, and say things like, “You kids don’t tell your parents anything!” But they have yet to realize that we don’t tell them because it is the same old routine every time.
Gloom and Doom boycotted my older brother’s wedding to a non-Greek. Of course there were other reasons why, but I guarantee that if my sister-in-law’s maiden name was something-opolous they would have been there. My oldest brother dated the sister-in-law who got away and she was sure that Gloom and Doom would like her because “no one’s parents ever disliked her.” Poor thing. She was wrong. I went through the cold shoulder / he’s not good enough / we’re going to pretend he doesn’t exist mentality for 6 years with AtlantaBoy. My brothers didn’t fully understand it until it happened to them. After some discussion, we all came to the same conclusion: It’s a Greek thing. Greeks are extremely ethnocentric. Even among other Greeks – if you were from the “wrong” island, my Grandmother would not be seen speaking to you. I guess Billy wasn’t from Crete. Shit, what did I know? I thought I was doing good because his last name ended in -giannis.
So you may find this hard to believe since we’ve all been living, breathing, reading and shitting Sherlock since July, but, Gloom and Doom haven’t heard a peep of his existence. Until Friday. I had this grand plan to tell my mom all about it, to drop the word that there’s a boyfriend and it’s pretty serious. But, somehow, I ended up on the phone with my dad and my mom wasn’t home. He was clearly bored and in the mood to talk. The conversation went something like this.
Dad: How are Sammy and Thora doing with the cold weather?
Velvet: They are okay. They don’t like it too much, but they get by with shorter walks.
Dad: You aren’t leaving the balcony door open for them now are you?
Velvet: Well, not today. It’s 15 degrees out there. And they aren’t even home anyway.
Oops. It came out of my mouth faster than I realized. I hoped he didn’t hear me, because he really has selective hearing, but that didn’t happen.
Dad: Where are they?
Velvet: Well, I was getting ready to tell you and mom this. There’s a boyfriend now, and it’s pretty serious. Anyway, Sammy and Thora are with him today.
Dad: Which guy is this?
We launched into a back and forth with me dispensing the details and my dad jumped on Sherlock’s company website and started looking around. Then he said something that sounded like he might actually be impressed by what this company does. Whoa. This is unprecedented.
Dad: So, how did you meet him?
Not seeing the point of lying at 33 years old, I said, “Match.com.” I also briefly considered trying to validate it by mentioning that my oldest brother met the sister-in-law who got away on match.com, but they didn’t like her either, so no sense in poisoning the well.
Dad: What did you say it was?
I repeated myself. He repeated it back to me, wrong again. There I am, sitting in my office screaming “MATCH DOT COM! MATCH, LIKE YOU ARE LIGHTING A FIRE WITH A MATCH.” Awesome. There is silence. I can hear the wheels turning in his brain. I imagine him looking for my profile. I contemplate directing him to some other profiles I know of on match. Then he speaks.
Dad: Ha! That sucker! You dumped the dogs off on him?
That was basically the end of it. Now, I know what everyone is thinking: “Wow. That went really well Velvet. Maybe Gloom and Doom aren’t so bad.” But, you would be wrong. For, if OlderBrother and Oldest Brother were comment numbers one and two on this post, here is what they would say:
OlderBrother: Why are you bothering me with this shit? I hate them. They didn’t come to my wedding, and besides, we had another baby last night, “cutest baby in the world number deux,” and thinking about them not knowing their grandkids just pisses me off. You just wait, you’re going to get the “WE DECIDED” phone call in a few days: “We decided that Sherlock is an alien homophobe who hates Greeks and wants to annihilate the entire population, and has three wives across the country who he’s supporting as well as several kids. And he’s probably 50 and an alcoholic.”
OldestBrother: Yeah, wait till Dad tells Mom and they develop all their conspiracy theories on Sherlock. They will come up with something ridiculous about him that they can use to tell you that he’s not right for you, then they will say that there’s enough time to get to the Greek Church on Sunday and meet someone. I don’t know why you tell them anything in the first place.
That’s about how I expect it to go. I told my OldestBrother on Friday about the above conversation and he said, “You know, when this is all said and done the only person in this family they are going to be speaking to is a dog. Sammy.”
You need that girl from wierd science.
Is Thora not Greek??
I will never again complain that my parents never tell me what they think of my “significant others” until AFTER the relationships have ended.
Damn, Velvet, I’m sorry.
Johnny – I do!!!!
Scarlet – No, they don’t like Thora. They think she slobbers too much. Retarded, isn’t it? My brother even said that the other day, Thora’s as good as interracial to them.
Meghan – OMG, you are so lucky to have parents who keep quiet. I wish mine did that. Well, I guess they do, but it’s in an insulting “we don’t like you so we’re going to pretend you aren’t here” kind of way.
Thats an interesting theory mom but you are wrong.
“But mom, I tried dating a Greek guy remember Bill? You were so right about him. I am never dating another Greek guy after that one!
Then just quietly hang up the phone while they are still sputtering. I must say I am blessed with parents whos position is pretty much just If you are happy then we are happy
well, all i can think to say is, good luck. on all fronts.
What’s that Greek fried dough ball thing coated with powdered sugar? That’s a good sweet.
Eh, so what. Life is too short, if it’s working with you and Sherlock, forget about it.
They boycotted your brother’s wedding? OMG! That’s hardKore.
They’re not even going to be talking to Thora?? Unfair.
I grew up with ethnocentric. However, once my older sister married out of the species, my parents softend up. Mine are not as bad as yours, well in their own way of course. But it makes for great blog fodder.
Serious huh? Good to hear V.
Gloom and Doom have a very intricate system in place, don’t they? Wow. Thank god you have a sense of humor!
Why not just introduce him as Sherlockopolous…
Wow! Boycotting a wedding is serious. My family is very melodramatic and there are always threats of boycotting weddings. My Dad swore up and down that he wasn’t going within 100 yards of the church where my sister got married. He did this (along with the yelling and threats) up until the night before the wedding, but he ended up being there and giving her away.
One of my uncles, famously, kept telling his daughter “it’s not too late to change your mind” during the days leading up to the wedding. He kept repeating it, even while he was walking her down the aisle.
Dammit. I was going to suggest Sherlocksidelis since all the other suffixes were taken.
My mom loves you so we can just move you over to our family. You’ll fit right in with the motorcycle and the drinking and the swearing. Although the other broads in the family might try to TAKE your man…at least he’ll be loved!
(I wonder whether 6s&7s remembers talking to me on the phone Saturday night)
That’s seriously hardcore. Would I be wrong to guess that, at the same time that they’re slamming all of your boyfriends, they are nagging you to find a nice guy and settle down and have some kids? Because that’s always the icing on the cake.
I get along with my parents very well but not other members of the family. I’ve always lived by the theory that you don’t get to pick your family but you choose your friends and significant others so their opinions tend to be much more important to me.
Fenceer4 – You are a lucky man. Next Mother’s Day, you should get your mom two dozen flowers instead of just one.
AlieMalie – Thank you!
Lion – I think you are thinking of Loukoumas?
E:) – Yes, I told them the morning we were leaving that they would regret this for years to come, and they didn’t believe me.
JordanBaker – No, they don’t like Thora. She’s the “ex-boyfriend’s” dog.
WickedH – Usually people can say, “Hey, okay, this is serious, perhaps I should put my grudge aside for a day and then resume grudge tomorrow.” Not Gloom and Doom though. No way.
Reya – You have to have a sense of humor with them. There’s no other way.
Urchette – Because then they will find me out. They will realize that he’s not Greek by some statement he makes and then they’ll get me for the lying.
Ninja – That sounds so familiar. Just like the Velvet Family!
I66 – HA!
6’s & 7’s – And I know how to make your mom happy. Shopping bags!
I66 – If you could have SEEN 6’s & 7’s on the phone with you, laying on Giggle’s bed, twirling the wire for the ear piece. She was like a girl in Junior High. Too funny!
MysteryGirl! – Well, they do nag, but it’s always of the same variety – “Why don’t you go to the Greek Church?” They came to town a few years ago and dragged me, and I got hit on by a 60 year old man. I refused to go back.
Eric – That’s a good theory. And you’re totally right.
Well actually my mother hasn’t talked to the rest of the family in about 2 years but my Dad and stepmom is cool. Nothing is perfect.
Oh babygirl…I’m sorry. I realize more and more as I get older that my parents are freakishly easygoing when I hear these scary stories…I’m sorry you even have to deal with that—BUT I am so glad you talked to them about Sherlock. YAY! 🙂
Great. Next you’re going to tell me she played a game of M.A.S.H. with me prominently involved.
Huh? Oh yeah. Remember. I am starting to remember a lot….wow.
You just need to figure out how to get your boyfriend and your parents to bond.
I suggest hiring the HomeI’mprovementNinja to stage a mock assault/mugging/home-invasion. This always works in the movies.
Next time they come to town:
-You come home from dinner with your parents. There is an evil (notEvil) ninja, making long distance calls to Tokyo on your phone.
-Sherlock charges in, roaring. (Make sure Sherlock and roar, if he squeaks like a sissy-girl, you may want to try something else.)
-They make with the mano a mano for a few seconds. Don’t give it away by making with the Star-Trek “Dun dun Dun dah dun dun dun” sound effects.
-Sherlock tosses HIN out the window. Everyone rushes and looks, but no HIN on the pavement. He’s gone. (Hello? Ninja….)
-You decide shortly after to take a dream-job in Europe and have a big blow-out with Sherlock.
-At the last minute he decides that he can’t live without you and devises an overly-elaborate last minute plan to stop the plane, which by now is on the runway, from taking off. He in no way is shot/tasered/beaten/pepper-sprayed/successfully-restrained by ariline personel or Homeland Security agents.
-You decide that true love is more important to you than fulfilling your professional aspirations and tearfully embrace him to the applause of the rest of the passengers that are NOT increadibly pissed off at your for delaying their flight and are NOT attacking Sherlock for unexpectedly barging onto the plane.
-Cut to Sherlock and you leaving for your honeymoon, where HIN plays the violin or some other romantic instrument out of sight of the other wedding guests.
For further bonding/suck-uppage. Have Sherlock say the only reason he survived the “fight” is due to his sewing tacks into the fabric of his shirt.
Did I ever tell you the story about how my mom broke down… crying… after meeting the Turk? She started wailing “But he’s not even a Christian or from a Christian country!” Sob. Sob. Sob.
Well, if your parents come up with conspiracy theories about Sherlock, make up a little lie: tell them the alternate was a Turk. That should help them appreciate what Sherlock isn’t.
Wait, so does this mean there was a M.A.S.H. game? Nobody’s denying it here and frankly I’m a little worried.
I assure you, it’s not just the Greeks.
I feel your pain. As well as your hopeful optimism that is likely to lead to heartreak.
I think ALL parents have a hard time believing that anyone could ever be good enough for their babies. It certainly doesn’t justify nasty comments or irrational actions, but it reminds me that I’ll probably act the fool myself if/when I’m a mommy. Thank goodness you have a healthy sense of humor about the whole relationship/parental approval mess! 🙂
what’s a MASH game?
They’re just mad they didn’t get to trade you off for a dozen goats when you were 13 like in the old country.
6/7. There’s no way you didn’t ever play M.A.S.H.
I just read the Wikipedia article, that game doesn’t sound very interesting.
Maybe it’s because I’m approaching 30 and the parents are now desperate and thinking I might be “leftovers”, or that they’ve seen how much my poor heart has been through, that they now pretty much accept anyone that makes me happy. Goodie, goodie.
I’ve never brought a boyfriend home, nor have I ever mentioned having one. At this point, I don’t think it would matter if I showed up on the arm of Flavor Flav or Ellen Degeneres. I’m sure my Mom would be jazzed to meet anyone who has seen me naked.
And I thought my ex-boyfriend’s parents were tough – they are Russian, not Greek, but it’s pretty much the same deal. One of his relatives asked what was wrong with me when I told him I didn’t speak Russian. My parents are the opposite – they think everyone I date is going to be serious and want to meet them the minute I mention a guy. But I’m not complaining about them anymore after reading this!
Put some Windex on it, that’ll clear things up!
well..i suppose you have to give them consistency..my mama taught me to look for the positive..but this was a tuff one…ouchie…
Well, I guess the cat’s out of the bag now. What next? Have you talked to your mom? Maybe they will play it differently so they don’t give up 2 children… At some point G & D have to suck it up if they EVER want grandchildren!
OK, when growing up did they complain if you didn’t have Greek friends too? I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to meet your parents.
*face is read*
Same lyrics used for a post roughly a week later… Is this the same as wearing the same gown to an event? *ponders a bit*
Glad to read (via the poetry post) that things are going well for you! 🙂
As a fellow (DOG) “daughter of greeks”, I agree with you 100% with the hellenic need to constantly size everything up. If it wasn’t for my parents getting divorced I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to trying to explain new relationships…
You can pick your friends, but not your family.
Believe me – I am 40 – it is the safest route.
It is so much more peaceful to live life as you know you should than perpetuate hundreds of years of manipulation and ‘familiarity’ to ruin a next generation [the one you may bring into the world].
Stop the stupidity. Cease the madness.