The first time I introduced a man to Mami, I flash backed to a scene from Meet the Parents. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) was under attack by the strict and protective Jack Byrnes (Robert Dinero). Stiller’s character shook under the heat of the thermal light, as his future father-in-law began an interrogation. As I turned the knob of Mami’s door, my current boyfriend beside me, I pictured Mami on the other side, smacking a chancleta across her hand in preparation for her own interrogation. I imagined her preparing a sancocho spiked with truth serum.
“What are your intentions with mi hija?”
she’d yell in broken English, smacking him on the behind with said chancleta. He’d be in tears and I’d be mortified.
Fortunately, none of my fears came to pass. Mami adored Elijah, mostly because of how he carried himself and interacted with us. Though my Puerto Rican/Colombian boyfriend spoke very little Spanish, he tried. Mami noted his efforts, paid attention to his body language and tone of voice, as mothers and fathers do.
So, how can you make a good impression on your Latina (or non-Latina) girlfriend’s parents? Start with these pointers.
First Impressions Are Everything
Though they say not to judge a book by its cover, you, as “The Boyfriend,” will be judged harshly! This is why it’s crucial to look your best the first time you meet the parentals. Make sure your attire is clean and pressed. If you usually rock oversized pants, buy yourself a new pair that doesn’t expose your ass. Latino parents are all about el que diran, which is why looking presentable and minding your manners, is of the utmost importance. Juan Santiago, a 23-year-old Dominican bartender from New York City knows this well.
“Meeting the parents is almost like a job interview,”
Santiago says. When he met his Dominican girlfriend’s parents at her college graduation dinner, he made sure to be the best Juan he could be. “To be honest, my manners aren’t that great,” he admits. “But I put the napkin on my lap, made sure I used the right utensils and even pulled out her chair.”
So all my Latino men, put your best foot forward when it comes to your appearance and manners. Mind your “P’s and Q’s.” Get a haircut. Trim that facial hair. And please, leave the sneakers at home!