Mom’s Opinion of My First Boyfriend
My mom never had conversations with me about puberty or dating or any of that stuff that mothers and daughters usually talk about (I guess, anyway; maybe all moms have relationships with their daughters that are as weird as mine — I can dream, can’t I?). I never talked to her about the boys I had crushes on or asked her questions about dating, how to apply makeup, etc. I think she just hoped I’d figure it out on my own and be smart enough to not get knocked up while in high school (I did manage to stay fetus free, so take that, 16 and Pregnant alumni).
I didn’t get my first boyfriend until I was 16, which is totally normal to anyone except a teenager who’s wondering what the hell is wrong with her that no boy wants to ask her out (I think it has something to do with my tomboyishness and decidedly un-Asian levels of body hair; I often wonder if I was secretly adopted from a Greek family). He was the best friend of a kid I worked with. I met him when the three of us hung out together one afternoon, and when he asked me out on a date I immediately said yes.
I told my mom and my oldest brother that I was going out on a date, and naturally John switched to Overprotective Brother Mode and peppered me with questions. “How old is he? 18?! He’s an adult! I don’t care if he’s only one grade ahead of you, he’s 18 and you’re 16 and you need to be careful. What school does he go to? How do you know him? Where are you going? What time is he picking you up? How long will you be gone?” And so on. (My brother would later go on to have two daughters. John, you’re welcome for all of the “daughter dry runs.”)
My mom, on the other hand, was silent during the interrogation. The only thing I really remember her asking is what the boy’s name was. I told her his name was Brett.
Mom’s response: “Brat?”
Me, exasperated: “No, Brett.” Stupid language barrier, I thought.
Eventually, the day of my big first date arrived. It was a hot summer afternoon, and Brett pulled into my driveway and walked to the door. My mom and brother sprang into the room as soon as they heard the knocks, and I pushed passed them to let my date in. I said hello to him and he said hi back…and then, upon noticing that he had an audience, he froze.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few seconds of silence, he awkwardly produced a bouquet of flowers that he had been holding behind his back and thrust them towards me in one single jerky movement. “Here,” he said. I glanced back towards my mom and John. My brother was stifling a chuckle but Mom was stone-faced, looking almost disinterested in what was happening. I thanked Brett for the flowers and put them in a vase as quickly as I could so we could escape the two sets of eyes that were observing our every move.
The date itself was pretty standard. We grabbed lunch at an Applebee’s and caught a matinee of Mickey Blue Eyes, a mediocre and forgettable Hugh Grant comedy, then took a stroll around a park. He gave me a kiss and asked if I’d be his girlfriend. Excited to finally have a boyfriend, I said yes. When he dropped me off that evening, I was eager to hear what my family thought of him.
My brother didn’t think much of Brett — he didn’t dislike him, but he wasn’t terribly impressed with him, either. I think he just had high expectations for his baby sister. He teased me for a bit about how dorkily my date handed me my flowers. I rolled my eyes and turned to my mom, expecting her to say something, anything, about what she thought of him. Instead of scolding John for teasing me and saying that she thought he seemed like a nice boy, she instead started laughing. I stared at her, dumbfounded.
Mom: “Ha ha ha! Brat look so goofy giving you flowers! Ha ha!”
At that point I realized two things:
- My own mother was making fun of my first date
- I don’t think she was getting his name wrong by accident
Brett and I dated for exactly 22 days before I broke up with him. Needless to say, Mom didn’t seem too upset by the news.