Monday, January 28, 2008

How My Boyfriend Became Part of My Family

When Matt and I started dating, I knew better than to tell my mom right away. After five years in New York, this Midwestern girl had earned such a (well-deserved) reputation as a prolific dater that my mom instituted a rule whereby I wasn't allowed to tell her about a new guy unless we had gone on at least three dates. So, after getting all the jerks and idiots out of my system, I started dating Matt, a nice, smart, cute guy with a real job.

The three date rule safely surpassed, I told my parents how I excited I was about him and they couldn't wait to meet him.

The next time my parents came to New York, Matt and I met up with them and made small talk in their hotel room while waiting for my sister, Stacey, to arrive. Stacey had spent the previous six weeks leading a troop (a herd? a pack? a pride?) of teenagers around the country, camping and leading social service activities. She burst into the hotel room, ripe with the smell of sweat, summer, and certainly not of showering.

She soon joined Matt and me on the bed, burrowing under the covers, and digging her feet under Matt's butt. "What are you doing?" I asked, taken aback. "Trying to get comfortable," she said. Before I could chastise her, I smelled it--more than just her unwashed stink, it was clearly a FART. Yes, my little sister was farting in front of my new boyfriend.

"Ewwww!" I jumped off the bed, "what are you doing?!" While my parents stood by laughing, Stacey reasoned, "What's the problem? Either you'll break up with him and I'll never see him again, or you'll get married and he'll be family."

True enough. A year and a half later, while we plan our wedding, I like to remind Matt that Stacey may be an unorthodox sister-in-law, but at least she's always made him feel like part of the family.

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