Tips For Meeting the Parents, Featuring Ian

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Some people tend to use the festive period as the perfect time to introduce their other halves to their family for the first time; having everyone grouped together in one place, what could go wrong? Right? Well, I found it surprising how nervous and apprehensive a lot of guys feel when meeting the folks for the first time, from watching what they say right down to the dress code. Menswear brand Jacamo have recently compiled their top tips and tricks for meeting the parents during Christmas time   which makes for a really great read!

In the run up to Christmas, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to highlight some tips and personal anecdotes on meeting the parents and who else better to take it away than my boyfriend Ian!

Meeting the parents for the first time…

I suppose it’s easy to be anxious when you’re meeting your other half’s parents for the first time. It’s good to ignore that feeling as much as possible, however, because I don’t think being awkward or nervous makes for a great first impression! Fortunately, I feel quite comfortable with talking to new people so I look forward to the first few conversations. I find that people will almost certainly ask about your job and your commute to wherever you’ve gone, or where you’re originally from; stuff you should be pretty familiar with, basically. It’s best to be relaxed, and with any luck nobody’s going to ask for your political opinions or anything too taxing.

The bit I’ll admit to being awkward with is the initial greeting of the mum, in particular. This stems from something that absolutely perplexes me in all aspects of my life, which is greeting women. I know where I stand when I’m meeting another guy for business or social purposes. I just lean in, offer a hand for a handshake, make eye contact, be friendly, and when the handshake happens, it’s firm but I’m not trying to crush anyone’s hand (firstly because it’s rude, and secondly because I tried doing that to my granddad when I was a teenager, and his factory-hardened hands put me straight back in my place). Anyway, it’s a precise but easily learned science.

Greeting women though… what the hell do you do? A hand shake seems a bit stiff,  but a hug seems over familiar to me. I think the key is to make a decision and act it out confidently. Surprisingly, this part of the process is what gives me the biggest headache!

Once I’m done with this, I’ll just make polite conversation and be myself, though I won’t start dropping F-bombs or offering up controversial opinions. Although a bit of discretion regarding what comes out of your mouth is advisable, it’s also best not to pretend to be someone you’re not, because you can’t pretend for your whole life. Even if you’re worried that someone won’t accept or like you for who you are, I think you’ve still got to be yourself.

Dressing the part…

The clothes I’ve worn for this are pretty much what I would wear on a normal non-working day. My tastes are pretty straightforward, as I like plain but well-fitted clothes.  I suppose you could call it smart-casual, which is probably similar to how I would want to be perceived by the parents. The bottom line is to be able to dress in a co-ordinated way, but also to be approachable and down-to-earth.

The sweater is a plain blue one from John Lewis, which my parents bought me a while back. They tend to hold up their end of the ‘meet the parents’ act very well, so I’ll give them credit and admit that the sweater is ideal for this kind of thing. I’m wearing a red Primark t-shirt underneath, which is very basic but it fits well.
Ian Jacamo 3

Ian Jacamo 2

Ian Jacamo 1

Ian Jacamo 3

The jeans are new ones that I bought from Levi’s. I like them, but jean shopping is one of the direst experiences known to man, as far as I’m concerned, especially when you’re 6 foot 4. I picked these because I like the colour and the fit. The thing that I like most about them though, is that I only spent 15minutes in the shop before buying them. I usually find places like Levi’s to be an overwhelming wall of blue noise. There are tonnes of jeans everywhere, but I can’t for the life of me be bothered to look at each pair and consider the subtle differences. Life is too short. Anyhow, I like these jeans, and they go well with lots of things.

As for the shoes, they’re made by Base London. I take a UK size 14 so it’s hard to get exactly what I want, but these are nice and quite versatile. If you look carefully you might be able to see that I’ve bent the shoes a little out of shape, owing to my super-wide duck-billed platypus feet. Not a lot I can do about that, but they still look smart so I’d gladly wear these for meeting the parents.

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