Sunday, February 24, 2008

Random Monday Story

Lana has tagged me for another random facts about me meme. I was thinking that I didn't have anymore random facts but how can that be true? I am a walking enigma after all. But I am not going to come up with seven random facts, instead I am going to tell you a funny true story.

When my husband met my father for the first time, my dad gave him a nervous breakdown.

We had come up to NY for the weekend and were having lunch with my parents at a midtown restaurant. Da Man was so nervous his palms were soaking wet. Arriving at the table, my dad positioned Da Man right in front of him and proceeded to grill him like he was applying for a job with the title "Possible Husband Material."

The first question he asked was "What are you planning to do with your life?" Da Man started to babble inanely about his plans to attend law school and get a good job, etc. Halfway through his rambling answer, my father cut him off with a sharply raised hand almost in his face as he stated, "Enough! Next question, ..." Frankly, I don't remember the next series of questions, all I can remember is the sheer look of horror on Da Man's face as he sweated his way through a series of probing questions about his past, education, family background, ambitions, philosophy of life and the state of his health. I am sorry to say that my mom, my younger sister and I sat next to the showdown trying desperately not to laugh. With every stumbling answer, my father would cut him off, sooner and sooner, impatient with Da Man's awkward babble and anxious to ask all of his questions. Nearing the end, as all of us, except my soon-to-be husband, enjoyed our delicious lunches, my father asked the following question:

"What are Ellen's three worst qualities?"

I looked up with alarm to see my dad smiling a very enigmatic smile.

"Um, she doesn't have any," Da Man answered with a strained smile in my direction.

Before I could smile back, my father announced in a near shout, "Wrong answer!"

"Hey, Dad!" I was indignant.

"You shouldn't ask him such a question," I said with a reassuring pat on Da Man's arm. By this point, a nervous tic has appeared under his left eye.

"No, I'll tell him the right answer," my dad said bombastically. "First, bad temper!"

I looked at my dad in open-mouthed astonishment. By my side, Da Man nodded his head eagerly.

"Oh yes, I've witnessed it many times," he said, relieved to no longer be the focal point of my Dad's attention.

"Second, big spender," my dad continued as he paused to down his sake.

Da Man, rushed to refill my dad's sake cup, at the same time nodding his head so vigorously, he reminded me of one of those large headed bobble dolls. I began to fume.

"Third, too stubborn," my dad announced, extremely pleased with himself.

"DAD!" I said.

"It's ok honey," Da Man said soothingly. "I still love you."

And with that, my Dad and my soon-to-be husband shared a smile of perfect accord for the first time.

26 comments:

pacatrue said...

I hope Da Man is practicing for his own daughters. What's the point of fatherhood if you can't take it out on hapless visitors?

Mary Witzl said...

Ello, this is great. And I do agree with Pacatrue: this is what being a parent is all about, and no more than our kids deserve. Your husband had passed his test, but just didn't realize it. Your father was offering him a little male bonding as a reward.

And though I am a teeny, tiny spender (i.e. penny-pincher), those other two bad faults are definitely mine.

J. L. Krueger said...

Excellent story!

I do the same thing with my teenage daughters and prospective boyfriends. They all have to pass the "dad test" in order to be official boyfriends. Until I give the seal of approval, they are BIT (Boyfriend In Training)...a BIT has far more restrictions than a real boyfriend.

Erica Orloff said...

Oh, Ello:
That is a darling story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) I can totally picture it.

My dad just pronounced every boyfriend EVER a "worm."

:-)
E

Bernita said...

Sweet, Ello!
(But very patriarchial!)

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh my. My husband's first meeting with my parents was positively tame compared to that!

Precie said...

LMAO! Well, at least they bonded.

strugglingwriter said...

He he. Hilarious and you do such a nice job telling it.

Paul

Demon Hunter said...

Ello,
This was asonderful story...lol. I wonder what Da Man will do for your daughters...lol. :*)

Larramie said...

Love conquers all, doesn't it? It's Da Best!

Cakespy said...

Got to love those dad moments. My dad hangs out with my husband more than he does with me. Sigh. Must come from having raised three daughters and never having a son.

Anonymous said...

Now that my nervous tic has dissipated, I can now confirm that this was a pretty horendous day for me (although not quite as bad a jabbing a needle into Ello's thigh every 3-4 days during her pregnancy with Angus but that's another story).

And yes, I do look forward to my days as the griller instead of the grillee. But I figure I still have a few years before I have to seriously look into our local gun/concelaed weapons laws. But presuming any potential suitors are still present after I show them my sword and gun collection, I don't think I'll be quite as bad as my father-in-law was to me.

On the other hand . . . did anyone see the movie "Meet the Parents?"

Da' Man

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm relieved I never had to go through such a grilling. I would not have handled it well and might have gone to jello right there.

Travis Erwin said...

That is hilarious.

I once dated a girl whose dad hated me so bad every time we left her house he'd make a big show of giving her a quarter and saying "Here call me the minute you come to your senses and need a ride home."

Did I mention he was a federal judge?

Patti said...

ha! love it....

and i am in full agreement of interrogation. when one of our babies is in the hands of another we want to know that they fear us a little....just a little. it is enough.

Lana Gramlich said...

*LOL!* Thanks for sharing. :)

sherry smyth said...

I like a man who knows when it's wisest to just agree!!! :)

booklady said...

That is a GREAT story! I'm still grinning. Poor, poor Da Man. I feel bad for him, but it looks like it all worked out anyway.

Sustenance Scout said...

Oh yes Dad's are good at that...and they LOVE it, don't they?

cindy said...

haha! i love asian dads. my father didn't ask questions--he just hung up on all the boys that called my house. haha! there is a reason i eloped.

Merry Monteleone said...

I thought I commented on this earlier... but it cracked me up... for all of the discomfort your husband went through then, though, he'll be far more uncomfortable in a few years when his own daughters bring home the men that will take their hearts... it's never an easy thing for fathers - and they say women are catty and jealous.

Josephine Damian said...

Ello, great story and great writing! Loved how Dad was a study in contrasts - protective yet frankly critical of you.

I could absolutely picture the entire scene - especially your dad. You should send this piece out to a magazine - I wonder how your pop's would feel about being immortalized.

Merry Monteleone said...

Tag, you're it!

Just wanted to let you know I tagged you for a meme.

Sarah Hina said...

Aww...they fell in love by ridiculing you. How sweet! ;)

My hubby-to-be would have turned tail, and run. And I would have been chasing him out the door.

Da Man is brave and true. :)

Diesel said...

Yikes. I think I would have bolted.

The Anti-Wife said...

Love the story. Reminds me of the current Rodney Atkins country song:

Come on in boy, sit on down
And tell me 'bout yourself
So you like my daughter, do you now
Yeah we think she's something else
She's her daddy's girl and her mama's world
She deserves respect, that's what she'll get, ain't it son
Now y'all run along and have some fun
I'll see you when you get back
Bet I'll be up all night
Still cleaning this gun

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