Robot Hearts: How to Meet Her Mother

Oh, we are so timely over here! This week Tess and Jack offer tips on how to make a good impression on your lady friend’s mumsie wumsie.

Hey Robot Hearts! I’ll be meeting my girlfriend’s mother soon for the first time, and was wondering if you could give me some tips for making a good impression. I really like this girl, and I know how much easier life is when you have a stamp of approval from your girlfriend’s mom.

— First Impressions in Nervousville

Tess: The fact that you have the forethought to even consider trying to make a good impression speaks well of you. Here are some tips:

  1. Make eye contact. Nobody likes a shifty, shady guy who’s always looking down at the floor or to the side when you’re talking to him.
  2. After dinner or drinks or whatever, offer to help clean up. Trust me. She’ll probably say “Oh no, you’re the guest! Relax,” but just by offering you’ve earned brownie points.
  3. Ask her about herself. Don’t just drone on about how many doctorates you plan to earn from some Ivy League school or how much you totally hate that one band just because you hate all popular bands by default. Show some interest in who the lady is. Ask her where she’s from, how she met your girlfriend’s father, and other things that will get her talking and enjoying herself by reminiscing. This tip actually applies for making a good first impression with anyone. Or just for making conversation…ever.
  4. Don’t be overly complimentary or polite. Few people are flattered by this kind of behavior, and most can smell the ruse and will loathe you for it.
  5. Be yourself. Obviously, if you’re an evil villain with nefarious plots this won’t help you, but if this lady kicks you out of her house and prevents you from procreating with her daughter, that helps humankind. And if you’re a sweet guy with good intentions, a mom with any gumption will be able to see that…and appreciate it.

Jack: The fact that you have the forethought to even consider trying to make a good impression speaks lowly of you. You will not leave a good impression, leaving a clearly disappointed mother secretly whispering to her daughter that she liked that last boy better. At least that young man tucked his shirt in! I know every single mother (including my own) will be aghast at my forthcoming advice, but believe it or not many girls have brought me home to meet the mom, and I’m a bonafide expert…on how to fuck it up royally.

  1. Being yourself is the right move. Even if you are that villain with many nefarious plots or you’re just some slovenly shmo. Don’t apologize for who you are. Besides, clearly you have done enough to make your actual girlfriend like you, and it’s not like you’re trying to sleep with the mom also. Unless you are, you dirty dog you. If that’s the case then I commend you, but there’s a small chance that your girl’s mom will meet the attractiveness threshold necessary for an attempted bang, so this scenario is a little ridiculous, even for me.
  2. Come bearing a gift. Do not bring flowers or wine or any other lame cliche BS. You want to stand out from the other dudes this girl has brought home, dudes that undoubtedly were better educated, better looking, and had much better jobs than you. I suggest a bottle of rare, 160-proof Absinthe. Show the lady that you like to party, but that you also respect the history and appreciate the drinking habits of the French Impressionist movement. Or if you want to get creative, I once knew a guy who brought a possibly live, antique World War II mortar shell over to his perspective mother-in-laws house. Nothing says “I love your daughter” or “I mean business” better than the threat of imminent death.
  3. This goes along with Tess’s number 3, but please god, whatever you decide to do…just shut the hell up. Nothing good can come from you droning on about your job in HR or your online degree from the University of Phoenix. Be the strong, silent type. Hell, be creepy if you have to. People will take a mystery man over the asshole that never shuts his trap any day of the week.
  4. If all else fails, and your stench of social retardation and utter loserdom is too diffucult to mask, I suggest not trying at all, in fact, go ahead and try to mess it up. Wear a wife-beater, spit on the floor, leave the toilet seat up and covered in urine, etc. Think about it this way: some girls will always listen to their mothers and will probably end things with you, while on the other hand, many girls can’t stand their mothers and will do anything to displease them (including dating an asshat like you). I’ve found that the disapproving parent can sometimes be a blessing in disguise.
  5. The only real advice I can give: Treat the woman like you would your own mother. Think about all the bullshit you put your mom through when you were growing up and all of the things that she has done for you, and transfer those emotions to your girlfriend’s mother. Having to alter your life for a kid is one thing; having to do it for 25 years (and counting) deserves a freakin’ gold medal. That being said, Mom, Happy Mother’s Day. I owe you the world.
  6. Would you like to be similarly fulfilled?? Send your relationship questions to and start the argument. Also, check out past columns at Robot Hearts, keep tabs on Jack at Jack Goes Forth, and see what Tess is up to over at Parasol Party.

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Jack Lauterback

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