Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Meet the Parents (again)


Post continued from Away with the Fairies

***

By the time we arrived at our destination I had munched three (or was it four?) cookies, a whole chocolate bar and drank half the can of juice, the remnants lay melting on my very new, very white top I’d bought that morning from Les Galleries Lafayette. ‘Ah merde’, I exclaimed as I noticed the melted chocolate smeared across the bottom of the vest. FP shrugged and smiled lazily, ‘C’est po grave’, he said in his Northern accent, he was just happy I was okay.

Despite the chocolate stains, I was greeted with gusto by Mr and Mrs FP. They’d been on holiday and were incredibly tanned. I pulled on my cardigan, shameful of my pale (I believe others had used the words ‘white as a ghost’ and ‘transparent’ but I prefer pale), Scottish skin tone.

The apero was taken outside on the terrace in the scorching sun. It was when I popped a mini pretzel into my mouth and took a sip (read gulp) of my champagne that I realised my hands had begun shaking again and I was slightly (read very) sweaty. My stomach growled at me in a way that told me the pretzels and champagne weren’t welcome. Distracted by my queasiness, I stopped taking part in the conversation that was bouncing back and forth between FP and his parents. My mind was going into overdrive imagining horrific possibilities. In five minutes I’d imagined a whole terrible scenario where I puked all over the tablecloth, over the pretzels, the champagne, the table and all those who were placed around it. FP would be so ashamed of me, his parents would hate me, I’d be banished from the house and FP wouldn’t find me attractive anymore. He’d dump me and I’d go home to Scotland, single and sad, live in my parent’s spare room and watch as we all became our street’s answer to The Addams Family.

Mr FP’s voice interrupted my thoughts. ‘Comment?’ I asked. He repeated his words, which I didn’t understand. ‘He says are you annoyed?’ FP offered. All of a sudden I realised how awfully sullen I must have appeared as I sat there in silence, arms crossed, lips pursed.

Oh dear…now his parents really would hate me. I explained I hadn’t been feeling too well, struggling with my French vocabulary. I was sorry I’d acted so grim. I had a pang of guilt, flashed Mr and Mrs FP a smile and tried to be charming.

***


That night: my first proper outing with FP’s closest friends. We were off to eat at a Sushi Bar. Great for when one has a jippy tummy. Not. Luckily, by the time we met the friends the trembling hands had stopped and my stomach had calmed down. I realised I was absolutely starving.

Meeting the boyfriend’s friends is terrifying. First impressions are extremely important. I turned up in my white top with smudged chocolate and crumbs down the front (forgot about the stains – no mirrors).

Not making a fool of yourself is also important. I kissed French Girl twice on the cheek, stood back and scratched my chin before realising she was waiting for the third and fourth kiss.

Showing friends you’re a lovely girlfriend and that you are never needy is vital. All the way through the meal I tugged on FP’s sleeve asking him to talk to me / help me with my chopsticks / give me attention.

What else? Ah yes…Never ever nag your boyfriend in front of his friends or show jealousy.

I broke the rule again; ‘You fancy French Girl, don’t you?’
‘No.’
‘You do.’
‘No, I don’t.’
‘But you looked at her!’
‘I had to; I couldn’t not look at her while she was talking to me! That’s rude.’
‘You do fancy her.’
‘No, babe, I honestly don’t.’
‘You do so’
‘I don’t!’
…etc etc etc etc

(Only joking! I’m not really that neurotic, honestly!)

The worst part of the night came when the (frankly lovely) Japanese waiter was taking the orders. As a vegetarian it is particularly difficult to eat in France. I went for the cucumber sushi. ‘And what would you like to drink?’ Japanese Waiter asked the table as a whole.

Silence.

There was an uttering of ‘nothing for me merci’s and within a flash, as if it was the most normal thing in the world for a table full of young adults to actually turn down a drink, Japanese Waiter was gone.

My chest tightened and I almost hyperventilated.

‘No alcohol?’ I stuttered. ‘No…No alcohol with our meal…no alcohol?!’ I simply couldn’t fathom it. Not even a measly alcohol free Orangina!

The rest of the evening passed pleasantly enough. Except for the moments when there was silence in which I suddenly remembered that there was no alcohol consumption promised to me that night and I had a little panic. Alcohol is good for the tongue. It loosens it. It loosens the tongue and allows French words to flow freely and beautifully into the air, making people think you are fluent in the language and in turn making them treat you as though you are not an alien but rather ‘one of them’.

There was a fireworks display – impressive but it was dark and I’m pretty sure I stood in dog skitter while I was walking across the muddy, trodden-down grass – there was a long walk, a McFlurry from McDonald’s, and a delightful little music concert on the sandy area in the park where the dogs and cats pee.

By the end of the night, I was so tired I don’t remember getting back to Mr and Mrs FP’s place. I just knew I was there when I woke up the next day to the smell of fresh crepes…

***

I appear to have written page loads and page loads tonight - this is what happens when I stop blogging for a week - I've too much to say! Weekend story continues...

9 comments:

T.D. Newton said...

LOL "jippy tummy"

I love sushi. I'm sort of surprised they didn't serve you some warm sake. Plum sake is really good, apparently. I've only had "regular" flavor but it was quite good (it wasn't the cheap stuff).

Hanging out with your BF/GF's parents is an adventure. It probably always will be for me because my almost-in-laws are both really funny.

I hate hate HATE having stomach problems.

Jane said...

Sorry to hear about your dicky giblet but glad that overall you are having a good time - was beginning to miss your bloggery banter! As a fellow edinburger longing to be in France ( but for no other than drizzly summers in Edinburgh are pants), I look forward to your next instalment!

Zhu said...

Okay, I was wrong. Meeting the parents is not the worse thing. Metting your guy's friends is.

Just remembered.

Ghosty said...

Well, so glad someone's been having a life this past week! Now tomorrow at work I shall get more properly caught-up in the adventures of the Princesse ... and tonight, I'll sleep. :)

Despina said...

You have me in tucks! Mr and Mrs FP sound less scary than the average parents (Jez's dad just laughs at me) but yes meeting friends is bloody scary! I Totally sympathise with having jippy tummy problems, urgh. And yes, drinking is essential for fluency in all languages. Well done Princesse!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

@TD what the feck is 'warm sake'?! I'm not too hot on my Japanese food knowledge - I thought I knew sushi but really I just knew abut calafornian rolls. I believe I need to be educated on this...but guess what?! I mastered the art of chopsticks!!!! *Proud as punch*

@Jane haha! 'dicky giblet'! that's classic! About the weather; sometimes I prefer drizzly Edinburgh to Paris - on Sunday it was 35 degrees and I was melting. Literally. My mascara slid from my eyelashes to my chin!

Zhu yes yes yes! The parents is bad but at least you just have to smile and look charming and kind and caring, but with the friends one must be able to 'be cool'! Being cool is not my forte...

@Ghosty, you know having a life in the world of 3 dimensions was fun but I'm not sure I'm very good at it. Safer just to stay in front of the pc I'd say.

Despina, Mr FP just laughs at me also! In a kind way though. He's pretty cool, I'm teaching him Scottish hehe! and Mrs FP is nothing like the usual 'Monster in Law' och she's grand and she cooks absolutley delicious food. I think I have disappointed her though with my utterly awful knowledge of cooking...Note to self; must take cookery lessons!

T.D. Newton said...

It's pronounced sah-kay (I guess it'd be easier if I used the accent mark... saké) and it is basically rice wine. It's usually served at room temperature and you drink it out of very small cups or shallow bowls. It's a traditional Japanese alcohol.

Hahaha, I'm glad that you mastered chopsticks. Maybe you could teach my fiancee to use them better! But, I hate to be Mr. Correction, actually the "roll" type sushi is the only kind you're suppose to eat with chopsticks. If you have the fillet of whatever on the bed of rice, you're actually supposed to use your hands for that.

Man, I want to go to Japan!!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Ahhh saké, I think I have heard of that, it rings a bell. You know, they probably had it on the menu but it seemed a pretty expensive restaurant I'm not sure they'd be giving it without ordering and paying for it. But damn it I really wish they had given us some saké, sounds delish!

I only ate the roll type sushi with the chopsticks anyway - and a small bowl of rice which I ate with a fork (otherwise I would have been there all night eating one grain with each chopstick-full)

T.D. Newton said...

Eating rice is so confusing for people. It's good that you used a fork because that's totally acceptable. Actually when eating rice (or noodles) the best way is to lift the bowl and just use the chopsticks to guide it into your mouth. People might think this is piggish but that's the way it's done.