I can remember preparing for my first date with my first boyfriend. I was allowed to go on a date if he came and met my parents in their house when he picked me up. This was not something I had stipulated but rather, one last tug on the old parental handbook by my parents.
I was about sixteen, cunning as all hell so I briefed my parents sternly on what they could and couldn’t say to him about me or them. They also had a mental list of questions they could and couldn’t ask him. For example, my bogan father was allowed to ask him if he wanted a beer but he wasn’t allowed to invite him out to visit the shed (for fear of them talking for ages and me missing my fun night out with a boy who owned a car). To which I knew the boy would say no because he was driving me. Mum was allowed to ask about his parents, but forbidden to mention her family. They were both forbidden from talking about how we had no money and how they were hungover.
And so I planned to get a quick and obligatory introduction with the parentals in before running out the door. I met my date at the front fly screen and let him in maybe a little too eagerly. Mum and dad were polite and respectful, certainly on their best behaviour. Dad scrunched up a beer and offered my date one. As if on cue, he declined and explained that he was driving for the night. I was pleased. Dad even made a bogan joke which we all laughed at genuinely.
All went well but I felt the true characters of my parents slipping out so I said goodbye and hurried us towards the front door.
“I hope you’re taking my daughter to a fancy place for dinner tonight.” Dad said. I felt pleased that he made the comment, proud even. I lifted my chest out and smiled at my bogan father showing his love to me on my first date with my first boyfriend.
“I mean if you’re fucking my daughter then she deserves a fucking nice burger, not a cheap cheeseburger. Have I made myself clear?”
I was at a loss for words and didn’t know what to say so I yelled out, “I’ll have fries with that!” before running out the door.