(Story published with full review and approval of Le Ninja No Longer So Very Nouveau.)
Mamas love me. I say this without conceit. I know I rock because in some instances, it's been 10+ years since I dated a guy and I still talk to his mother. Last week my boyfriend-from-college's mama was passing through Dallas and wanted to meet for drinks. I couldn't make it but I talked to her on the phone for about twenty minutes. It's not her fault the man she raised turned out to be completely unsuitable for me. Anyway, you take my point. Michele + man's mama's = All. Good.
Enter Le Ninja's Mother. She refers to herself as (and this is a direct quote) "a take no prisoners old Southern Battle Axe." Le Gulp. Mama Axe hails from a tiny town in Georgia. She met her husband at 14, they married at 16 and have been together ever since. They are both educators in the University of Georgia system. There are five children, only one boy, the middle child - Le Ninja. (Finding out that he is the only boy in a family of girls suddenly solved sooo many puzzles.)
Anyway, now that you have some background I can share that the very first thing she said to me was, "I'm so glad you're not a floozy!" Ummmm. I can take that a number of ways. 1) Did she expect me to be a floozy for some reason? 2) Is Le Ninja known for sportin' floozies on his arm regularly? or 3) Not looking like a floozy is good thing, right?
Now the only prep that Le Ninja gave me was "she's very old school, kinda nouveau bougie, outspoken to a fault with a good heart" - ooookay.
In the car on the way to the restaurant (she refused to sit up front), she rode silently in the back listening to us make small talk before saying (completely out of the blue), "So you're articulate, pretty, have some sense and your own money - why are you single and what do you see in my son?"
Le Ninja, "Mom, really?"
Mama Axe, "Boy hush!"
Le Ninja, "You do not have to answer that." He shoots the "don't start none, won't be none" look at his mama in the rearview. She hits him with wide-eyed "what I do?" look.
Me, "I guess I've just been waiting for the right one."
Mama, "So you're picky?"
Me, "If you consider having high standards, expectations, a moral code and a good sense of self picky, than yes ma'am. I guess I am."
Mama, "And you think my boy is the right one?"
Ninja is audibly grinding his teeth and driving a good 25 miles over the speed limit. I patted his arm to let him know it was alright. And then I answered her question, "I guess time will tell. But ma'am, you have to know you raised an impressive individual."
Her mouth fell open and then she closed it and tried to hide a smile. Le Ninja was all teeth and twinkle. I was ready to go home. For the next thirty minutes it was a tap dance, she would fire off questions about my parents (What did your father do again?), my education (Why did you leave law school?), my career (Writers have no stability you know, are you talented?), my religion (You do attend church regularly?) and on it went. Le Ninja would try and shut her down, I would answer and follow up with as much sweetness and charm as I could muster. Finally, she slapped her hands down on the table and said, "I like this one." Then she went to tour the wine room and meet the chef.
I turned my head to look at dude and he just inched the wineglass closer to me. "I know, I owe you. Big time. What's it gonna be? Back rub, me sitting through the Grey's Anatomy finale, new shoes, jewelry, spa vacation, what?"
I just shook my head, "Am I sweating? I feel like I'm sweating."
"Not a drop. If it's any consolation, she really likes you."
I gulped the wine down to the last drop, "I'd hate to see how she treats someone she disapproves of... sheesh! Hurry and top off my wine so she doesn't know I swigged it down. So, four sisters and an overprotective mother, hmm?"
"Don't even start. I'm not spoiled."
He totally is. But at least he's not obnoxious about it. Besides, I have a few 'Daddy's girl' tendencies my darned self. "So, how often do you see them?"
"Mother's Day. Father's Day. Family vacation in August and Christmas. But you'll see, now that she's given you the interrogation, she'll be a totally different woman."
"Exactly how many women have met your mother?"
"Two in recent years."
Hmm. Tabled for later since Mama was heading back towards us. She was a different woman. She was pleasant, warm, open and charming. (What did the chef slip her back there in the kitchen?!) The only hiccup came when I was getting out of the car. Mama Axe came around and gave me a hug and announced, "My son needs a strong woman. Someone who won't let him get away with nonsense and isn't bowled over by his smile. You understand what I'm saying?" Over her shoulder, Ninja was giving me side-eye of life.
Can you say awkward dot com? I wanted to laugh and tell her I was already knowin' but I nodded seriously, "Yes ma'am. I completely understand."
"I'm serious now, he's better when he has to work for things."
Ninja jumps in, "She's got that concept down, Mom. Believe me. To a refined art."
And I sent the side-eye his direction. He raised a brow, I raised one back. She looked from him to me and back again. "Well that's good then. That's real good. I expect to see you in August. Don't disappoint me."
Mama Axe is No. Joke.
BougieLand, who has met the s/o's mama? How did it go? How important is it to you (both the ladies and the gents) for your s/o's family to like you? Do you care? For my married folks, how's your relationship with the in-laws?