Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Dear Ms. Mix & Bitch,

I know what I’m about to write sounds horrible.  I need to talk to someone though and I thought of you.

My 18-year-old daughter was home for Thanksgiving. She’s in her first year of college in Rhode Island (Brown University, actually).  We told her it was ok for her to bring a friend or two home for the weekend, especially if they had nowhere else to go. 

Well, she sure brought home a couple of winners. One of her friends is this young lady from New York (we’re in North Carolina), who smokes like a chimney, calls us by our first names, and goes off on a tirade about how “meat is murder” – even though she knows we’re not vegetarians. The other one was this boy from England, whose family is of Iranian descent, although he kept insisting he was “Persian” and not Iranian.  He was very well-mannered and thoughtful, but seemed very sketchy about his roots.  He just kept saying his family emigrated to England in 1976, and  that he has never been to Iran.

 

I just couldn’t get over that these were my daughter’s friends.  Katy has always danced to a different drummer from the rest of the family.  We’re certainly not country bumpkins, but we are a fairly conservative, Christian family; with eight generations of North Carolinians to our credit.  Katy is a very smart young woman, who has always questioned, well, everything.  I sensed during the visit that she kept waiting for me and her father to come unglued and let her have it over the company she’s keeping.  But we didn’t.  I actually felt sorry for the New York girl after a while. For all her bravado, it turns out her parents travel constantly for their work, and she never sees them. As far as the young man, he’s cordial, well-mannered, and sweet.  I like him, but my husband’s not happy about him being an Arab. He says to me in private that he’s wondering if his family funds terrorist groups. I know…it’s ridiculous, but that’s how he feels.  Plus, I think this young man and my daughter have a budding courtship. While I am fine with them being friends, I am not sure how I feel about them dating.

My daughter loves your site, so I must admit I’m hoping she reads this and can open up to me about what her intentions are about all of this.

Most Sincerely,

Concerned Mama

Dear Concerned Mama,

Well, I’ve got to hand it to you. Using me and my blog as a family mediator is a definite  first for me.  I have to admit, I was wondering how a middle-aged, conservative Christian mother from North Carolina found my little ol’ corner of the web until I got to the end of your letter.  And I thought us Jews maintained the monopoly on passive-aggressive guilt mongering. Bravo, you Carolina cutie, Bra-vo.

Okay, now onto the “dilemna”…this is very simple. Your precious little pink Christian princess brainchild has consciously or subsciously decided to re-enact some low-grade, garden variety teenage rebellion on you.  I would’ve hoped that someone of her SAT status would have come up with something more, well, original, but at least with this, you don’t have to get your knickers up into too much of a twist.

The more of a big deal you and your husband make about this, the more she’ll continue to bring home a cast of characters to rile you two up.  Listen, you sent your daughter to Brown University – not the College of the Ozarks or Jim Jones.  It’s the bastion of academic and social liberalism, and I sense that you sent her there because you honor her different way of assessing the world. Good for you.  Most parents would not have been keen to respect their child’s individuality on such a life altering decision. 

You nailed Ms. New York’s issues, so I wouldn’t waste too much R.E.M. sleep time on that one. If the friendship endures, you may find her to be a valuable addition to your extended family. As far as the young man is concerned, it’s worth saying that the reason why he stressed the Persian versus Iranian label, along with his family’s immigration year was to tell you his family’s more politically moderate in their beliefs. The Shah of Iran – who was very pro-American – was overthrown in 1976, and many of the country’s most educated left their country, never to return. They abhored the extremism – both religiously and politically – demanded by the currrent regime and long for a time when their country was more like the desert paradise known as Persia.  That all said, it’s highly unlikely that his family is funding anything except his son’s expensive college education.  Don’t judge him by his name or skin color. He sounds like a fine, young man. Give him a chance if your daughter does, indeed, start “courting” seriously. Hate to break it to you, Mom, but considering this is their freshman year, they are more likely to “hang out” or “kick it’ around for a couple of months and then be over it, versus being brought home as prospective, son-in-law – ok?

I hope this helped – and if Katy is reading this, here’s a word – you wanna really rebel against your parents? Just grow out your pit hair, rub on the patchouli, and join the Green Party.  By your senior year, you’ll realize what a waste of time all of it was. Really.

PS – No mix tonight, kittens. Mama Mix is tired. Very tired.

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3 responses to “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

  1. First of all, the kids you hang out with your very first semester only bear a slight resemblance to the ones you’re hanging with by the time graduation rolls around. If they’re crazy, she’ll figure it out and move on.

    And while of course we should point out that if he’s a good guy, it shouldn’t matter what his background is, it’s important to note that Persians will be quick to tell you that they are not Arab, and often resent the ethnic/cultural conflation.

  2. My poor parents… I used to come home wearing nothing but black. Black dresses, black lipstick and eyeliner out to the edge of my hairline. What a mess!! My mother was happy when I started dressing normal and accepted all the little lost souls that I dated along the way… Everything changes when you are young. Carolina Mom – have patience, give your daughter praise for seeing the good in people.

  3. I can’t believe I missed this before. Lauren, THANK YOU for pointing out that Iranians/Persians are not Arabs. We do not fund terrorists in

    Carolina Mom, Persian/Iranians do not fund terrorists in their spare time. We are generally very proud of our culture, history and country, if not our current leaders. If you happened to have a polite young man of any background joining your daughter for the holidays, please see it as a credit to your good parenting that she has good judgment in the company she keeps.

    (And yes, I am Persian/Iranian.)

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