WARNING: I’m going to break my own rule about never writing about topics that are at all risqué, but sometimes rules are meant to be broken!
After dating only a few months, The Man and I took a big step and decided to spend the holidays together with family. We drove the 12-harrowing hours out from New Jersey to Indiana to spend time with The Parents. Our thought was that, if by some miracle, we still liked each other after such a long drive, we’d be okay for the long haul. It was a major step in our young relationship. You don’t consider breaking up lightly once your grandmother has made your boyfriend beef n’ noodles. It’s just a fact.
The Dad, known to passively aggressively threaten boyfriends past, had decided The Man was pretty awesome. He was pretty appalled actually. It was his job, after all, to threaten his life if he hurt me. And he LIKED him! Here he was – pretty much in love with The Man like me. (He’s pretty cool, ya know.) So The Dad decided to show his approval. He had the perfect idea for a Christmas gift to show guy-to-guy that he thought it’d be cool if The Man stuck around.
Both The Dad and The Man play guitar, and The Dad thought it was fitting to give a themed gift: Elixir Guitar Strings. He event wanted to clean up The Man’s 12-string for him. Being a man not-quite-comfortable with his apparent appreciation for his only daughter’s boyfriend, the giving of said gift was bound to be awkward. And boy – The Dad is one to impress.
The Dad walked in during a rousing game of Scrabble and began what I can only assume is his very manly version on Vanna White. Holding the purple Elixir box with joy, he began to describe their special coating, how long they last, and that he’d even help The Man put them on. He told The Man he had been thinking of giving them to him for a long time, and he knew it was the perfect gift.
The Mom and I were so happy to see the two bonding, but the reaction wasn’t quite what The Dad had in mind. In fact, The Man responded with awkward levels perhaps fitting to lima beans attempting to be lawyers… or at least a grad student at a real person party. He stuttered some form of “thank you” and began to look around the room frantically for what we could only guess would be a very deep hole to dive into or an exit to anywhere but where he was at that moment.
The Parents scooted out of the room as if there were a wounded animal in their presence saying something about catching a movie, and I turned to interrogate The Man about when he forgot about basic etiquette and/or forgot what a guitar was.
He looked at me as if I had somehow offended his great grandmother, face contorted in some speechless agony. That’s when he started to giggle hysterically. At this point I was positive this small act of fatherly kindness had sent him right over the edge. We had broken him. He was doomed to the loony bin – all because of guitar maintenance. That’s when his eyes bugged out and he held up the box.
Sure enough – a purple box with some swirly lettering strangely resembled that of a box typically associated with family planning. After laughing for about an hour straight, I couldn’t wait to tell The Dad! What’s family for, but to provide hilarity for years to come? The Dad found out about the misunderstanding the next day and was immediately horrified that he had spoken so long about their special coating and even offered to put them ON for him! I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the kind of approval The Dad had in mind.