The first time I introduced a man to Mami, I flash backed to a scene from Meet the Parents. Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) was under attack by the strict and protective Jack Byrnes (Robert DeNiro). Stiller’s character shook under the heat of the thermal light, as his future father-in-law began an interrogation. As I turned the knob of Mami’s door, my current boyfriend beside me, I pictured Mami on the other side, smacking a chancleta across her hand in preparation for her own interrogation. I imagined her preparing a sancocho spiked with truth serum. “What are your intentions with mi hija?” she’d yell in broken English, smacking him on the behind with said chancleta. He’d be in tears and I’d be mortified.
Fortunately, none of my fears came to pass. Mami adored Elijah, mostly because of how he carried himself and interacted with us. Though my Puerto Rican/Colombian boyfriend spoke very little Spanish, he tried. Mami noted his efforts, paid attention to his body language and tone of voice, as mothers and fathers do.
So, how can you make a good impression on your Latina (or non-Latina) girlfriend’s parents? Start with these pointers.