by Lauryn Smith
Growing up I lived with my mother and two sisters. My father was a participant, as well; however, he lived out of town so it was typically my mother who initially met and “approved” those I dated. My mom was also an avid Razorback basketball fan. My first word was “rebound” if that tells you anything. My male junior high and high school friends often opted to watch the games with my mom because she was quite animated. March of 1994 was an extra special month for the Hogs as we won the NCAA Championship title. During this time, my mom asked my buddy Michael a question that would forever haunt me, “What are your intentions with my daughter?” Since that March, this question generally inspires a lot of “uh’s” as well as visible fear and confusion. The general answer was usually generic and seemingly phony. Michael’s response set the bar a little higher. His answer? “To eat and drink as much of your food while I am at your house.” It was the perfect 14 year old teenage boy response.
Michael and I remain friends. In fact, I will be visiting him and his wife Brooke in Manhattan next month.
With Michael at our high school reunion.
Yes, I've cut my hair since this photo was taken. Yeck.
At 21, I dated a man 15 years my senior. He was also asked the standard “What are your intentions with my daughter?” question. His response was not so perfect. In fact, I don’t know what the “right” answer is exactly, but I can definitely define the “wrong” answer.
It was late in 2001 and I had just begun dating John*, the older man. We met while attending a weekly Dale Carnegie course, a course that required emotional vulnerability and exposure. It was far too early in the relationship to meet the parents, however we were not given the opportunity to chose as we unexpectedly ran into my mom. Early one evening, my mom and her good friend were existing Cajun’s as John and I were entering. Startled, I introduced the two, fearing the inevitable question my mom was bound to ask. Jokingly, she asked John of his intentions with me. I still cringe thinking of his response. Are you ready for the absolute worst response to such a question? His response was “to f*ck your daughter as much as possible.” I can’t make that up! Her response to his response? Absolute befuddlement. His lack of class, respect, and tact towards me and my mom left me angry and upset, justifiably.
As he and I proceeded to walk into the restaurant, I looked to him and asked what could have possibly have possessed him to respond so vulgarly. He responded casually with “That is what she assumes, so I said it out loud. Plus, I am a grown man. I am nearly 40 years old and I shouldn’t have to answer such a belittling and sophomoric question.” Fair enough. I understand the point he was trying to make yet he should’ve remembered he was talking to my mother. If the “assumed” answer was false he should have made special effort to prove the assumed wrong rather than making the assumed a reality. She never liked him and I don’t blame her.
John and I dated nearly a year. I learned a great deal during that year with him. He taught me patience and reserve while I taught him to exhale. We were both perfect for one another during that time in our lives. No regrets. He was an excellent dinner and travel companion. He introduced me to two of my favorite albums, Stevie Wonder’s “Talking Book” and The Subdudes' “Annunciation.” He was kind to me and it’s a shame he projected himself with such pomposity toward my mother. If I were to mention his name to her now I ‘d bet a million dollars her response would be “Yuck! What made you bring up that idiot!?” But really? Can you blame her?!
My mom continued to ask new dates this question despite my pleas for her to stop. I learned to give my dates a “heads up” while my mom argued this tainted their responses. She was convinced the answers could be quite telling. Since the responses were rehearsed, she discontinued asking the question. My father later learned of John’s response to my mother and he was infuriated. My dad tends to have a rather dry sense of humor. The night he met Justin #1 he said “Lauryn, what are your intentions with my friend Justin?” My parents are polar opposites and I am a true blend of both. Oddly, the men I date that my mom dislikes are often the men my father adores. Proof that first impressions can be lasting.
My mom (I know, we look NOTHING alike
Mom and me in Progreso, Mexico
Mom in Cozumel, Mexico
She is not a fan of this picutre but I love the purple against the blue.
With my mom in Cozumel, Mexico
I'm not real sure what's going on with my hair in this picture.
*Some names have been changed.
*Some names have been changed.