Illustration by Jake Inferrera

When it comes to introducing people to each other, one particular occasion is the riskiest of them all: your partner meeting your parents. So much can go wrong. Someone can awkwardly hug a little too long, have a wardrobe malfunction, or stumble into an accidental grope.

And then there are the guys who can’t finish a sentence without cursing, the ones who enjoy all activities shirtless, or the ones who have no filter. Fun for you, a nightmare when it’s time to sit down with the parents. See: James Franco embodying Bryan Cranston’s worst nightmare in Why Him?. Double cringe.

I still wince when I think of the time my husband Carlos — a great guy who wears shirts when we dine and has reasonable filters — picked “a gripping but fun German movie” to watch with my parents and me. He was being thoughtful by choosing something in the language we speak at home, and my parents happily served some drinks and sat down to watch. Everything was going well, until the German roommates in the movie decided to have the hots for each other and a sex scene unleashed. All four of us still pretend it never happened.

And yet there’s something tremendously relieving about hearing other people’s stories. Embarrassment loves company. That is why I turned to my friends to share their own awkward meet-the-parents tales.

My friend Martha recalled a catastrophe that happened five years ago. After a long drive to her parents’ country house, her boyfriend desperately needed the restroom. Upon rushing through the front door, half-shouting hello, and realizing nobody answered, he ran towards the bathroom door. He quickly swung it open and… saw his future mother-in-law on the throne. Under stress he did something completely absurd, ignored the circumstances and decided to focus on being polite. He stepped closer to the toilet, stretched out his hand, and said, “It’s so nice to meet you, I’m Gabriel.”


Another friend, Susana, revisited the time her husband was feeling particularly “inspired” and typed “Tonight you have no escape, can’t wait to get my hands on you” into his phone. He then proceeded to send the text to the family group chat. Wow.

Can you top that? Share your partner-meets-parents tragedies in the comments. If you need some inspiration, watch Why Him?, the Fox Home Entertainment comedy starring James Franco, Bryan Cranston, and Zoey Deutch, out on Digital HD now or on DVD and Blu-ray March 28.

Astrid Harders is a senior writer for Studio@Gizmodo.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between 20th Century Fox and Studio@Gizmodo.