Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When your girlfriend's father HATES you

Last week I presented another brief installment from my upcoming book on growing up in the 60s in the San Fernando Valley. It prompted a comment from fellow classmate Alexis along with a request:

contrary to what you remember, I remember thinking you were cute, funny, and...well, cute and funny will have to suffice.

You should relate the "Helene" story...

I'll settle for cute and funny. Here's the "Helene" story. Remember names have been changed to protect me from physical abuse.

My actual dating life wasn’t much to speak of. I thought there was some promise with Helene Papadakis but that didn’t turn out swimmingly. A good start though. I took her to see “Thunderball” and then Bob’s Big Boy. She let me put my arm around her during the underwater fight sequence. She ate a French fry off my plate (always a sign of intimacy). And at her front door – the BIG moment – she let me kiss her goodnight. It was not a big kiss mind you. And lips only. But it wasn’t the handshake and “I had a really fun time, thank you” and the subtle door slam.

I was so confident I called her for a second date on Monday. Usually I needed at least three weeknights to get up the courage. She accepted and all was right with the world.

But on date #2 I met her father. These are always awkward encounters. They look at you like you’re going to knock up their daughter, get her hooked on heroin, and coerce her into joining a cult. We are always assuring them that we’re really nice young men, we wouldn’t dream of touching their daughter (much less do any of the things we fantasize about while masturbating nightly to them), and we all want to be astronauts. Still, I sensed a hatred that went beyond mere suspicion and apprehension. I started getting the vibe of Jew Hater.

Helene and I were hitting it off though, so I chose to rationalize that he wasn’t anti-Semitic, he just preferred suitors of any other religion in the world. On date #3 I drove her home (arriving safely before the midnight curfew), kissed her goodnight, got back into my 1960 Comet, turned on the ignition… and the car wouldn’t start. Shit. Probably a dead battery but maybe I had flooded the engine. So I waited five minutes, tried again, and still nothing. I went back to the house, tapped lightly on Helene’s bedroom window, and told her I needed to use the phone to call the Auto Club. She let me in but by now was wearing a bathrobe. Nothing sheer, just a big comfy terrycloth robe. I called the AAA and we sat in the kitchen waiting for the tow truck. About five minutes later her dad entered the room and almost had a seizure. There was his daughter in a state of disrobe (even though she WAS wearing a robe) with this…this… red sea pedestrian!! I hastily explained why I was there, trying desperately not to use any Yiddish expressions. Finally, I said, “My battery is dead” and he snarled, “It better be!”

With that he dashed out to the car and told me to start it up. I turned the key just praying it wouldn’t start. Thankfully, it didn’t. He stomped off to the garage and returned a moment later with jumper cables. In short order he got my engine to turn over.

I politely thanked him very much and then he leaned into me and said, “Your fucking car is blocking my driveway.”

O-kay...

That was the last time I ever went out with Helene.

21 comments:

Rory L. Aronsky said...

There was his daughter in a state of disrobe (even though she WAS wearing a robe) with this…this… red sea pedestrian!!

That's it, Ken! I've had it! I'm not waiting anymore! I'm finally going to erect a proper shrine to you in the middle of the 405. I don't give a crap about those who have to get to work in the morning.

Joe said...

Shame you never went out with Helene again. Perhaps you could have won the old man over eventually and might've told you where he buried all those transients.

Adrastos said...

Papadakis? I'm Greek and I'm betting that he hated you because you weren't Greek. Or as the hardcore hellenic malakas would say: non-Greek.

Btw, just caught an episode of Cheers David and you wrote. It was brilliant especially the stuff about the Hungry Heifer serving bef and loobster.

YEKIMI said...

Here's my nightmare dating story: A friend had a dating show [in the early 80s] on the radio and I had called him to razz him about something and he said I'll fix you and slammed me onto the show and had me talking to some girl in two seconds. She agreed to go out with me and I set up the date...only to cancel when my car wouldn't start and then to cancel again when the frame broke. Another friend loaned me his car and off I went on a third try to pick her up, to see a movie. I get to her place, she opens the door and looks up and down and goes "ohhh" and....surprise!....she has a 4 year old daughter she didn't tell me about. We had decided earlier to go out and eat and then see a movie. Once I was there she vetoed dinner and said ok to the movie and off we went. Asked her what movie she wanted to see and she said whichever was the shortest. First clue. Go to concession stand, ask her what she wants and she says she will buy her own. Second clue. We go in to the theater and sit down when her daughter started screaming "I sit next to my mommy" and started to sit down when the daughter gets into the seat between us and her mom makes no move to put her on the other side. Movie starts, she gets up 5 times to take kid to bathroom, last time she came back and sat next to me and put her kid on the other side of her. Start to put my arm across the back of the chair and she leans foward like someone had just zapped her with a taser and I ask her if there's a problem since she's looking at the floor like Rush Limbaugh was crawling up from hell and she says "I dropped...something". Third clue. Stayed that way till I pulled my arm back and folded them in my lap. Soon as credits start rolling, she's up and says "Let's go". Asked her if she wanted to stop and get a bite to eat, she says "I'm not feeling too good, let's just go home" Fourth clue. Take her home, get out to open her car door and she about takes off my legs flinging it open herself. Walked her into her apartment building, she opens her door and marches in and slams it in my face. I asked through the door if I could call her again, her response was "Whatever". Fifth clue. As I started walking away I could hear her four year old saying "Mommy, I didn't like him". Like an idiot, I tried calling her a week later and found that she had changed her number and no further info could be given. Guess I was clueless. And that's the last time I ever went on a date.

gottacook said...

A good story. The photo at first made me think you frequented The Truth About Cars, whose ongoing Curbside Classics very recently featured a similar '60 aqua Comet coupe (www.thetruthaboutcars.com/curbside-classic-1960-comet). Lots of detail there that you might enjoy about the origins and destiny of the Comet.

(I'm visiting and commenting more often than usual here because our oldest child is having her bat mitzvah in 24 days and I'm a bundle of nerves.)

A. Buck Short said...

Ah, the COMET. Essentially the Ford Motor Company’s midseason Edsel replacement. Talk about a car that didn’t test well (the Edsel not the Comet) Around the same time I believe I was “impressing the ladies” in my Dodge Dart. Or as they pronounced it in Massachusetts: “Dawge DAHT” (they had all the phonemes right, just out of ordah). The Daht was a step UP. First vehicle was a Rambler American -- the one Nash Rambler model where, when you were on a date, the front seats DIDN’T fold back into a bed.

Incidentally, as a baseball announcer and a father, does it worry you even more now that a lot of guys are trying to get to FOURTH base?

Debby G said...

LOL!

Though now that I have a teenage daughter, I have to sympathize with the girl's dad.

And, Gottacook, my son is getting bar mitzvahed in 32 days. Mazel tov to both of us.

Rick said...

Wow, did you proof that?

1) He looked at you like you were going to get her hooked on "heroine"?

2) And you called "AA"? You called your sponsor?

YEKIMI said...

Maybe he meant to say he called AAAAA.......he needed someone to drive him to drink.

D. McEwan said...

"Debby G said...
LOL!
Though now that I have a teenage daughter, I have to sympathize with the girl's dad."

You're Jewish yet you sympathuize with the Jew-hatnig dad? You don't want your daughter dating Jews? Odd attitude.

Oh Ken, you should have dated her again, and then "Jewed it up" for Dad. Use LOTS of Yiddish, describe how proud your people are of killing Christ (Someone had to do it. He wasn't going to kill himself.) Just BE his nightmare.

Ah well, so much for hindsight.

Anonymous said...

YEKIMI said...
Here's my nightmare dating story...
Wow, I'm going to say you're better off without her.

"And that's the last time I ever went on a date."
I hope that's a joke. If not let me assure you not all women are like your first dream date. Maybe it's time to try again?

Troy said...

Never had any trouble getting parents to like me... just their daughters.

Based on personal experience, I can tell you that Adrastos' comment is right on the money here... the only parents I can recall who didn't take a shine to me were set on their daughter marrying Greek --- and told her so. Even if I had wrapped myself in grape leaves, I was doomed from the start.

Mike Bell said...

I once dated a girl whose parents were nudists. On our first date, her dad answered the door absolutely starkers. The date went well, but unfortunately, she didn't share her parents fondness for life in the buff. At least with me.

Mike M. said...

Now I know why Lisa Lockwood's dad always gave me the evil eye!

Loved the photo of your Comet as it reminded me of my first car: a '61 Plymouth Valiant with the push-button transmission on the dashboard and a slant-6 engine that could haul balls down the 101. Sure, I needed a crow bar to open the passenger door as the right side was totally smashed from an accident. Thanks Grandpa! That was a sweet, if damaged car. My neighbor just gave his 16 year old sun a brand new BMW. I want to scream "Get off my lawn" every time I see the kid...

I love that you always make me remember fun things from my childhood in the West Valley.

WV: millye = How Thoroughly Dyslexic Millie spells her name.

Ref said...

I think Adrastos is right. It wasn't that you're Jewish, it's that you're NOT Greek!

YOU wrote the "bef and loobster" episode? I LOVED that episode!

D. McEwan said...

"Anonymous said...
I hope that's a joke. If not let me assure you not all women are like your first dream date. Maybe it's time to try again?"

I've only met Ken's wife once, quite briefly, but I'm nearly certain she doesn't allow him to date other women.

Patrick said...

Am I missing something, or is it the people commenting that it wasn't a Jewish problem, but merely the fact that "Helene" was Greek and Ken isn't? Didn't the story start with "names have been changed ..." That would mean that the Greek name is made up, right? Somebody help me out here. What did I miss?

Either way, thanks for the excerpt -- great stuff.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I've only met Ken's wife once, quite briefly, but I'm nearly certain she doesn't allow him to date other women.

I had the same thought when I first read that response, Douglas, but realized upon the second reading that that question was posed to YEKIMI, not Ken.

Tim W. said...

Patrick: "Am I missing something, or is it the people commenting that it wasn't a Jewish problem, but merely the fact that "Helene" was Greek and Ken isn't?"

I still don't understand the where the anti-semetic vibe came from, although I wasn't there. Maybe it's just me, but my guess is the guy was just REALLY anti-anyboywhowantstogetwithmylittlegirl. My girls aren't dating age, yet, but I'm already practicing my, "Don't even look at my daughter" look and thinking about what kind of shotgun to buy that I can polish when she brings home a boy.

selection7 said...

If Ken had said "Actually, I'm not really religious at all...so no reason to hate me for being Jewish." would that have satisfied her possibly bigoted father? Is it about the religion, the ethnicity, or both with Jew-haters?

Rich D said...

Although I dated a lot in high school, I never had any hideous run-in with a girl's father like the ones that always seem to populate story and legend. I feel like I missed out on a particular rite of teen passage...