Third Rate Romance or Meet the Parents

Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.


Well the relationship wasn’t and still isn’t a disaster.  But I definitely think this story is quite possibly the funniest story I can share.

It is 2001 my then girlfriend is pregnant with our first child.  We decided that our current home in south Florida was no place to raise a family.  Her parents had recently moved to SC in the greater Charlotte area.  I had some loose ends to tie up so she moved several months ahead of me.

I had made arrangements to visit her and to do some job research and find a place to stay.  As I drove to South Carolina from Florida, it occurred to me that I had never met her parents before.  And now I was on my way to spend a few days with her (and them).  In typical fashion I had left directly from work and drove overnight to maximize my time off from work.

Now, many of you may recognize the title of my post.  I borrowed that title from the 2000 comedy movie featuring Ben Stiller.  And there is good reason for this.  My Father-In-Law is retired special forces.  A military man with a history in counter terrorism and Urban Warfare.  He is also a highly ranked sniper.


These thoughts kept me quite tense as I drove the 10 hours from Ft. Lauderdale to Charlotte.  Added was the lack of sleep and general excitement about seeing her again.

I pulled into the gated community feeling very out of place.  A slowly drove to the address she had given me.  I was met by my very pregnant girlfriend.  Her mother was as kind and friendly as could be.  Her dad was extremely quiet. ( a trait I would find later that had nothing to do with me or the situation)  I was offered a beer and asked to join the family in the pool room.


I was glad to see my future Father-In-Law took his beer in a bottle.  i was never a fan of canned beer.  He drank what i considered the expensive stuff.  And was thankful for a beer after such a long and nerve wracking drive.


Mike is a DIY kind of guy and was eager to show off not only the brand new pool table but also the hand made bar and corner tables he had added to the pool room.  Everything was done in natural woods and the table was a beautiful regulation sized table.  A gift more for my Mother-In-Law, than for Mike.  I was quite groggy and tired but decided to make sure to be gracious and interact with the parents of the woman who was soon to have my child.

did i mention this is the first time I met them?  Did I mention she was now very pregnant?  Did I mention we were not married?

The pool room was very nicely done.  The back had been turned into a proper bar.  A TV was positioned in the corner just like a sports bar.  The tables were all a very lovely wood, meticulously stained.  I placed my bottle of expensive beer in the back corner of the table.  The table was shaped like a piece of pie to perfectly join with the 90 degree bend of the wall.  I made sure to place the beer on a coaster as not to mar the newly done wood.

My Mother-In-Law bussied herself with the pool table.  Racking the colorful balls and preparing her pool cue.  I at last was feeling relaxed.  Just good people who enjoy some of the same things I enjoy.  Good beer, good pool, good company and good craftsmanship.  I dared to breathe a little easier.  I leaned my elbow on the table to discover that while the cuts and staining had been made, the tables had only been set up that week.  They were not attached to the bases underneath.


In what I can only describe as slow motion hell I watched as the beer catapulted it’s was across the room to land squarely on the pool table.  It showered the wooden table, wooden floors and pool table with it’s expensive contents.   In addition i was aware of the side table rotating in a similar fashion as it crashed loudly to the floor below.

I stood in silence.  I was stunned to silence.  I surveyed the mess I had made of the new pool room, table, and pool table.

I tell the story after 13 years of marriage.  My wife’s family is very much my family.  From time to time we relive that story and all laugh at the true ridiculous nature of it all.  My father-in-law never did shoot me, or have his CIA buddies run a background check.  The beer cleaned up completely and the pool table was fine.


But for a brief moment I felt the pain of Ben Stiller as he sat at the dinner table being interrogated by Jack, his future father-in-law.

Third Rate Romance


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