How to Not Screw Up Meeting Your Girlfriend's Parents, According to Jenny Slate

The "Parks & Rec" and "Kroll Show" star shares her painful memories so you can make good ones.

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Meeting your boo's parents for the first time over the holidays? Parks and Recreation and Kroll Show star Jenny Slate has advice on how to avoid starting a family feud.

On TV, Jenny Slate plays the type of women you should never bring anywhere near your parents. Mona-Lisa Saperstein, her psychotic and self-involved Parks and Recreation character, is undeniably the worrrrrrrrst human being on the planet. Publicist Liz B. from Kroll Show is only slightly less awful, with a shallow vacuousness that's as pleasing to ears as her whiny singing voice.

Jenny, on the other hand, is as sweet and down-to-earth as they come. Not that it made meeting her husband Dean Fleischer-Camp's parents, and introducing him to hers, any easier. Having endured insults, an ex's long-legged shadow, and dinner-table drama, Jenny uniquely qualified to dole out advice to anyone meeting their significant other's relatives over the holidays. Pay attention or the turkey that gets carved may be you.

Interview by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)

How much should you drink around your girlfriend’s parents?
Unless you can’t drink because you’re an alcoholic or you have a medical condition, you should absolutely drink the same amount as they do. Don’t drink less because they’ll think you’re a tight ass and don’t drink more because they’ll think you’re an animal. You don’t want to appear like a complete party whore, but it’s your job to make them feel comfortable with you. It’s a delicate balance, but an important one. Party, be fun, but wait a couple of years before you get ripped with them.

What if the parents pine for the ex?
It’s important to have good manners. The first time I met my husband’s mom, she said, “Dean’s last girlfriend was gorgeous. She looked exactly like Angelina Jolie. But you make him laugh.” That was the craziest slap across the face, like, “You’re just a Hanukkah troll who popped up from behind the bed and made him laugh.” I laughed then, but now I would say, “How dare you?!” They even had one of those screensavers where it shuffles through all of
your photos and there were pictures of his ex in a bikini. And she did look a lot like Angelina Jolie. It was horrifying.

What should you do if family drama pops off?
If it’s at the table, don’t leave the table. Just fake it ’til you make it. Don’t tell anyone you’re uncomfortable because whatever problem they’re having is already enough. That was actually my husband’s first experience with my family. My dad was mad at somebody in our family and gave an ominous, really intense reverse toast at my mom’s birthday lunch and made me and one of my sisters cry. We were like, “What the hell, Dad?!” Dean was sitting between us. I kind of thought he might break up with me after that.

How should you dress?
Guys: Don’t have your shirt open really wide because that seems sleazy. You’re not trying to make the mom feel like a cougar. And that goes for the moms, too. It’s a real bummer when moms are all about their titties. Rule No. 1: titties in.

How should you handle sleeping arrangements?
You’ve gotta go with whatever they say. If they want you to sleep apart, that’s a bummer but you shouldn’t be a dick about it. Maybe sneak in if your partner thinks that you won’t get caught. If you’re an adult and they’re putting you in separate rooms, they’re clearly strict. If it were me, I wouldn’t risk it. If you do get to sleep in the same bed, I think it’s fine to have sex—just be quiet. No need to be a show-off.

What is the key to making a good first impression?
Try to time your shits. If you’re spending the weekend, you’ve got to go sometime. Try to go when you’re out of the house or when they are. You never want to be known as the guy that showed up and took a huge dump right away.




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