Our Story: The Boyfriend Tryouts Part 2

Last time, we were thoroughly impressed with the grace that our suave hero, Will, displayed while meeting Sam’s family for the first time.  Now that he’s passed the initial screening, Will confidently looks ahead to the day he meets Sam’s parents in person.  He knows that his unique blend of wit, charm, good looks, and future employment prospects is more than enough to impress any girl’s parents.  But, then again, Sam isn’t just any girl.  She’s the girl.  And when you put it like that, there’s enough at stake here to make even the most capable of boyfriends a little nervous.

How does this all important meeting between Will and Sam’s parents play out? Find out this week on “Our Story.”

Hello, Everyone

When Sam and I arranged for me to meet her parents, we were planning on having a small, little get together.  We didn’t want to do anything big or flashy; just something quiet and cozy where Sam’s parent, Jane, and James, could get to know me a little better.

But, once the word got out that we were meeting up, it quickly became clear that our “little” outing was not to be.  Sam’s younger siblings Jake, Jessica, and Tamryn were all dying to meet me.  They weren’t going to just sit around at home while their parents got to hang out with possibly the coolest guy in the continental United States.

And then, of course, once my sisters, Lydia and Lauren, found out that Sam’s siblings were coming, the guest list expanded a little more.

So, in no time at all, our intimate get-together with Sam’s parents quickly ballooned into something much bigger and better attended than we’d planned.

That Night

After discussing various venues for our rendezvous, we decided to meet up in at Sears in Santa Monica, where James worked at the time.

The night of our meeting, my entourage and I arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule.  Even though Sam’s family hadn’t arrived yet, I decided I’d go in and let James know we were there.

Sears was dead when I walked in and I was able to track James down pretty quickly.  After exchanging pleasantries he showed me around the store.

As James and I chatted, Sam and the rest of her family arrived and met us in the home appliance section.  I mention the home appliance section because I don’t really remember too much from that night beyond that.  I can put together bits and pieces – James and I talked about the Lakers, we all walked down to the beach, we took a picture next to a dolphin statue, Tamryn (who was 13 at the time) was impressed that I smelled nice – but I don’t really remember much of what we actually did or talked about.

I assume Sam’s parents liked me because they were enthusiastic when I asked Sam to marry me.  And I imagine that I left that evening with a positive impression of them because I’ve never had anything but good feeling towards them (after all, they did raise the woman of my dreams).

I bet that at least some of my spotty memory in this regard is because the events from that week that really stand out in my memory came a couple days later when I met up with Sam’s family at their house.

The Wager

After arriving at Sam’s house, we decided it would be fun if we all went bowling together.  So we all hopped in the car and headed over to the bowling alley.  As we drove, Sam bragged about how she was a well-oiled bowling machine, largely due to a college bowling course she’d taken.

Now, if you’re a fan of our story, you know that I’m a bit over competitive.  So, of course, as Sam was going on about her bowling ability, all I could think about was “I have to beat her.”  This was a fairly illogical thought considering that 1) Sam is generally pretty trustworthy, and if she says she was good at bowling, she was probably pretty good at bowling and 2) I’m not a particularly impressive bowler myself.  I mean, I’m ok.  I can usually squeak out a few strikes and spares each game and post an ok score.  But really, my bowling talent is nothing to brag about.

Neither of those two facts really mattered though as I was listening to Sam talk.  What mattered was that Sam implied she could beat me.  When that happened, my competitive juices started flowing. And when my competitive juices flow, there’s no end to the stupidity I inspire.

So I challenged Sam to a bowl off.  To make things interesting, I proposed a little wager for our game: the loser would pay for the winner’s lunch at In-n-Out Burger.  (As as a quick aside, In-n-Out is hands down the best fast food burger place ever.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you Five Guys is better.  It’s not.)

Sam agreed to the wager, clearly feeling pretty confident that she would wipe the bowling alley floor with my pathetic excuse for a bowling game.  And thus the trash talking ensued.  While our back and forth banter may have seemed fun and flirtatious to some, it really wasn’t.  It was the chatter of two individuals who were dead set on annihilating each other.  That’s just the sort of relationship Sam and I have (if you’ve ever played board games with us, you know what I mean).

The Game

While the game started off with a great deal of smack talk, by the third frame the talking had died down significantly.  Not that we were any less motivated to win, but we were both bowling terribly.  I mean really bad.  It was embarrassing.  Under the circumstances, it just didn’t feel right to keep running our mouths.

Actually, my gut instinct was to start whining about all the reasons I was losing – the finger holes in the ball were a little too small, the floor wasn’t waxed right, the shoes didn’t fit right, the lane was warped, etc. (because, clearly, none of my poor performance was my fault).  Fortunately, Sam’s family was there and my desire to maintain a positive image in their eyes prevented me from spiraling completely out of control down bad sportsmanship alley.

By the fifth and six frames, I was really starting to feel nervous.  I was winning, but not by much.  Each time I stepped up to the line, I kept telling myself, “You can’t lose to Sam! You can’t lose to Sam!  YOU CAN’T LOSE TO SAM!”

Despite this little internal pep talk, I kept bowling poorly.  By the eighth frame, I’d finally accepted the fact that the only way I’d win was if Sam did worse than I did.  Which she was doing, so I did have hope.

The moment though that I gave up, a magical thing happened: I bowled a strike.  Then on frame 9, I bowled a spare.  I got a spare on 10 as well, followed by knocking down 9 pins on my final throw.

This last heroic gasp nudged me past Sam and propelled me to victory.

While I wanted nothing more than to bask in the glory of my triumph, I chose not to rub things in too much.  This seemed the best approach because my triumph was not all that impressive.  More importantly, had I started trash talking after winning, Sam might have beheaded me on the spot.  So, I sat and ate my In-n-Out burger, the one purchased on Sam’s dime, in relative silence, knowing that someday I might want to marry Sam and that I would probably need a head to do so.

Next Week . . .

Two days after Christmas, Sam is all set to meet Will’s family for the first time.  And we don’t just mean Will’s parents or even Will parents and siblings.  No, we mean all of Will’s family.  Will’s brother, Nate, is getting married, and everyone is coming from far and wide to be there.  Does Sam shine under the bright Hollywood lights?  Find out next time on “Our Story.”

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