Meet The Woodsums

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


I had met Stef’s Mom at the end of April, after Stephanie’s final Dance Company performance. I didn’t really get to talk to her all that much but she seemed pretty cool. Meeting Stef’s Dad and his family seemed like it might be a tougher task. I wanted their approval as much as I wanted her Mom’s approval, but it seemed like it might be harder to secure.

One weekend towards the end of May we went up to the home of Steve’s girlfriend, Lesley, for a birthday party in honor of Stef’s brother Nate. Not only would I be meeting her Dad, I’d also be meeting her grandparents, her aunts and uncles, everyone in the immediate family on that side of the family. It turned out to be ten times more intimidating than I’d imagined.

The Woodsums are all very nice people. They were nice then and they’ve been nice to me ever since. They’re intimidating sometimes though, because they seem so much “higher class.” I don’t know if that’s something they themselves project or if its something I, as an outsider, projected upon them because of their jobs, the way they dressed, the things they talked about. I’ve long since stopped being intimidated by them, but at the first meeting, as the new boyfriend, I was rather scared. Scared shitless, you might say.

The hardest to win over was Lesley and I didn’t do myself any favors that afternoon with a flippant or snide remark in regards to schools and/or school violence. She was a school teacher you see, and admittedly, she had a much better idea of what was going on than I did. She quickly followed up my comment with an opposing opinion and made me feel like I was a total fucking idiot. And, I spent the next couple years thinking I’d never be able to win her over. She wasn’t even a member of the family yet. At that point she was still just the girlfriend, but I almost made it a mission to redeem myself after that.

The afternoon was otherwise uneventful. I met Nate for the first time and he was an athletic, cool-looking kid, the kind of guy that I imagined would have looked down on me and my geeky bretheren in high school as some sort of inferior race. I would later discover he was nothing like that at all, but at the party he was quiet and I took that quietness to mean I was not approved of.

It took a while, but I think I was eventually approved of by all.