Forum: Arts / Religion

Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please!
By Katemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat May 09, 2009 07:32 AM
Edited by Kate (84889) on 2009-05-09 08:14:48 Forgot a bit

Hi guys,

I hope this is the right board, if not, please feel free to move my post mods!

Warning...quite long, but I appreciate all advice!

I have been seeing a guy for a while now, and he is lovely. He invited me to go to Spain with him on holiday - his parents have an apartment out there.

However, his extended family will be out there at the time (his mother's cousins I think) and they have invited us to a BBQ one day. They are Latter Day Saints (I think, from what he has said).

I have a few questions. Obviously I really want to make a good impression, but neither me, nor my family, nor my boy, nor his parents are LDS.

Firstly clothes. Spain will be pretty hot, but I am aware that LDS place a great value on modesty, which I am keen to adhere to. Obviously I don't normally go around with my butt hanging out or anything, but I would appreciate some more guidance.
I was thinking a nice knee length sun dress, but the one I have in mind is spaghetti straps-I can put a t-shirt underneath to make it into a sort of pinafore dress (it actually looks really cute like that).
Are short sleeves ok? Or should I also put a cardigan over? I would just wear the cardigan but I think it might be a bit low cut with nothing underneath to be appropriate?
Is knee length acceptable?

Also, they have told us to bring swim stuff, as they have a pool...help! What is deemed appropriate for swimwear? I normally wear bikinis (the triangle type ones) but I'm guessing probably thats not such a good idea?

Third thing about clothes/appearance. My boyfriend has his ear pierced and was telling me he was going to take out his earring as he thinks it will cause an issue. I have my ears pierced (just the typical, once in each earlobe)...should I do the same? I also have my belly button pierced...I'm guessing that should come out?

Oooh, added though...makeup ok? Or no?

My friends think I am thinking about this waaay too much, but I really don't want to offend anyone, or seem like someone who disrespects their culture and values.

Second point...my boyfriend has said that the mom of the family tends to ask rather...personal questions. I think (from what he has said) that it is somewhat of a sore point that my boyfriend's family are not LDS, or even particularly religious at all (they are protestant, but do not practise). He has warned me that she will probably bring up the fact that we are staying together alone in the apartment and ask/make comments on what may or may not be going on. I'm not too sure how to deal with this, I come from a (Catholic) family who's policy is very much, don't ask, don't tell.

Just to fill in, we have not slept together yet, although we will no doubt be sharing a bed, having cuddles, kisses etc. I have no intention of making out with him in front of the relatives obviously, but how do I field these questions? Honestly? Or somewhat economically with the truth? Or tell her to buzz off and mind her own business?!!

On a similar line, apparently she likes to ask about other stuff- uni, work etc (which is all fine), social stuff-drinking, smoking, hobbies etc. I don't smoke or take any drugs, I'm a pretty good girl, as is the boy. We do both drink, and the other thing I'm a little concerned about is that I am a cheerleader. I am very proud of this, I am a strong athlete, I can stunt, jump, tumble...but I don't know how cheerleaders will be recieved by this lady? Keep quiet?

Arrgh, I really am panicking, I am so keen to look good infront of the family, apparently his last girlfriend didn't go down well at all, and I really would like them to think I was a nice, principaled person (Which I think I am!).

Any advice? Am I panicking too much? Anything I may overlook and potentially risk offending people with?

6 Replies to Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please!

re: Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please! (karma: 1)
By Incarnadinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat May 09, 2009 11:08 AM
First of all, I think it’s great that you want to respect the family’s religion while in their home. Secondly, I think you’re a bit too stressed out over the whole ordeal. :)

For the clothing, dressing modestly is always a good idea when attending family affairs. I would check with his immediate family regarding the extent of what’s deemed appropriate attire. Regardless of religion, everyone has a different level of what is appropriate; and I think it’s more a matter of manners and good taste. Considering “the audience” is always good form. In this regard I think it’s more about social appropriateness and not so much religious appropriateness.

I don’t think you have to stress too much about fitting in with their religious dogma. You’re not in the religion and they know that. You aren’t required to fall totally in line with the religious rules. That said, I would still dress conservatively. The outfit you described seems perfectly appropriate to me. As for the bathing suit, check with the boyfriend and his family. I personally would NOT traipse around in a string bikini in front of my boyfriend’s parents. I’d go with a tankini or throw a tank top over it.

Makeup is fine too. But I’d keep it light and fresh.

As for the intrusive questions- this is a moment to pull out your charm and social grace. She’s the one who asks rude questions and she’s the one who’s “in the wrong” for doing so. However, you can always answer diplomatically or don’t answer at all. You can cleverly sidestep her without having to stoop to her level by being rude or abrasive back.

Snide comments can just be brushed off with a smile or ignored entirely. You can always politely excuse yourself if her questions and comments are too much. (“It was nice talking with you, I’m going to see if Jane needs any help in the kitchen. Can I get you anything while I’m up?”) In this scenario I wouldn’t bother getting into a debate or defending yourself. What would the point other than to play into her rudeness? You don’t have to explain yourself to them. Let’s hope this women has enough manners to not assault you with sensitive questions. She may do that with family, but hopefully she has more class then to do it to you, a guest and unknown stranger.

If she does ask/comment, and you feel inclined to indulge her- just answer vaguely.
So I hear you and Bob live together? Yes, we do.
Do you drink? Not very often.
And leave it at that. If you’re vague she’ll hopefully get the point. You can always redirect the conversation or put the focus back on her by asking her questions and acting interested in her life. People love to talk about themselves.
re: Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please! (karma: 1)
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat May 09, 2009 01:48 PM
The cheerleading shouldn't be an issue. Even Brigham Young University, arguably the most LDS college in the country (and I believe run by the LDS church) has cheerleaders for their football games. They have somewhat more modest uniforms than many (no cleavage) but they still have very short skirts and visible cheerleading panties. The official position of the University is that the BYU cheering uniform and other sports clothing is appropriate for the activity. [There was such a discussion on DDN a while ago. You might wish to Google BYU cheerleading to read up on it. Apparently they are a VERY good squad and have won many cheerleading competitions.] So if you get a negative comment on that you may wish to counter with "Oh yes, I'm a cheerleader and I hear that BYU has one of the top cheerleading squads in the country."

If they get too personal in the questioning [Mormon friends of mine really are quite discrete most of the time], you just say, "Well we don't really discuss our personal lives with other people."

I once dated a Mormon girl (who is now Episcopalian after marrying an ex-Catholic seminarian :)) and she wore shorts, T-shirts, swimsuits about as daring as the era (60's) and the like. She was NOT hard core though. We're still friend BTW, but she will have NOTHING to do with the LDS church.

Jon (A sort of lapsed Lake Wobegon Lutheran)
re: Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please! (karma: 3)
By westernballerinamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat May 09, 2009 04:22 PM
I'm LDS! I live in UT, and have a lot of respect for my religion. I go to church every sunday and follow the "rules" about being a mormon I guess you could say. Ha ha! First of all I just want to tell you that I think its so awesome that you have respect for these people that you would take the time to ask questions on here!

So first off clothes. Your right, we do dress modest. I would make sure my shirt had sleeves. (cap sleeves are great!) and no cleavelage (sp?) showing. Your sun dress sounds like it would work good with a t-shirt under! Your dress to the knees is perfect! I would say as long as your skirt/shorts pass your fingertips when your arms are at the side that should be good.

For swimwear people I know usually wear tankinis, or a bikini with a tank top over!(over the bikini, not the tankini) I personly would never (like the person above me) walk around in a bikini infront of my bf's parents. LDS or not. anyways

Don't worry. You can keep your earings in :) Girls are allowed to have earings although boys on the other hand aren't really... so your boy is smart to take his out. I would also keep my belly button ring coverd if I were you.

Oh and go ahead and wear make up! I LOVE make up and would die if I wasnt allowed to wear it! ha ha!

Feel free to talk about your cheerleading! I have lots of LDS friends who cheer! Thats no problem :)

One more thing I want to add is that if you swear try not to around them.

But really in my church we are taught to be a friend to everyone and show respect to everyone! I'm sure you will be fine and they will accept you for you! We're really not that much differnt from other people!

Sorry I'm not very good at explaning things but if you have ANY questions feel free to pm me :) Have fun!!
re: Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please!
By Katemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 11, 2009 08:16 AM
Thank you very much to all of you. Everything said was most useful!

I think I am definately over stressing, but I really want everything to go perfectly!

I will take on board all the tips for avoiding awkward questions, although hopefully the Mom only asks them to family! I don't do anything really bad that I would need to hide anyways hopefully!

Thanks for the clothes advice...I will look out for a tankini and if not, just throw a tank over the top (such a good and obvious idea, why didn't I think of it?!) I agree, a string bikini isn't really something I'd want ANYONES family seeing me in, but I live in a very cold climate so it isn't usually an issue! More likely to see me in ski pants and thermals!!

westernballerina, your post was amazing, so useful, and helpful to get it from someone who is actually LDS, so thank you. I will take on board everything! I'm not a swearer at all, nor is the boy but its a good point to watch out for. I'm currently trying to curb his 'Oh my God' habit - 7 years of Catholic school and I am most definately still an Oh my goSH girl...which he finds hilarious! Maybe this will help break his habit!

Thanks again for the replies...and if anyone has any more advice, its always gratefully received.
re: Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please!
By houndrfriendPremium member
On Tue May 12, 2009 03:30 AM
I am a saint all the time.Ask anyboby.Any way,I had a quick look through all this and it seems you have to change so many of your habits because he is from Spain.Do what you want to do and dress the way you like.Why doesnt he understand your own culture?
re: Going to meet my boy's family-they are LDS and I am not, advise please!
By Incarnadinemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue May 12, 2009 07:21 PM
farbrotherhound wrote:

I am a saint all the time.Ask anyboby.Any way,I had a quick look through all this and it seems you have to change so many of your habits because he is from Spain.Do what you want to do and dress the way you like.Why doesnt he understand your own culture?


Heh...maybe you should give it a slower look over because this has nothing to do with Spain or his cultural heritage. :P

Her boyfriend’s extended family are religiously LDS- Mormons.

It’s about religious standards of conduct, not culture.

And really, social grace and manners would say that it’s good form and a sign of respect to acknowledge and follow (within reason) the cultural practices of your host. No need to convert or pretend to be something she’s not, but it’s a sign of respect and kindness to keep the host’s beliefs in mind and try to honor them while in their home.

You wouldn't smoke in a non-smoker's home or wear your shoes in a Japanese person's house...etc...etc... same sort of idea.

Side note:
And yes, I’m aware that religion is technically a facet of culture- don’t nitpick ya’ll, you know what I mean! (DDN is pretty predictable- yes?)

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