I’m not really the kind of girl you want to bring home to your mother.
Don’t get me wrong, I can throw on a vaguely preppy, suburbs-ready outfit in no time, thanks to my Connecticut upbringing.
(Wow, had to dig way back into the archives for that one. And no, I would not make that face when meeting your mother. But I might still wear that button-down.)
I lack visible tattoos, abnormal piercings, a criminal record, cult affiliations and dietary restrictions.
But when it gets down to it, I kind of have a big mouth. I say what I think, and, worse still, I show what I think. If some people’s emotions are “written all over their faces” let’s just say that mine are generally scrawled in large looping letters and marked with a hi-liter.
Christie Lee*, however, has a smile pasted on her face all the time. Christie Lee is exactly the kind of girl you’d want to bring home to your mother. Christie Lee is perfect.
She’s perky, skinny, sweet – basically any adjective that applies to a high school cheerleader, applies to Christie Lee. And she also happens to be my boyfriend Dave’s younger brother’s girlfriend.
At first, I completely underestimated Christie Lee, shiny hair and all. I thought I had the trump card, the coup d’etat. You see, I’m Jewish. Chosen. And for having to endure all the stuff that goes along with it – thrice-weekly Hebrew school while those other kids had CCD for one freaking hour; hair that required lots of quality time with a flat iron; legacy of the Holocaust, blah blah blah – I’m supposed to be given this one gift: to automatically win the favor of my boyfriend’s Jewish mother.
Little did I know, Christie Lee would be bringing her A game.
Sure, his family was initially skeptical. For example: the first time my boyfriend’s grandmother heard that his brother was dating an Asian, she kept insisting that she “might just be adopted.” (No dice, Grandma Helen. Sorry.)
But very quickly it became clear that Christie Lee had come to win. Now, it’s possible that the fact that she’s not Jewish made Christie Lee try harder. Or maybe she’s just naturally like this. Hard to say. All I know for sure is that the girl makes me – me, the nice, Jewish, Ivy-league educated young professional – look like a satanic atheist my boyfriend picked up at an underground dog fight.
It started out small. Christie Lee would always bring over brownies, while I showed up empty-handed. Christie Lee cheerily joined in the family trip to Six Flags, while I, um, politely declined. And then, Christie Lee agreed to help the boys’ aunt, a wedding planner, with some upcoming Korean nuptials.
Yes, her Asian heritage actually began working to her advantage. That’s when things got ugly.
I decided the only way I was going to have a shot at establishing myself as at least the family’s second best girlfriend (true, Dave’s youngest brother is only 12, but at this point, even a prepubescent Wiccan was looking like staunch competition) was to fight dirty. So I busted out the biggest gun available to me: Jewish apple cake.
The occasion: Rosh Hashonah. The location: Southern New Jersey. The players: Not just his parents and siblings, but also…the Jewish grandparents. Straight out of Long Island. Plus a few non-Jewish family friends thrown in for good measure.
I spent days combing the Internet for the perfect recipe. I splurged on organic apples at Reading Terminal. I even invested in a freaking tube pan (which days earlier I wouldn’t even have been able to identify in a bakeware lineup.)
And when I was done…well, I had a masterpiece. There’s really no other way to say it. I knew it was a winner before we even cut the first slice. Not only did it get eaten (oh, did it get eaten) but HIS GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME FOR THE RECIPE. I felt triumphant. Clearly, I had won. The competition was over. I texted the word “victory” to my mother, right from the table. I relayed the story, in quite an animated fashion, at our Yom Kippur break fast. I gloated.
But the victory lap was premature. Christie Lee had more tricks up her sleeve – good ones. When I returned home after my Europe trip, I received word that she had sent out…wait for it…HALLOWEEN CARE PACKAGES to all of his extended relatives. I’m sorry, I think that needs repeating: HALLOWEEN CARE PACKAGES. Care Packages…FOR HALLOWEEN. Halloween’s barely a holiday! What in god’s name is this girl going to pull for Christmas?
So, I’m waving my white flag. I’m giving up the fight. I’m out of my league. I just can’t compete with homeade mini apple pies and cupcakes shipped across the country for a holiday that falls in October. I’m not that girl. I’m not the girl you want to bring home to your mother.
But, like I said, I have no dietary restrictions. So, Christie Lee: keep those mini apple pies coming. I may be out of the race, but I have no problem eating the spoils.
*Name altered slightly to protect the cute, skinny Asian girl in question.