What Is Your Go-To Parental Disclaimer?

When I’m preparing to introduce someone to my dad, I often have to give them a heads up about a few things. First of all, if we’re going out to eat there are two jokes he’s going to make. 1) When my friend’s food arrives, he will say, “HEY WAIT A SECOND,” and then that her meal looks better than his. 2) When the check comes, he’ll pretend to hand the bill to me. LOL. Not.

I also give my friend a heads up that my dad will interview her as if she were his guest on prime time talk show. Sometimes he throws a curve ball and requests a full-fledged thesis on some pop culture phenomenon that is outside of his wheelhouse. He once spent a whole week fixated on Bruno Mars, so they need to be prepared.

Parental disclaimers are extremely important. One time, for example, my dad was visiting me in San Francisco during his vacation. He told me he wanted to stop by my high school so he could meet my favorite teacher. I wasn’t actually listening when he told me this, so I forgot to give her a warning about the fact that a middle aged man (with no indoor voice, who hadn’t shaved in a few days and prefers sweatpants to real pants when he doesn’t have work) was planning on showing up at some point to say hi.

My dad went to my school as planned, walked into the main office, and happened to come face to face with my teacher. He didn’t know it was her, she didn’t know it was him, so when he said (probably way too enthusiastically in his velcro sneakers), “Hello! I’m looking for an English teacher named Ms. B,” Ms. B herself thought he was a crazy person who wandered in off the streets. “Ms. B actually isn’t here today,” she lied.

The reality is that everyone likes my dad a lot more than they like me, so any of my audible sighs and eye rolls are met with my friends’ squinty-eyed glares and the sentence, “Amelia don’t be so RUDE.” This prompts my father to mess up my hair “affectionately” (although nothing makes me more furious than a dad-noogie) and to ask his most famous question, “Do your parents annoy you as much as I annoy my kid?”

Most say yes. Then he asks, because remember, my dad thinks he is a walking talk show host, “I know Amelia gave you the disclaimer on me. Do you ever do that with your parents?”

And so, because I’m going to turn into him and you’ll probably turn into your moms and dads too, I ask you the same question: What disclaimer do you give about your parents?

It’s with nothing but love, of course.

  • Jenny

    Story of my life..glad I’m not the only one. I usually go for “I’m the youngest of 4 kids and my oldest sibling is 34 so that’s why my dad could be the same age as your grandfather…but he looks muchhh younger.”

  • dp


  • LaRaeRae

    ugh, my friends were always terrified of my dad because he doesn’t understand how to talk to anyone under the age of 15. they all love his sarcastic humor and sass now, but it didn’t go over well back then haha.

  • Quinn Halman

    I feel the same way. Everyone likes my mom more than me, and I can’t blame them because she’s so fucking cool. My dad is also a know-it-all and my school is pretty international, so he’ll either a) butcher the language or b) tell someone about their culture. And sometimes if a friend is over for dinner, they’ll start busting out the Hebrew, not even talking about my friend, and it’s super awkward because my friend thinks that they’re talking about them
    It’s embarrassing but I love my parents

    • Your mom sounds legit! Especially after I saw that Kanye-esque picture. My mom just wears Norwegian sweaters and clogs or Birkenstocks. She usually pairs said items with a thrifted skirt or pair of corduroys. To put it simply, zero Balenciaga will be passed down to me. The Norwegian sweaters are quite intricate and beautiful, though.

      • Quinn Halman

        This is wear my mom is lacking, you see, she insists on purging her closet every 6 months. I wish there were her vintage punk clothes from the 80s because I would be all up in dat shit. Also she is around 3-4 inches shorter, a shoe size smaller, and a size 0 so not everything can actually be passed down

  • Leandra Medine

    I have to tell all my broad-shouldered friends that my dad will indubitably if they are swimmers. It’s his way of counterbalancing my scoliosis prone posture.

    • I have scoliosis too. It’s only more annoying because my mom used to bother me about my bad posture every day of my life (probably because she knew there was a good chance I would inherit this problem). There’s nothing worse than when something your parents warned you about comes true, and you get the “I told you so” look. Hashtag Fail!

  • Charlotte Fassler

    Don’t be alarmed by that screeching sound, it’s just my Mom singing….to the dogs…

    • Oh my god, same thing. My mom will sing to our dog ALL DAY LONG. Yesterday she was out on the front lawn doing so, and I had to stop her when the neighbor was trying to get her attention. It’s gone to far, the dog even has a theme song. She also speaks to hamsters in her Hamster Voice, and nearly all small mammals will stop in their tracks and come into her arms when they hear it. It’s fascinating but also highly embarrassing.

      • alejandra

        OMG MY MOM TOO. I do it too tho, and now most of my friends have a dog voice.

  • Carrie

    Well, my family is southern. So, I usually warn anyone from the north that my Mom WILL try to feed you. Anyone from the south gladly accepts the fact that they will have to eat something in order to be civil, northerners, not so much.

  • CDJ

    We just have to give everyone a heads up that my dad’s nick name is “Chandler” (Friends) because he is the king of over-share and awkward comments, and we’re constantly assuring everyone that he is just joking. Example: my mother broke her foot about 10 years ago. When the doctor asked what happened, he said “oh, I pushed her down the stairs”. He was obviously kidding, but he then got cornered by social security and they were separately interviewed in the hospital. Stuff like that happens all the time.

    As for my mother, she has the smallest hands you’ll ever see on a grown woman. I usually point them out to new friends beforehand because I think they’re adorable, but she’s very self-conscious about them.

    • MY DAD DOES THIS but it’s so dry and semi-logical that you can’t even convince someone he’s joking. I got thrown off a horse in college he told my roommates we were going to go to the county veterinarian instead of the ER because… “it’s the exact same equipment.”

  • Chloe

    Apart from the usual warning that I come from a family of nine children (no, we do not sleep all together, yes, I do love it, and yes, my mom is perfectly fine -oh and yes, I thrive on hand-me-downs) I have to tell people that my dad is very shy and awkward in social gatherings and my mom may feel the need to fake laugh a very weird noise to get out of answering in most cases.

  • I guess that’s one advantage of immigrating to the U.S. – the fact that the parents don’t speak English, and so there’s really no reason for a disclaimer {other than “They don’t speak English,” which usually results in the friend speaking reeeeeally slowly and extreeeemely loudly, as if the volume of their voice directly affects my parents’ ability to understand.

    XOXO, Oksana

  • My dad has lived in other countries for too long, so now he will kiss my friends on the cheek when they come over. It is sooo incredibly cringe-worthy. I know that it makes my friends uncomfortable. I’ve asked him to stop, “we’re in America!” but he doesn’t think that it’s weird. So I also have to warn my friends before they come over. I feel embarrassed just thinking about it.


  • I have to worn them always that my mom will talk their ear off, and that my dad, although he has a booming voice and sounds rather serious, isn’t all that serious or mean or whatever. I think people elect not to come to my house and suggest I go to their’s. I’m totally okay with this. Often, the friends have the better food pantries anyhow. Unless you want granola or my mom’s attempt at tikka masala, I’d say it’s a safe bet we reside at your place.

  • Hannah

    My mum’s pretty cool, she’s a self employed potter kinda obsessed with her etsy site. (www.etsy.com/shop/damsontreepottery)
    My Father however thinks he’s a comedy genius, but only succeeds in terrifying any friends I have round. The other day I was chatting with a guy friend in my room and my dad walked in with a 3 foot metal pole and asked whether he was bothering me! The bloke turned white whilst my dad doubled up laughing….. my poor friend rejected the last tea I offered him at mine. Thanks Dad!

  • Karen

    Looking forward to meeting your Dad! Kidding, kidding, I am kidding….

  • White Girl Tara

    “Heads up, my dad looks exactly like Danny DeVito.”

  • Well… if anyone is likely to get into my mom’s car, I have to warn them about her driving. I feel that you have to mentally prepare yourself for terrifying situations of that type.
    I also have to warn my male friends not to hit on her. That’s gross.