Do you remember that day when…

Not tales of cute puppies, or uplifting stories of challenges faced, battles won and goals achieved, but those times you’ll never forget because of how embarrassed you felt, or how awkward it was to be you 😉

I spent my teens, twenties and most of my thirties being attracted to bad boys. It took a long time but I finally came to realise that if I dated someone nice, I’d have to put time and effort into building a relationship with them, and I’d a terrible fear of that prospect.

But, a few years of bringing up my daughter on my own and surrounding myself with happy and successful relationships, I began to think it might be time to give this commitment thing a try. And that’s when I met him. The man who is now my ex, but was my long-term partner for 14 years.

We worked together, and it was clear he was a nice guy before that became A Bad Thing and, remarkably, he was looking to get serious and settle down. Even more remarkably, he seemed to find me – 5 years older and a single parent with one young child – to be a genuine prospect.

I give you this snapshot into my background so you’ll understand that I’d reached the grand old age of 36 without having any experience of social intercourse with the parents of anyone I’d dated. Bad boys didn’t introduce you to their families, and I’d run away from everyone else.

It was clear to both of us that this thing could have legs, so when he was buying a new flat and was shopping to furnish it, he invited me to join him. I took this as a good sign of his serious intent (which it was).

But… he’d also invited his mother.

Now, it wasn’t just because his mother had formed his taste and done a worrying amount of his shopping till that point in time (something I wasn’t to learn till later) that this was to be a problem. But, noting my reaction, he swiftly sought to re-assure me that she held an account with the department store he’d decided to give his custom and, while he was paying, her account-holder status allowed him to get a significant discount and free delivery. Knowing that on his shopping list was furnishing his living and dining rooms, I did not foresee what was to come.

As we got off the lift (elevator for US readers), we found ourselves facing the bed department. This was one piece of furniture which had specifically not been mentioned. But his mother said “and of course, you’ll need a new bed”. Hanging back, as befits any new girlfriend of only a few weeks, I left the two of them to wander through the department discussing preferences. This policy was working well, until the salesman swooped upon them…

He insisted that mattresses needed to be tried by the people who would be using them – and though this is of course true, I was determined to have none of it. As his words drifted across the shop floor, I was looking anywhere but at them. Indeed, I was busily demonstrating how utterly fascinated I was by the offerings in the lighting department.

Was I was allowed to get away with that act of discretion? Oh no. I got called over, by my boyfriend and the bed salesman – the latter, really quite loudly.

So, on only the second time I’d met his mother, I found myself being instructed to lie on various mattresses with my boyfriend to try them out for size, comfort and support, all while the loud and pushy salesman insisted that I emulate my normal sleeping position, and that we should cuddle up together to see how the weight distribution felt.

It was excruciating. I was absolutely mortified, and could not look at my boyfriend’s mother. She was also worryingly quiet. But my boyfriend… he loved it. He was the sole focus of that salesman and he flourished under his flattery and attention. I should have heeded the warning…


The thing is I went on to have the most wonderful relationship with his mother – in fact, I absolutely adored her. We became incredibly close, and all my siblings voted her – and her husband – but primarily her, as the best in-laws. Choosing to end the relationship I had with my boyfriend was hugely complicated by my feelings for his mother. I wanted to lose him, but keep her.

To this day, I will never ever forget how I felt during that performative bed and mattress testing with my boyfriend, accompanied by the soundtrack of that awful salesman, and the total and awful silence from my boyfriend’s mother and me.

I never liked the bed either 😉

Make me feel better – share your embarrassing stories… PLEASE!

© Debra Carey, 2023

20 thoughts on “Do you remember that day when…

Add yours

  1. You win the most embarrassing story of dating I’ve heard in a long time. It’s funny in the telling but I’m sure horrifying in the moment. Isn’t it interesting how you got along with his mother, but ended up disinterested in him? Interpersonal relationships are endlessly quirky.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ally, it is an oddity isn’t it? I became a much closer friend to his sister after our split that we ever were before too.

    This incident was an early sign of my ex’s complete lack of EQ, but of course, I wasn’t looking out for stuff like that back then. Indeed, I had no idea it was even a thing.

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  3. You’re not helping me Sarah! 😀 😀

    Truth be told, I’ve more than one or two hilarious dating experiences. I hate to think what that says about me 😉

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  4. Ok…the best in law story I have, which is more silly than embarrassing….we took my father in law shopping for a tux to buy, because in the end it’s cheaper than renting. We went to a discount suit store, which had open dressing rooms, where all the men change in one room. My father in law comes out and announces quite loudly that he doesn’t have underwear on and can’t change in the fitting room and then proceeds to be flummoxed that everyone doesn’t go commando….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Autumn 😀 😀 😀 Thank you! I am soooo grateful. And I shall be reading your old blog posts with glee! Sex and money eh? Yikes… You clearly passed a mega test there.

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  6. LA, is it wrong that I now see your father-in-law as an older Joey Tribbiani? 😉 That is hilarious – thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh boy, Debs, I can imagine how awkward that was for you, but I must admit your telling of it was extremely entertaining for me. Still the bed didn’t have a chance to win you over after that beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It would, wouldn’t it Nicki. And I’d laugh, so long as I wasn’t in there experiencing the gut wrenching embarrassment.
    No, neither the boyfriend nor the salesman. Although maybe the salesman knew but didn’t care (or was proud!)

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  9. Yup Deb, it’s genuinely annoying when hindsight keeps offering up these red flags which I just breezed on past! Hey ho, at least we got smart eventually 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Christie, thank you. I’m glad you found it entertaining. That experience needed a silver lining I tell you, and that it’s given amusement to you my lovely readers is good enough for me. But yeah, that bed. I hated it. I had one of my own, but it went in the spare room ‘cos his was newer. I spent all our years together wishing I’d said something, because I found it uncomfortable, and that salesman was just plain wrong I tell you! 😀

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  11. That is freakin’ hilarious. You had me laughing out loud for real over here. I’d have been looking out for hidden cameras, and aghast when I didn’t find any.

    My most embarrassing story? When I assumed my teenage daughter’s chaperones were a wrong number on the text that came through and decided to have a little fun with them, asking if the girls would be showering together and whether pot would be available. Oh, it was bad. In fact…

    Open Mouth, Insert Foot

    Since you asked.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh thank you Mark! And not just for enjoying my story. Your tale made me roar with laughter. I can totally imagine your daughter’s expression and body language as she heard about your text exchange with Ashley! 😀 😀 An absolute hoot!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That would be bad enough as a long married couple, but as someone in a new dating situation? And yes, you’re right, there were some warning signs. But have you listened to the Jax song about how the guys who weren’t right for her made her ready for the one who was? That’s the way it should work.

    Like

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