Rule number one: When you meet your Italian girlfriend’s parents for the first time, which is usually for supper, don’t show up empty-handed. No matter how many times you hear “It’s-a no necessary for you to bring-a anything-a; just the pleasure of-a you company is enough-a”, you bring something.
Believe me, I learned that the hard way. Cara’s mamma insisted I not bring anything; her papa even said they would be insulted if I brought something. In his head, my bringing something meant they weren’t able to provide whatever was needed for a respectable meal.
I wasn’t raised that way. My southern belle of a mother brought her famous peach cobbler to every luncheon she attended. The thought of showing up without so much as a bunch of wildflowers was a cardinal sin.
So when I asked again for what must have been the fifteenth time what I could bring and was told “bring-a nothing”, I brought nothing.
Well, from the moment I arrived at Cara’s house all I got was the ‘malocchio’; as a joke Cara bought me a big red evil eye to hang from my rearview mirror. I didn’t think it was very funny.
When I asked Cara why she didn’t warn me, she said “Everybody knows ‘nothing’ means ‘something’!”
Cara and I have been married six years now. We have three beautiful kids and a nice house. Still, her parents refer to me as that “cheap sum-a-na-bitch-a” who brought nothing.