Mother’s Day. A day when, if like me you don’t live in the same town as your mum, you drag yourself to the phone, hungover, to wish her well and hope the flowers and presents have arrived.
Taking someone home to meet your mum is a big deal, no matter how young or old you are. There’ll be men you’ll meet who you’d instantly think would be perfect mother material, and others you know are only for tonight.
And as for the ones you’re not so sure about, you can only hope that fate is on your side the day you take him home, praying he’s not one of this bunch of mum-toxic twits.
1. The Lick
On paper, this sycophant looks like the perfect guy to bring back to the family pile. He’ll compliment Mum on her hair, cooking, lovely kitchen – always a big draw – and join in on any gentle ribbing. Your mum, however, will see through this straightaway. She’s not stupid.
She’ll know that his “Ooh yummy” as he spoons more trifle into his mouth is a great big fake, and that her kitchen looks like the ape house at London Zoo at the best of times. This one’s up to something, and your mother shan’t rest until she’s worked out what it is.
And to make matters worse, when she’s figured it out, she probably won’t tell you – to teach you a lesson.
2. The Rebound She won’t say anything at all. Perhaps only her eyes, which she will gently roll over the phone as she listens to you gush about this perfect new guy you have met, will betray her.
Mother doesn’t need to tell you that she thinks this is too soon after your breakup or that you’re being an idiot; she knows you know she’s thinking that already.
You’ll bring him home, though, with mooncalf eyes and misplaced gusto. Your mum will smile, bring tea, talk politely. But she won’t commit his name to memory; she will never write his name on your Christmas card. Even if you stay together 15 years, to her, he’s temporary.
3. The First It’s not uncommon – among gay men, at least – to fall rather stupidly in love with the first person you have sex with. Finally, after years of angst and saucy dreams and guiltily scrunched-up tissues under your bed (which magically disappear the next day, good old Mum) you’re doing it for real, freed from your closeted prison. Alive! At last!
You want to share this with your mum, introduce her to your new life. Don’t do this. Your first shag will be someone your mother should never, ever meet. He’ll be unsuitable, rude, too knowing, a mistake. He’ll smell of you, but a different version of you.
Your mum will fret as much as it’s possible to do behind a rictus grin, knowing this piece of shit will one day break your heart.
Your life is not Beautiful Thing. The first man you sleep with is usually the last one you should.
4. The Talker Mum likes to get a word in, thank you very much.
5. The Listener But don’t take home the guy who just sits there and nods and lets your mum go on and on and on and on.
6. The Player Your mum has known you all your life, and while you may not have lived at home for many years, you haven’t changed that much. Oh, sure, your accent has faded and you drink seven different types of coffee and have lots of CMS logins, or whatever, but you’re still that same awkward door-slamming teenager.
She’ll be able to tell instantly, then, that this playboy is not for you. You’re still shy, awkward, 13, Lego-loving and obstinate in your mum’s eyes. The playboy pours sex on his corn flakes and has eyes that can only rest thirteen inches to the left of anyone’s face, over their shoulder. Mum won’t like that.
7. The Rebel To you, he’s a devil-may-care looker with a glint of anarchy in his eye and a penchant for rough sex on a pile of coats at a party. To your mother, he’s every teenage arsehole she ever kept you away from and she’s not about to stop now.
8. The Clean-shirt Bring home someone who’s too far the other way, however, and she’ll be asking you why you’re “settling” and shouldn’t you be “having more fun” instead of going out with Pete, who is “very nice, but, y’know”.
No, you can’t win. Allow it.
9. The Transient
“Yes, we met in a Walkabout. Jethro is a backpacker.”
Your mum’s thinking either he’ll take you for a ride or he’ll take you away.
10. The Posho Really think very hard about this if you grew up on a council estate. Your mum won’t know what to do with herself.
It is like bringing home a camel, or a dragon. What do they eat? Where shall we sit? What do we talk about? No matter how many times you tell your mum to chill out, she won’t.
Either that or she will go totally rogue and bring out her best lewd jokes and pretend she is Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances, just to freak out your little lord and make you squirm.
11. The Bit of Rough
If your mum is toward the posher side of Princess Anne, she’s not going to appreciate your petty attempts at rebellion by bringing back some comedy working-class hero to manhandle all her fine china. She’ll totally see through it.
Get all your flat cap fetishes out of your system before you drag him home to Mummy’s semi-detached mansion – or at least make sure it’s true love.
12. The Husband Men who belong to someone else are very unlikely to win your mother’s heart, unless the person they belonged to was a nightmare. And even then, she’ll judge you.
13. The New Best Friend They coo together over your baby photos, conspire against you and you just know eventually they’ll be meeting in secret or he’ll be shaming you for not buying her a better Mother’s Day present.
You’re supposed to be Mum’s pride and joy, not this upstart – this is one threesome you’re not going to enjoy.
14. The Family Refusenik He hates family gatherings, thinks your siblings are lame and refuses to answer the phone in case it’s your parents.
Your boyfriend doesn’t have to live in your mum’s pocket, but a guy who won’t speak to her, let alone top up her wine at lunch, has got to go.
15. The Tightwad
While your mum may criticise your spending, be it hourly accusations of extravagance or murmuring “Scrooge” under her breath every time you’re in a shop, your mum will not accept a tightwad looking after you.
She wants you to be doing nice things, in nice places, with nice people and, if you can get away with it, having somebody treat you to it. Because, then, it might mean the Mother’s Day bouquets won’t be quite as stingy next year.