Parents finally getting to know me

By Kevin Wilson: PNT columnist

I don’t need everything spelled out to me.

That’s why when I was visiting a friend a few months ago, I could tell a female guest had just gotten out of a relationship. She said she was, “trying to stay strong,” which meant she’s not going to cry about the guy she used to date.

But I did need a few things spelled out — like how she was single. I could tell 10 minutes into breakfast that she was smart, had a steady job and knew when to be carefree and when to buckle down. I could also tell when she walked in the doorway that she, as Jerry Seinfeld once said, has qualities the superficial man values.

She dumped him for a myriad of reasons, I found out. The story I heard wasn’t the last straw, apparently.

She was living with her boyfriend, and he made her move all of her things out. Not because she did something wrong, but because his mother was visiting, and mother didn’t approve of living together before marriage. The girl spent the weekend at a friend’s, with most of her belongings in a car, and visited her own apartment to see his mother, who was never told the truth.

My immediate reaction was, “And she didn’t break up with him that weekend?” The reaction I had last weekend was, “Boy, I hope that guy’s mom never sends him a Facebook request.”

My parents, like me, have Internet access. So at some point I knew they’d get into social networking.

Soon they sent friend requests, because I’m their son. And I must accept them, because they raised me without managing to screw me up despite constant temptations.

Having social networking friends is a lot like having in-person friends. There are the people who only know you from high school, or college, or the bar, or church, or your softball league, etc.

Your work friends may not know your high school nicknames were based on you being scrawny, and your high school friends don’t know your work friends bombard you with fat jokes. And your parents probably don’t know that you’re a jerk with a dark sense of humor at times.

A friend of mine mentioned a site called myparentsareonfacebook.com, which archives posts parents make that could be construed as embarrassing to their children (mostly sexual). My parents never really post anything, and mainly use the sites to peer into my life.

At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have to explain to my parents the bar didn’t really have airborne chlamydia — it was just me using my Facebook status to say the bathroom felt unclean.

In the end, I decided against self-censoring. My parents sent me the Facebook request, so they want to know what I don’t cover in our phone conversations. I respect them enough to give them the ugly truth.

Otherwise, I’m the online version of the guy who hides his girlfriend’s toothbrush whenever his mom comes for a visit. I’ll let you spell out what I call guys like that.