Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mothers, Sons, and Girlfriends

My husband's cousin has been dating the same girl since entering medical school 4 years ago. His mother thinks his girlfriend too controlling of him. The cousin agrees that such control issue has rocked their relationship from time to time, but continued dating her.

The cousin has recently been accepted into the neuro surgery progrom at the university of his choice. He met a new girl, and promtly ended his relationship with his long-time girlfriend. The new girl is a nursing student. She is said to have superior social skills, whatever that means. His mother fears the new girlfriend's superior social skills may put her son in a disadvantage, again, whatever that means. More importantly, the new girl is not Chinese. Worse, she's Middle Eastern, which is low on a racist parent's preference ranking.

The obvious racism aside, this reminds me of the "no girl is good enough for my son" mentality that I have seen so many times before. It's worse if the son in question is to be a professional.

My husband's family's approval criteria for me relatively straight-forward. The criteria was if I was capable of fufulling my duty as a future daughter-in-law. In my case, it was my husband's grandmother who examined me and gave me the seal of approval. The centre of my palm was thick enough to indicate that sufficient fortune was present; my hip was wide enough to indicate that I could bear child.

Fast-forward 20-30 years from now. I imagine my own son introducing his girlfriend to me. Will I be liberal enough not to judge her too critically? After all, even though my son is far from perfect, he is, afterall, my only boy.