“Is it weird that I met his mom?” I asked a friend later that night.
Despite being “Just friends”, Julien and I sure acted like a couple. To take that one step further, he had me meet his family. If I never contemplated dating him before, I sure did after meeting his mom. This is sounding weirder and weirder, but anyway…
Julien said that he’ll be busy for the next few weeks when his mother and brother visits. I was slightly disappointed because I spent the most amount of time with him. Helen was still going through her partying phase, which I was getting tired of. And Lucy was busy being strung along by Lukas, despite all of our warnings that he is just using her.
“But he says if I change and do better, he will consider taking me back!”
Sigh…some people just have to learn the hard way I guess, but I was sick of her asking for advice then doing the EXACT opposite. It’s like asking me if a sweater looks nice. I say yes. Then tossing it away. Basically I’m a cheap sweater.
Anyway, I assumed I wouldn’t see Julien that weekend, but he ended up inviting me to lunch. I did not want to intrude on family time, but he insisted that his mom wanted to meet his friends in Shanghai. They were having dinner with another friend after. See? Not weird at all!
I’ve never met a guy’s mom before, not even my ex’s! I secretly wondered if moms would like me or hate me. Well, good chance to find out! Shanghai is nothing if not one giant experimental laboratory! So I decided to join them.
“So nice to meet you!” his mom greeted me when I arrived, “Julien’s told us so much about you!”
She was this tiny little South Asian lady. If nothing else, at least we have height in common. But I had nothing to worry about because she was the type of person that can develop an instant rapport with anyone.
“Same here! Julien’s been so excited about your visit, he’s talked nonstop about you both for weeks!” I turned to greet his brother as well, who was nice but clearly the more reserved one in the family.
“So we were just at the Fakes Market, and you won’t believe the prices they were asking!” his mom starts talking like we’re dear old friends.
“Oh but mum is amazing at bargaining!” Julien jumped in excitedly.
“Guess how much they asked for this!” She took out a bracelet from her purse.
“Oh that’s the imitation rose gold Cartier bracelet!” I know this because Julien and I went shopping for a gift for his mom before. “Hmm, 200 kuai?”
“1000!” She was clearly outraged, “Can you believe it?”
“Unfortunately I can, they will try to scam foreigners as much as possible.” I replied.
“Except I said I’m from India, so don’t bother quoting me a white person’s price!” She smiled triumphantly, “Right away, they dropped the price to 100!”
I gasped “No way! That’s crazy!”
“Yes, but I paid 50!” She winked then said “They don’t need to know I’m actually from the UK!”
We all had a good laugh and continued to converse amicably.
She told me all about London, and how everybody wants to have Julien back.
“We don’t understand why he wants to stay in China!” his brother shook his head, “The pollution here is horrendous!”
I chuckled knowingly “Lung cancer aside, Shanghai definitely have certain appeal for young people.”
“We all think it’s because he has a girlfriend here, but he says it’s other factors.” his brother looked skeptical.
“Ha. I guess he just has to prove it by showing you a good time here!” I joked.
Julien laughed good naturedly and said he will try his best.
His mom then asked about my background and the next thing you know I’m telling her my life story. It was so easy to relax around her. We also had dessert and discussed everything from Chinese food to terrorism in London.
At the end of lunch, I tried to pay, but his brother insisted on treating all of us, so I graciously accepted.
“The cost of living here is something I can get onboard with.” his brother admitted, “A meal like this would cost a fortune in London!”
“Ask Julien to take you to some fancy places! Shanghai is full of them!” I thought about all the restaurants so extravagant that it’s sickening. Or maybe that’s how us poor people think…
“Why don’t you come to dinner with us? It’s just with Hassan and his mom.” Julien said enthusiastically.
“Oh I wish I could, but unfortunately I already have plans.” I really did make plans since I thought Julien would be unavailable.
“You’re more than welcome to join us next time!” His mother said as she hugged me goodbye.
“I will!” I hugged her back “And thank you so much for lunch!” I looked around and noticed we talked so long it’s now dark out.
As we finished saying our farewells, I suddenly had a thought that if Julien did ask me out, I wouldn’t say no.
What? Having a good mother-in-law is important!
Then I quickly brushed that thought away, and went to meet my friend for dinner.