A Mother of A Problem
This past week’s episode of Ugly Betty titled, A Mother of A Problem, brought me many years back.
You see, Betty is now dating Matt. She met him in her YETI (Young Editors Training Initiative) class. She just recently found out that Matt is rich. But she liked him even when she suspected that he didn’t have money. Well, last week, she went to his house to meet him there. But Matt wasn’t home yet and Betty met his mother, Mrs. Victoria Hartley. At first, Mrs. Hartley thought that Betty was one of the maids. When Betty told her that she’s dating Matt, she wasn’t too impressed. Matt came and introduced them properly and when they left, he apologized to Betty about her mother, “She’s judgmental and controlling. No one I date is ever good enough for her.” But Betty said, “It matters to me that she likes me.” And she wanted to meet her again.
So Matt invited Betty to this fancy dinner that his mother was holding the following week. Betty wanted his mother to like her and so she prepared for it, even asking her boss’s mother, Mrs. Claire Mead, how to act at this kind of parties and Mrs. Mead even told her how Mrs. Hartley have these topics for these dinners. They tried to find out what the topic was and it was “Torture.” Good thing that Betty just read an article about the topic.
The big night came and there was a mushroom fiasco with an expensive painting owned by the hostess, but Matt took the blame for Betty. Even so, Mrs. Hartley made sure that Betty wasn’t sitting beside Matt at dinner and what do you know, she changed the topic to “The Future of Opera.” Well, Betty is a smart girl and since she works at a fashion magazine she came up with an answer that she knows very well, “Opera is fashion.” (She does know about fashion a lot, although her sense of fashion may be debatable. 🙂 ) The guests were impressed with her opinion. She thought that she impressed Matt’s mother, as well.
But she was wrong. After dinner, Mrs. Hartley talked to Betty. She asked Betty what she has in common with Matt. She went on ahead and told Betty that Matt went to Yale University, he speaks three languages and he plays the piano. When Betty couldn’t answer, Mrs. Hartley told her that it would be the last time they’d be seeing each other. When Matt saw Betty leaving, he told his mother that he was leaving with her.
This is the part where I was brought back in time. I was in my early 20s many years ago and I had been dating this guy for quite a while. I already had a feeling that his mother wasn’t that fond of me. One night she came to my house and told me that maybe I should give her son some space. She noticed that we had been spending a lot of time together and that he was at my house a lot. She thought that since her son was still young, that he should still meet other girls. She kinda knew that we were getting serious. She probably thought that if it were not for me, her son would meet someone who conformed more to her standards, whatever they might have been. Maybe she didn’t think that I was good looking enough for him or that he was a bit young for me (only two years, btw). I didn’t know. I never thought of asking. Because, honestly, I was surprised when she came to talk to me. I thought that “you’re not good enough for my son” speech only happened in the movies. At that time, I rattled my brains and tried to think what lines those characters delivered in the movies that I had seen. I told his mother that I wasn’t trying to force her son on myself. He liked me and I liked him and if he ever felt that he didn’t want to be in the relationship, he was free to go.
And yeah, of course, I was hurt. Friends told me to ignore her. She wasn’t the one I was dating or going to live with if the relationship was headed in that direction. My friends had a good point. But I think, to some girls, it matters that their boyfriend’s mother like them, like it did matter to Betty. But to what lengths are you going to try to make them like you? If it’s a matter of attitude, you can probably try to change. But if it’s a matter of personality or the way you look or just the way you are, there’s nothing much you can do, is there?
I like Claire Mead’s advice to Betty. She said that she’s never going to win over Mrs. Hartley and that she needs to stand her ground. And I guess that’s what I kinda did.