Charm is essential

You might actually be blessed with lovely in-laws, but even the loveliest will initially question whether you are good enough for their precious baby. Most will subject you to a trial by fire to prove your worth.

On a first meeting with the prospective in-laws, never attempt to cook-unless of course you are a famous celebrity chef.

Choose (with the guidance of your beloved) a favourite restaurant; try not to go anywhere too flashy. That will make you look irresponsible with money. Hope/assume they will be nervous, too.

Dress to impress-but not terrify

First impressions matter. Even if corsets and bondage are the height of fashion, save them for another occasion. The hooker look may instantly get the dad on your side; a “high-fashion” label may win over the trend-conscious sister, the matron/schoolteacher with a string of pearls, the mother. But don’t dress for them. You have to be yourself (albeit toned down). Instead of vampy nails go clean, and consider giving your Wonderbra a day off.

Do your homework

Know some current affairs, be up to date on all soap operas, and scan national newspapers for a week before so you have general knowledge of world events. Likewise, learn all the dramas of your beloved’s family dynasty: divorces, births, deaths and marriages, as well as family feuds.

On the day

Keep your cell phone OFF.

Do not drink to excess

You will be nervous so it could go to your head dangerously fast. Be responsible but not a kill-joy.

Be prepared

As with a job interview, know answers for the following frequently asked questions:

How did you meet, do you like children, want any, have any, are you planning on getting married, are you a gold digger, have you got a criminal record, do you moonlight as a pole dancer? Etc.

Avoid

It is generally wise to steer clear of subjects such as:

Bikini-waxing horror stories, exes and lurid one-night stands, debauchery and favourite swear words and showing where your latest tattoo is going.

Stick with

Keep on the positive side and stay with topics like:

How much you like the restaurant, proof that you are not anorexic.

How much you like living in this neighbourhood. Proof that you are not suddenly going to elope to the other side of the globe.

How much you love being with whoever. Refrain from using pet names in public, particularly in front of either set of parents; it is nauseating.

Touch on where you grew up, went to school, your family. Paint an idyllic picture of family bliss and wholesome education, aka Brady Bunch. Leave expulsion stories and so forth for later.

Emphasize your own career, that you are your own person, with your own aspirations, and how they complement his. This shows you are independent, intelligent, and an asset to the relationship and their family.

Talk about home purchase and investments. This shows you appreciate the cost of living and are not the gold-digging hussy they dread.

Get the parents on your side’ and if/when it’s time, wedding planning will be much easier. And if you think things are going badly for you, watch Meet the Parents and you will feel heaps better.