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He's popped the question and you're dying to tell someone. Without a second thought the two of you race like the wind to share the good news with your mum and dad.
Wait! Haven't you read enough etiquette books to know that there's a right way and a wrong way to spread your fantastic news? And the way you're going to do it will bring you nothing but regrets.
Without any warning you're going to break into the living room and expect your parents to act as if they've just won the Lotto? Dream on!
It's a cold Sunday evening, and your mum and dad are settled for the night. Snuggled into a flannelette dressing gown inherited from her grandmother, her feet lost in your father's outsize slippers and heavy woolen socks that a lamb would be proud of, your mother's head is a pin cushion of pink and blue plastic curlers.
Beside her, your father is spread across the chair fast asleep. Head back, mouth wide open, his snores are successfully competing with the sound of the television which has been turned up to point 25.
Awakened by a kick on the shin, he exudes all the charm and dignity most people exhibit in that situation.
With your 'Mum, dad, we're engaged,' ringing in their ears, at that moment, believe it or not, they hate you and your partner with a passion. Why couldn't you have given them some warning?
They've seen enough TV to know exactly how they're expected to react when their favourite daughter comes home with a ring on her finger. But they've been caught napping in every sense of the word.
If this scene were being enacted on the screen there would be a bottle of champagne cooling in the refrigerator. Elegant gold-edged flutes would be sparkling in the cocktail cabinet, while mum and dad would be stunning in the fashionable gear provided for them by the wardrobe lady. There would be much laughter and exclamation, with all sorts of delightful sentiments pouring out of dad's well-written script, with mum smiling a warm welcome to your fiancé.
But as it is, even if they manage to recover from the disadvantageous position in which you've placed them, the best your parents can do is offer the two of you a cup of tea and a biscuit or two, and wish you both hundred thousand kilometers away.
Spare them the embarrassment and yourself the disappointment. On Sunday night come home alone. Give your parents a broad hint about what to expect tomorrow, and stock the fridge with all the necessary accessories in the meantime.
News like your engagement, deserves the spontaneity of thorough planning.
Vlady Peters is an Australian Civil Marriage Celebrant.
She is the author of 'Complete Book of Australian Weddings' and 'The Small Organisation Handbook'.
Vlady is a member of Queensland Civil Marriage Celebrants Assiociation, Australian Authors'Asssociation and Romance Writers of Australia Association.
Visit Vlady at her website http://www.vlady-celebrant.com
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