I’ve never had much patience for people. You’re either in or out with me, and there’s rarely upward mobility. But catch me in the rare mood and I’ll make an attempt to connect. I don’t know if it’s just a vain exercise, or if it’s a heartfelt human emotion. Regardless, at some point whether or not it is in your own interest, you will have to explain to a general member of the public what BMX is. This is common when in the early stages of courtship (you know, when you're seeing a "chick"), at the monumental 'meeting the parents' event. At some point at the dinner table, her parents will think about why your jacket is so large in proportion to your jeans. They don’t take you for a musician, and so the greasy hair billowing out of your beanie will not make sense. In a world of labels and identities, they need to know, "who is my daughter dating?". Here's a quick six point plan to help you keep your foot in the door...
When you inform them that you’re a BMXer, they get a little disappointed, though for reasons unknown. I presume it’s because BMX falls somewhere in between skateboarding and motocross, both of which they are familiar with as they sometimes have to clothes shop for your girlfriend’s younger cousins. They are stumped, and unsure what to think. BMX doesn’t register like other sports. Is BMX an activity, or a culture? Is owning and riding a BMX specific bike a requisite of being a BMXer, or is merely the proper attire adequate to adopt the label? Now comes the time when you have to educate.
You begin by addressing the assumptions. Is there a motor? Are you racing? So it’s like bike events? Where do you learn how to BMX? Is it like the X Games? Try not to scoff at the mixed verbs used, like when asked if you skate your bike on ramps. My suggestion from here is to keep it simple. Avoid getting into the intricacies of street riding and all its implications: the illegality, the padding/helmet, ‘where do you go to do that?’, etc. Just say you ride the skatepark and leave it at that, it really is the easiest way out. They don’t care that you just did a feebs manny 180. Maybe even tell them that you like to ride ramps. (see chart below)
Now on to the more important issue at hand, How will this affect my daughter? Some points to bring up. BMX provides a positive outdoor outlet where one can exercise, see new parts of town, travel, befriend other riders worldwide, be part of a community, avoid the constraints of organized sports, be more of an individual, have a better grasp of related fields such as photo, video, design, and music. Stick to the highlights. When her Pops brings up his new carbon forks on his triathlon bike which are thoroughly unnecessary and could feed a village of refugees, just nod and reply, "Yes, I like forks too!" Never miss a chance to connect on bike parts, it will carry future conversations.
Some things are good to avoid telling the folks, as we all know that your girlfriend will be exposed to your other BMX friends. She will watch a group of cavemen repeat the Deadline DVD on their hand-me-down $200 big screen TV while muttering things like dialed and merked. There will most likely be double the capacity of tenants in the boyfriend’s BMX house, where cooking mac and cheese involves taking an angle grinder to a saucepan in the sink to scrape off the last batch of food. She will be around men who are far too old to be associating with your boyfriend, and most likely the ones who got the whole crew hooked on cheap beer and talking shit. She will be disappointed by the collective’s ambition, though this does not include their commitment to pot consumption.
Never break the isolation barrier on social media. All friend requests by her parents and siblings should be promptly denied, and you better believe they will call you out on it so have a good defence. God help you if they find your Instagram activity and become privy to BMXFU or Chocolate Truck.
The last bit of advice I’d say is to have fun! Your squeeze and her parents will have no idea how to discern truth, so make up pro names and tricks while detailing BMX. A double entendre is always entertaining to throw out. "Greg Passero did a reach around dock with a grinder guy." This is definitely my favorite part; it’s like being part of a one man improv troupe with a bar set so low a dachshund could order a pint of beer.
Now that you know what you’re getting into when opening up a significant part of your life to a girlfriend’s parents, all you have to do now is get a girlfriend*!
(*Note: All gender variations apply!)