10 Grooming Dos (And 4 Don’ts) Before Meeting Your S.O.’s Family

First encounters leave an indelible impression, perhaps never more than when meeting your new lover’s parents for the first time. Slide into mom and dad’s good graces from the get-go with these above-and-beyond grooming musts and a few don’t-fucking-do-its to avoid.

DO these things before meeting your S.O.’s parents for the first time

Get a haircut
A fresh cut not only gives you more confidence to stand tall and proud, it makes you look like somebody that cares about his appearance. It also makes you immediately more attractive because that fresh-from-the-barber, boy-next-door look is a male beauty standard we honor in the United States. Sure, you might earn a pass with longer tresses if you’ve got rugged sex appeal, but unless you’re exploring the outback for a living and drinking kangaroo piss for survival alongside Bear Grylls, stick to the Wally-and-Beav-style shape-up that any parent can respect. Book your BSG appointment here.

Trim your facial hair or shave

If you’ve got a patchy beard that makes your face look like you’ve rubbed it with a glue stick and plunged it into a bucket full of freshly shorn pubes (or worse, a mustache or goatee that looks like it should stay 100 feet away from an elementary school at all times), consider shaving it before meeting the parents. All facial hair is not worthy – despite how many lies we tell ourselves about our own. If you can’t pull the trigger on revealing that baby face, however, at least clean up the edges so there’s a distinct beginning and end.  Book your BSG appointment here.

Wear a spritz of cologne

Spray your cologne twice into the air in front of you and step into the mist. That’s it – no more and no less. You want to smell hygienic and inviting, not like Don Vito crashed his Caddy into the middle of a Macy’s. A further word of advice while we’re on this subject: Stop putting cologne on your private parts, pleeease; it tastes like bug poison to the person putting that area in their mouth, and they’ll be hesitant to revisit it the future.

Trim and clean under fingernails

If your hands are dirtied on a regular basis, including grease and grime under the fingernails, wash with a mealy pumice soap as directed or rub your hands together with a tablespoon of sugar and Dawn dish detergent without water for 30 seconds to a minute before rinsing. Clip your nails normally. If your hands don’t sparkle afterward, don’t sweat it. Mom and dad will appreciate the regimen, but they’ll be thankful their kid found a man who’s not afraid to make an honest living even more.

Get B.O. under control 

Shower regularly; use a pleasant smelling body wash and hair care products, like Barber Surgeons Guild’s HCO1 shampoo and conditioner; and swipe deodorant under your pits before you start your day. This should be daily morning routine, whether your meetings someone’s parents or not.

Scrape your tongue

Brush your tongue so its natural pink hue is visible when you open your mouth. Forgoing this procedure causes bacteria to build up on the muscle making it look like nasty. You don’t need that kind of judgment if you can help it.

Exfoliate your face

A good exfoliant will remove dead cells from the surface, open up your pores, and moisturize your skin for bright, refreshing results. Try Brickell Men’s Renewing Face Scrub for a smoother but still masculine complexion.

Iron your clothing

Every grownup should know how to properly iron their clothing for every occasion, from Friday nights out to job interviews to meeting the ’rents – because, to put it bluntly, nobody takes a wrinkled-up slob seriously. If you don’t know how to iron, YouTube that shit so you can graduate from boy to man right before your own eyes. Totally easy. Nothing to be afraid of. Just don’t do it naked if you know what’s good for you.

Wear nice shoes

Your shoes don’t have to be from the box when meeting your boo’s parents, but they shouldn’t be flapping at the soles either; the pair you wear to work will suffice. Make sure your shoes are appropriate for the occasion, too. Don’t wear sneaks to a nice dinner or family event and don’t wear loafers on a hike. Mostly importantly, never ever show up in flip-flops – unless you’re taking the whole family on a cruise, but that would just be weird and nobody will come with you.

Freshen your breath

Brush, pop a piece of minty gum, choke yourself out with a few pumps of Binaca, lest you want to be known as Halitosis Joe.

For the love of God, don’t do these things before meeting your S.O.’s parents for the first time

Experiment with your hairstyle

Now is not the time to go all Queer Eye on your hairstyle if you already have a dapper-enough ’do. Stick to what you know and clean it up. With one exception: If you have a man bun, lop it. The only people who can pull off the swirly on top are Jared Leto, role-playing porn stars, and grandmotherly librarians – and none of those people are you.

Tan if you’ve never tanned before

If you’re a tanning veteran, go for it, but make it look natural, which probably means a little less time in the bed as usual (or one level lighter on the spray if you prefer sunless). If you’ve never tanned before, changing your skin color before meeting your girlfriend or boyfriend’s parents is not an ideal situation. Remember what happened to Ross on Friends? Good. Think about that.

Show too much chest hair

The main goal here is to give the impression that you’re a good boyfriend or maybe even husband material, but too much exposed chest bush will just let them know that you have direct access to great deals on gold-plated bracelets and bootleg DVDs.

Arrive in your work uniform

Actually, this depends. Don’t wear your oil-splattered gas station attendant coveralls or your Target teamster polo to the family picnic. Because duh. But if you’re in law enforcement, the military, or otherwise save lives for a living, rock the fuck out of that uniform the first time you meet your girl or guy’s parents and you’ll never do wrong as far as they’re concerned. (Which will come in handy later.)

Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.