Out of the blue, my son called me the other night, excited. He wanted to tell me he had finally met someone, that she was very special and could maybe even be The One. Better yet, she would be coming home with him in a couple weeks to meet the family.

“And one other thing,” he added. “She’s a Calvinist.”


No, I don’t have anything against Calvinism. As a matter of fact, we raised our sons to be very respectful of all religions. I was actually thrilled he ventured out of his comfort zone to date someone of a different religion. But a Calvinist? Boy, does that put me in a pinch. There’s just no way in hell she isn’t going to think our family’s unrelated ban on dancing is anything but blatant pandering.

Oh, Jesus, I just thought of something else, too: my “Fuck Lutherans” poster in the living room.

First, let me explain. We have a longstanding family rule that under no circumstance is anyone ever allowed to dance. There’s no religious component to it, like the Calvinists, who forbid dancing due to its slippery slope into temptation. My wife and I simply decided that life just seems more under control if you’re not worried about dancing all the time. We’re not lunatics or anything. We still drink caffeine and say “hell” and “damn.” We even let our sons watch other people dance.

I never imagined for one second that someday my dancing ban would have a negative impact, and I would genuinely feel horrible if it adversely affected my son’s relationship. But there’s absolutely no way his girlfriend won’t see this as anything but a transparent attempt to make her feel comfortable. And is there anything more uncomfortable than someone thinking you’re trying to make them comfortable, but you’re not, and you just want them to be more comfortable?

Oh, Jesus, I just thought of something else, too: my “Fuck Lutherans” poster in the living room. I knew I was just tempting fate keeping that thing around. Whoever thought I’d finally have someone in the house who shared those sentiments? How do you explain coincidences to a Calvinist? Can you believe in predestination and coincidence at the same time?

You might ask: Why not simply take down the poster? I guess that’s one possibility. But it sure seems like a slippery slope, an adjustment like that. One second you’re taking down your beloved “Fuck Lutherans” poster, and then before you know it, you’re saying goodbye to the “Not My Pope” shower curtains. And what then? Is my bathroom floor just supposed to get wet and dangerous, all because my son is dating a Calvinist?

This isn’t going to go well. I can feel it. If anyone else out there has ever been in a similar situation, I would certainly appreciate some insight. Again, please don’t read this as a screed against Calvinists. I have nothing against them. All I’m saying is that if my son was bringing home a Hasidic Jew, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.