How to prepare for your parents’ visit to Glasgow

This is crucial

It’s week ten of the semester, and you’re falling deeper into financial chaos, swamped by deadlines and plagued by the impending end-of-term exams.

There’s only one thing that will heighten your spirits, and it’s in the form of a visit from your estranged parents. When you’re living in your university bubble, you somehow find yourself forgetting about your origins – where you lived before you inhabited your student flat (AKA mouse-infested squalor), who your old friends are, and the identity of those two middle-aged people that conceived you.

So when your phone lights up, and the caller ID says “Mum” in big, bold letters, you receive a bit of a shock. This shock quickly turns to dread when said parent arranges to come and visit you at the weekend, and you realise you actually have to pretend to have your life together.

Fear not – we’ve composed a step-by-step guide to turn that dread into excitement at the prospect of familial banter and potential free restaurant food.

Step one – tidy

Tidy. Tidy everything. Mums have this inbuilt radar which detects any form of dust or dirt. Start with your kitchen – scrub those dishes until your hands are red raw and make sure to hoover up the remnants of cheese-and-chips which undoubtedly litters the floor. Unfortunately, this means cleaning up your flatmates’ mess as well – but it’s worth it to pull the wool over your parents’ eyes and pretend that you don’t live with absolute slobs.

When the kitchen is sparkling like a polished diamond, move onto the living room. This consists of getting rid of the strewn-about pack of Cards Against Humanity, piling any traffic cones into the cupboard and recycling the multiple cans of Dragon Soop.

Then, your bedroom. This job doesn’t take as long because your mum has already experienced, for 18 years, the bomb-site that is your personal space back in your hometown. As long as mouldy cereal bowls are eradicated, you’re safe.

Step two – make it look like you’ve done loads of work

Make yourself look as if you’ve been productive this last semester. Spread your course books out on your desk in an “I’ve totally read these” manner, and chuck a couple of pens there for good measure. Write a to-do list, making sure “LIBRARY” is scrawled right at the top. You could even go one step further and fabricate a homework timetable, ticking off things you’ve apparently done.

Wipe that dust off

Wipe that dust off

Step three – warn your housemates

Warn your flatmates about the impending visit. This gives them time to clean their own rooms incase your parents find themselves wandering in to compare someone else’s offspring with their own. Any incriminating objects must be binned immediately. This warning also enables your flatmates to put on some non-stained and half-ironed clothes, if they so wish. It’s all about creating the impression that you’re in good hands if something were to ever happen to you.

Step four – do a huge (healthy) food shop

Food shop. Pull on your trainers and move your carcass to the nearest Tesco/Asda/Aldi in the local vicinity (if you go to M&S, your parents will suspect something is wrong – too expensive). Stock up on essential things like tea (parents always want a cup of tea after their long and onerous journey) and buy copious amounts of fruit and veg. No soft drinks or alcohol – for today, and today only, your body is a temple, untarnished by the poisons of student living.



Step five – make yourself look presentable

Now the focus is on yourself. Get in that (hopefully now-clean shower) and scrub yourself like you scrubbed those dishes, until your skin squeaks. Make sure any club stamps have been firmly washed away.

Afterwards, outfit choice is crucial. You have to adopt the smart look – but not too smart that your parents know you don’t usually dress like this. “Smart” means anything that is not pizza-stained joggers and your designated night out Converse which are scattered with holes. A safe bet is a clean pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a nice knitted jumper (preferably that one your Granny knitted you which can often be found stuffed at the bottom of your wardrobe).

For girls, apply a bit of make-up, focusing on concealer to hide your under-eye bags. For guys, comb that hair like there’s no tomorrow to disguise the fact you’ve been getting it cut at the local Turkish barber who may as well be Edward Scissorhands and makes you look like you’re a soldier in some World War Two adaptation.

You may be rewarded with a nice meal like this

You may be rewarded with a nice meal like this

Et voilà! You’re sorted for the visit, ideally with time to spare to wipe the sweat off your brow and let that feeling of dread transition into excitement. Because you’ve done so well, reward yourself with a cheeky glance at the menu for the night’s dinner. Enjoy.