Despite rigorous research by some of the nation’s finest statisticians, the fact remains – and it remains a mystery.
For there are hundreds, possibly thousands of careers out there for them to have chosen from, but somehow prospective fathers-in-law are only ever one of three things: the ex-military man who assumes you’re a useless, ill-disciplined coward; the retired city type who has you down as a profligate, lazy and worst of all impoverished imbecile; or the moth-eaten and moulting legal eagle who can tell you’re guilty of all manner of horrors, though what precisely those horrors are he isn’t sure. (We do not include the unconfirmed reports from the home counties of a fourth variety, the gentleman farmer who weeps at the drop of a hat at the prospect of some impractical ne’er-do-well of a son-in-law running his patch of land – so carefully cherished over the years – into the ground within a decade.)
Despite their professional differences, they can all agree on four things: you, dear reader and prospective son-in-law, are a dissolute and unworthy bounder; you drink far too much of the wine that hospitality demands is made available when you go to stay; their daughters are either blind or insane or possibly both; any man – especially you - who drinks anything other than red wine, gin, scotch or the occasional bloody Mary is a treacherous and possibly dangerous subversive who is, to put it in its mildest terms, wholly unsatisfactory.
And that right there is your opportunity to show them the error of their ways, you poodle-faking young buck.
Because once he’s had one of Tommy’s Margaritas, the fearsome old goat will be roaring what a jolly good fellow you are, squeezing your shoulder with misty-eyed gratitude and begging you to name the date. He may even pop you a twenty if you’ve got the proportions just right.
Created by Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, San Francisco in the 1990s, this simple and simply extraordinary concoction will be the first new drink the young lady’s Guv’nor will have had since he retired.
You will need to plan ahead, however, for though there are but three ingredients, none of them will be in the Old Man’s booze cabinet or in the cupboard just to the left of the Aga. You’ll need agave syrup, which you will find for some reason in a health food shop or by the Golden Syrup in the baking section of the supermarket. You’ll also need a whole bag of limes. Lastly, drop by the grog shop on your way out of town and pick up a bottle of the most expensive tequila blanco you can find or afford.
Then, having endured the steely eye of the pater familias for the requisite half hour before supper, offer to fix him a drink. (There’s a rather handy, often rather sexist German word drachenfutter - dragon food - that refers to a gift given to placate a monster. Just FYI.) Sling a lot of ice into a shaker, add one part agave, two parts lime juice and three parts tequila, shake well and serve with a couple of ice cubes and – if it’s not too fussy – a wedge of lime.
He’ll claim not to want it but the prospect of a free drink will win him over after a minute or so. And after that, you can sit back and rest assured that your stock will never have been, nor ever shall be, higher - world without end, Amen.