Turkey Day Q&A

Sometimes it seems like all it takes are twenty-something years, a real-world job and a couple of kids of their own to make adults forget what it’s like to be in college.  While your parents and siblings might come to College Hill for Family Weekend, Thanksgiving is when many of us get to see everyone else — aunts, uncles, uncle-fathers, cousins, grandparents, family friends, half-sibling’s-uncle’s-brother’s-wives and the like.  Your relatives are bound to be curious about your life, but sometimes their questions go a little too far.  Here’s how to field the dinner-table inquiries that leave you at a loss for words.

“Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”

  • If you have one and want to share, or if you don’t have one and don’t care: answer briefly and honestly.  Lucky you, getting off easy on this one.
  •  If you have one, and don’t feel like discussing it with people you see once a year: be honest if you’d feel guilty lying, but don’t volunteer any other information – that will just welcome more questions.
  • If you don’t have one, and do not appreciate the reminder about your loneliness: collapse sobbing into the sweet potatoes.  It’ll cause quite the awkward moment, and everyone will rush to start bothering your brother about his SAT scores instead.

“What are the parties like at Brown?  Do you get drunk a lot?”

  • If your family’s cool with that: take a sip of whatever alcohol is closest to you, raise your eyebrows, and say, “College, right?” with a hearty chuckle.
  • If your family’s definitely not cool with that: stare at whomever asked the question incredulously until another adult steps in with a more appropriate topic of conversation.
  • If you don’t party or drink: be honest.  Depending on their habits, your family may or may not judge you.

“My daughter’s sixteen and she really wants to go to Brown. You can get her in, right?”

  • If you’re in a helpful mood: admit that you don’t have any pull in admissions, but offer to give her essay a read.
  •  If you’re feeling like trolling: remind your family of Brown’s acceptance rate (preferably in a less douchey manner than Harvard did), and then flex your creativity muscle by listing allll the crazy things you may or may not need to do to get into Brown.  They’ll get bored eventually.

One important thing to remember – we’re pretty much adults now, too.  If you’re presented with a question you really don’t want to answer, feel free to ask your curious relative something similar.  Ask with confidence, and after a good stare-down over the stuffing they’ll probably get off your case.

Disclaimer: answering anyone in your family’s questions in a snarky manner may or may not win you a lecture from your mother about respect.  I’d say the memories these answers will create are worth the chance.

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3 Comments

  1. snarky

    You could also address all three questions at once by raising eyebrows around the table with exorbitant lies (at least, that’s what we tell ourselves).

    Do you have a boyfriend?
    >>I prefer to sleep around and go home with a multitude of boys. I feel that I am actually undermining the dominant social norm and achieving greater equality by letting people get it in Wednesdays post-Whisco, Thursdays at Salon, and Fridays and Saturdays after the sports events. I believe I am actually honing my “type” – at the moment I prefer men in grandma sweaters and orthopedic shoes.

    Do you get drunk a lot?
    >>How do you think I facilitate my sexual activity? Putting out is facilitated by underage drinking

    Can you get my daughter in?
    >>Ever since I showed up to the presidential search forum completely sloshed and recommended John Krasinski for president, I’m not sure Jim Miller is thrilled with my references – you might be better off pretending you actually don’t know me at all.

    And in this way, you’ll show them just how filthy Ivy League can really be.

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