This past Saturday night, Boy
RoommateFriend met the family. (Why, that’s a premise you could shape a Ben Stiller movie around!)
My family has a remarkable way of dealing with new significant others. Mum, in particular, has a knack for staging these so-called Events. When she can’t lure you into the trap of an alleged birthday party,* she resorts to emotional blackmail.
So, she invited the two of us around for a family birthday dinner on Saturday, impressing the importance of the evening with an appeal to familial bonds so simultaneously sincere and full of shit that she could rival the greatest rhetoricians.
When I finally called back the next day to confirm that Boy
RoommateFriend was indeed coming, she admitted that it was not really a birthday dinner after all, but (as had been advertised to the relatives) Meet Gregg Night.
So, believing that, come Sunday morning, I would find myself either newly single and/or disinherited, I survived the dreaded anticipation by telling myself that “at least there’ll be a good story at the end of this.”
But, alas, there isn’t. It went off without a hitch.
I don’t have a great story.
Yes, I know I received texts to the effect of: “Can’t wait to read the blog post!”
So, to you all: I am sorry.
I prepare myself for the worst, not for things going well. Thus, I don’t really know what to do.
Not that there wasn’t the potential for hilarity. Half the family were hungover. The other half were drinking. Dad had a pulled muscle (tragic curling accident). The Boy stripped himself of his pants and spent dinner jumping up and down on the couch with his widgie in his hands.
These were all plot points I fully expected to tie together like a Christmas bow at the climax of the evening: the proverbial gun introduced in the first act, the delicate chess pieces shifting slowly around the board, waiting to move in for the kill.
It’s just that they came to… nothing.
Nothing at all. No racist tirades. No baby sicking up all over everything. No uncle pointing out who has tiny ears or receding hairlines.
My sister even arrived late, bearing a huge flat of fruit from the zoo. It wobbled beneath her weight as she carried it up the stairs. I mean, honestly. A giant flat of fruit. If you were watching at home, by the end of the night you’d expect that fruit to be splattered all over the walls.
Rather, there was a frequent refrain of how nice Boy
RoommateFriend was, how tall, funny, etc, etc. The word handsome got tossed around more times than I think healthy for his ego.
I honestly think they were all just shocked I’d done so well and didn’t know how to react. I honestly believe this. So, I guess if you catch them off guard, their knee-jerk response is civility.
That, or they expected I would die alone, and thus were doing their absolute best not to scare him off.
*I’m now convinced that my entire twenty-sixth birthday party was a ruse to get the family out to meet my sister’s boyfriend. (This line of thinking was also encouraged by the fact that Mum completely forgot to tell me, the alleged Birthday Girl about said party until the day before.) Sister and her Boyfriend had only known each other two weeks and he arrived in the middle of a drunken menagerie of miscreants, where, due to unfortunate circumstances delaying the end of her work shift, she hadn’t even shown up yet. In the ten minutes between his arrival and hers, he bore witnesses to a drunken Ashleigh bailing over the baby gate; the solemn, horror film-esque stares of ten silent, male relatives; a kitchen full of a dozen gossipy, drunken female relatives; a moth fluttering through the kitchen resulting in shrieks, flailing limbs, and broken glass; and, in all her glory, Mum.