Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I brought a guy home for dinner...


Last week I brought the guy to my parents' place for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I extended the invitation, as bringing men home to meet my folks isn't something I do. In fact the last time I did it was probably close to ten years ago, when I was dating the Big M, which means my poor dad probably thinks I've been alone for a decade. (No wonder he tries so hard to find me a nice fella at church...)

Anyway, It was too late to waiver about the meeting; I had already invited the guy and told my mom and dad that he was coming. There was no turning back, this meeting was going to happen and my whole family was going to be there for it.

I sat at my parents' place waiting for him to text that he had arrived. Assessing the situation: My dad, in his red pyjama bottoms, had already put my brother-in-law to work installing his new PS3. The kids were running around like little maniacs, my mom was happily cooking in the kitchen, and my grandma was telling my sister and I a story that was a little bit daring, a little confused, and entirely not real.

Then, he texted: "Here."

This is it, I thought.

I went to meet the guy in the lobby of my parents' condo. I think we were both a little ill-prepared for this introduction. But it was happening in about five seconds, so I gave him a quick rundown of what was what:

Family dinners are not formal for us, we use paper plates, and today is no exception. 

My grandma is lovely, but her filter has been worn away by dementia. She will probably say things that don't make sense, or that will come off as completely rude... Just go with it.

My folks don't drink, so there is no wine, hard alcohol or beer to take the edge off and make this any easier on any of us. 

There is a very good chance that the dairy products my mom is serving could be expired. She has no qualms about best before dates, she sees them as a challenge that she ALWAYS accepts.

My family...We're great people, but we're kind of quirky. 

While I was trying to be helpful, I think I freaked him out a bit.

Oh well, no time to dwell on it...

We walked in, and everyone stopped what they were doing and turned around to look at us.

"Mom, Dad, Amma... This is the guy," I said.

"Oh hi," my dad said, introducing himself. "Are you the guy who knows all the Jets?"

Silence.

Me and the guy looked at each other and my brother-in-law glanced up from installing my dad's new PS3... My sister and the kids even seemed to stop dead in their tracks.

It was probably about three seconds of silence, but in that time I made things more awkward than they ever needed to be. Feeling slightly uncomfortable, yet completely amused, I started shaking my head awkwardly and making a gesture with my hand to my neck to indicate for my dad to abort the conversation.

"No, that's not me," The guy said.

"That's a different guy," I offered.

"Oh," said my dad. "Well, nice to meet you anyway."

We all had a good laugh about it.

In hindsight I realized that I made the slightly awkward situation more awkward by being dramatic. In my defence I am new to this whole introducing people to my parents. I didn't know what to do.

After the guy met my dad, I introduced him to my grandma... about six times.

"What's your name again?" She'd ask mid-conversation.

"The guy," one of us in the room would respond, to which she would shake his hand, carry on her conversation, and ask his name again a minute or two later.

At one point my grandma told the guy his eyebrows were big, like her dad's eyebrows.

"But he took care of that," she said, alluding to the fact that the guy didn't.

Oy.

When it was time to sit down for dinner, we took our places and my dad said grace.

While I can't really recall the entire conversation that ensued over dinner, I do remember at one point my grandma told me that I should unzip my dress so I could eat more. And I remember the baby ran around like a two-year-old maniac, pulling all of the condiments out of the cupboard in the kitchen and bringing them to the table.

"Would you like some syrup with your turkey?"

When she got bored of that, she crawled under the table to tickle people's feet. She was joined by her sister soon after she started, and both girls took a shining to the guy's feet. He was a good sport about it, managing to continue eating his dinner, while the kids invaded his personal space.

When my sister made the girls return to the table, the little one defied her and just kept on doing her own thing, while the kid, who happens to be the pickiest eater in the world, returned to her spot. She managed to choke down about four bites of her entire dinner, finishing well into dessert.



At one point my dad got up to get something, and my grandma randomly asked if he had gone to the bedroom to weep.

What?!

Shortly after, when my dad returned to the table, my grandma stood up and proclaimed to all of us that we eat too much sugar.

"Yeah, we probably do," someone said. "We probably do."

After she made her proclamation, my grandma sat down and finished eating her dessert.

I suppose if there was a way to describe this Thanksgiving dinner, it would be like something out of a National Lampoons movie: Bizarre and hilarious, and the guy made it through like a champ.