Every Thanksgiving, college students across the nation make the trek home to see their parents, wash their clothes and stuff their facemouths with mashed potatoes that DON’T come from a box. Even at Northwestern, where we get a whole 48 hours off from midterms to give thanks, many students make their way back to their homes for the Halfway To Christmas Feast.
As joyous an occasion as The Presentation of the Beets is, there are dangers at Thanksgiving too. In particular, statistics show that your family is probably heinous. As with all heinouses, all you need to survive is a little research, preparation and willingness to sit in stony silence for five hours.
Here to help, we’ve got a handy guide to a few characters likely to be sitting around the T-Giving T-Able this holiday season.
- The conversation dominator. This person has something to say on everything. You started feeding your cat a new brand of food? He once played golf with a cat food executive! Beat him by 12 strokes! Your aunt just got promoted at work? This guy once got promoted just for winning a round of golf! Your dad recently had surgery on his elbow? That’s gonna hurt his golf game, eh? It’s always fucking about golf.
- The overeager grandparent. To listen to this doting septuagenarian, your recent string of midterm failures, awkward hookups and weight gains are all sure fire signs that “you’re going places, I can tell you that much.” Always quick with the compliment, this grandparent will make you feel slightly uncomfortable as they ignore your clear cries for someone to help you get your life back on track. But that shiny five dollar bill they give you will certainly help pay for some Ben and Jerry’s when you drop out :D.
- The kid with the new phone. Time to mupload everything!!! Everyone smile!! Of course he can send that pic to your uncle, hold on it’ll just take two clicks. He knows, it’s so fast! Yeah the screen is really big, huh? What’s amazing is the picture quality though! Oh you still have a Nokia? Huh. He didn’t know any carriers still had those. Well, he’s sure it makes calls just fine. Does your phone send texts too? That’s cool. Can he Instagram a pic of your ancient phone?
- The one other cool cousin. If you’re lucky, there’s the one cousin who’s about your age and clearly hates everything as much as you do. You can survive dinner by silently texting with this cousin about how little you care about golf and plotting to steal a couple of Michelob Ultras and sneak off to chug.
- Squanto. Isn’t it annoying that your parents make one of the kids dress up as the Native American translator from the first Thanksgiving and try to bridge the divide between the two sides of the family? Like, no one wants to learn a traditional Native American prayer of thanks and wear a headdress. It just seems over the top, honestly.
- The baby. Look, don’t me get wrong. It’s not that I don’t like babies. It’s that I hate babies. They’re so dumb. Babies literally can’t do anything. Think about it: everyone’s passing the sweet potatoes around the table, and when you try to hand the dish to your 3-month-old cousin, he lets it fall all over him and scald his hands. Then he’s crying and pooping and not even apologizing for his error. But you better believe that as soon as there’s a camera out, he’s gonna be posing adorably, rather than acknowledging his undeveloped motor skills.
- The awkward boyfriend/girlfriend. This one can come in a variety of fashions. It may be a high school cousin demanding that their boyf of two weeks be invited over for the most intimate of family uncomfortableness. It could be the middle-aged divorcee bringing the newer model of your favorite uncle. It could be the 80-year-old widower showing of his 75-year-old widow girlfriend. Regardless of the situation, it will be painful for all involved. Just try to remember his/her name, k?
With this knowledge under your belt, you are now well equipped to realize that you’re going to have to pregame the living shit out of The Feast. And just remember: no matter how hard you try to avoid it, everyone will still ask you why you don’t have a boyfriend and if you’re gay yet. Enjoy!