Awkward holiday questions

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“Pass the sweet potatoes, dear. Speaking of, is there a special man in your life?”

As irrelevant as one’s love life is to tasty Christmas side dishes, these conversations are unfortunately unavoidable for a college student with a prying family during the holiday season.

When leaves on the trees start to turn brown, curiosity begins to stir in the minds of extended family members, and the need to bring a significant other to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner grows more urgent.

Everyone has experienced that awkward family meal, where more tension is in the air than yummy scents from the steaming piles of food on the table.

While Grandma slices the turkey, one might feel the urge to fabricate a precautionary and fictitious story of an imagined engagement, straight A’s and plenty of savings in the bank.

All of this is absolutely false, but seemingly necessary when a barrage of personal questions follows the green bean casserole. As each dish passes around the table, the danger of being discovered single increases. “So who is the lucky guy?” usually comes with the first course of supper. “Single and ready to mingle” doesn’t satisfy the grandparents, aunts and uncles or cousins.

Instead, to answer this one, a prepared script comes in handy because making a name up on the spot might be hazardous. “Fill Glass” can deceive the old folks only so many times, regardless of how deceptively clever it seemed at first.

Why am I not dating anyone? Grandma, if I knew the answer to that, we could both live happily ever after.

“When do you plan on getting married? I’d like to see some great-grand kids one of these days,” may come next if the conversation grows exceedingly risky.

Suddenly, the food begins to taste even better, and one might decide to shovel macaroni and cheese with a muffled, “Sorry, my mouth is full,” to avoid the inquiry.

After the unavoidable romantic advice comes the mashed potatoes with a heaping helping of “What have you been learning in college?”

Since I have been taking a relentless series of final exams, all the information is still fumbling around in my brain-dead mind, making it almost impossible to choose just one thing.

“I don’t know,” is the natural yet forbidden reply. A collegiate scholar needs a much more intelligent answer.

Instead, “the importance of higher education” or “the value of money” usually passes as adequate responses.

The next course: dessert with a side of “What are you doing after college?”

Of all the awkward questions, this one takes the cake —or the pie, depending on which your family prefers during the festive months.

I don’t know what I’m doing after college, and I doubt that any of my classmates do either.

But this unsatisfactory answer cannot quench the information-hungry stomachs of my family members.

There is no five-year plan, I can barely keep up with my assignments for one week. As Mom clears away the dishes, the investigation dwindles, and if you’re lucky, you’re off the hook.

College students, beware. Whether that means hiring an actor to pose as your holiday date or fabricating a tale of false love, be prepared.

Author: Katelyn Holm

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