You’ve already met the parents. Now that the holidays are here, it’s time to brave the extended family. If you’re attending your partner’s Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, don’t worry – this handy field guide will help you identify all the relatives you’ll encounter in the wild.
Druncle (or Draunt)
Beer. Wine. Vodka-infused turkey (yup). Sure, everyone drinks a little bit at Thanksgiving, but Drunk Uncle – and his equally boozy counterpart, Drunk Aunt – drinks a lot. She’s ready to share a lot of unsolicited, controversial opinions that you probably wouldn’t be hearing about if she were sober. Don’t make any sudden movements, and avoid eye contact at all costs.
The Mysteriously Unsupervised Child
Whose kid is this, anyway? He scoops the marshmallows off the sweet potatoes with his bare hands and licks a deep divot across the homemade pumpkin pie you schlepped over, all while maintaining direct eye contact with you. No one bothers trying to control this apparently feral creature. Are you even part of this family, Mowgli, or do you belong to one of the neighbors? Note to self: It’s time to double up on birth control. (Sitting at the kids’ table, by the way, is the most effective form of contraception known to man.)
Engagement Guilt Grandma
She knows, she knows – you two haven’t been dating for long, but you’re such a cute couple. She can’t help herself! Now, don’t make that face. She doesn’t have too much time left on this earth. She’d just like to see her favorite grandchild get married before the Lord takes her. Maybe a great-grandbaby or two. Is that too much to ask?
This guy never bothers to introduce himself, so you’re not exactly sure who he is. Somebody’s cousin? An in-law? But one thing is clear: he came to eat. He’s already staked out a prime place at the table an hour before dinnertime – actually, for all you know, he could’ve been sitting there for days. You don’t hear him utter a single word to anyone as he scarfs down three pounds of mashed potatoes and the entire contents of the gravy boat. Then, in a blink of an eye, he disappears, later to be found snoring in front of a football game.
The Executive Chef
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The Executive Chef has been waiting 365 days for this moment. Don’t bother trying to help – what could you possibly contribute? – or engage this person on any conversation topic besides Alton Brown’s dry-brined turkey recipe. Whatever you do, don’t offer anything less than a rave review of the meal. This is the best goddamn food you’ve ever eaten, and don’t you forget it.
He won’t remember your name, but you can’t really blame him, considering he doesn’t remember his, either.
Let’s be clear. You love your significant other. You have no intention of cheating on him or her, but. But. Damn. Shuffle a few genes here and there and you’d be dating your partner’s taller, funnier, silkier-haired but otherwise eerily similar Hot Cousin instead. Meeting this person is like entering The Twilight Zone, if everyone in The Twilight Zone were incredibly charming and attractive. But don’t get any ideas – Hot Cousin’s way out of your league.
The only Thanksgiving allies you can truly count on. Go ahead, sneak the dog a little dark meat – we won’t tell.