“Are You Still Single?” Or Why I Don’t Go Home For Thanksgiving
I was 12 the first time my aunt asked me over Thanksgiving dinner if I had a boyfriend yet. Twelve. I was two years away from my first “official” date, and six years away from losing my virginity on the bottom bunk of a dorm room at Keene State College. So no, Auntie Franny, I don’t have a boyfriend. A month later, over Christmas dinner, she asked me again, and then again over Easter dinner. And she’s been asking me ever since. I’m 34.
Through the years and the too many family holiday dinners that have followed, I have been able to answer in the affirmative about six times.
It was the Thanksgiving when I was 23 years old that this question arose: “Are you still seeing that guy from last year?” The answer was no. However, I wasn’t about to leave it at that. I was sick of my aunt, my grandmother, my cousins, the Born Again Christian aunt on my dad’s side and the rest of my extended family asking me that question. It wasn’t just the question itself; it was the fact that it was the only thing they ever asked about. My sister, one of those gals who was perpetually seeing someone, was never asked about her relationship status. Instead she got ones like: “You do realize studying English means you can only be a teacher, right?” I would gladly have answered that stupid question instead. “I Got Dumped Two Days Before Thanksgiving”
That was the Thanksgiving I decided to shut them all up. Did I have a boyfriend? No. Why? Because I’m a lesbian, of course! I remember the sound of my mother’s fork hitting the plate right before she told the table I was kidding. I followed up with: “No, I’m not kidding; in fact, I eat vaginas now and I loveit.” My grandmother, the good Catholic, seemed confused (I’m not sure she knows what “lesbian” means), my sister and father laughed into their napkins, and everyone else just stared in silence and shock. It seems when you tell a table full of relatives you have a new taste for the luscious Pink taco, you shut them up in a heartbeat; not because we’re Republicans or anything creepy like that, but because it came so far out of left field and involved a reference to oral sex — GASP!
My mother verbally reprimanded me later that day for mentioning the consumption of vaginas while people were trying to dine on their turkey. She claimed it was in bad taste and I commended her on her pun. More importantly, no one dared to ask about my relationship status for a long time after that — not until I turned 30, of course. However, at 30 I had matured (slightly) and had learned to keep my responses on the slightly less vulgar side.
As this Thanksgiving rolls around, I will be staying home, in my beloved NYC. While my plans are still up in the air, and I’m not sure I’ll attempt to make my own turkey like I did last year, I know it’s best for me to avoid the inevitable family drama and just get the highlights later from my dad. Yes, I’m singleduring the holiday season again, but apparently, I’m the only one who isn’t concerned by this. I guess I never got the memo that life is all about having a boyfriend. Damnit! I’m always the last to know.