Like any good girlfriend I try to impress my boyfriend’s family as much as possible. Helping in the kitchen where need be, not swearing or smoking or drinking too much. Basically the exact opposite of how I actually live my life! The festive period is no different. If anything you have to be on better behaviour as there will be a gaggle of family members all waiting to converse with you. One or two family members is fine, that you can handle. In laws mum and dad is doable, its when there are 18 family members, wives, girlfriends, kids, dogs and the dogs kids all waiting to see if you embarrass yourself!
My biggest fear and always has been is not so much being caught smoking or swearing. Its having one too many Chardonnays over dinner. Not having enough carbs with dinner as you ate carbs on Wednesday and then bitterly regretting it. After a few glasses of fizz and picking at carrot sticks, feeling light-headed you then proceed to suddenly think it’s a good idea to tell your boyfriends mum how good in the sack he really is! Getting drunk in front of the In Laws is like getting drunk at your Christmas work do. Mortifying. You have this glowing report in front of his family, sweet, kind, well spoken and a bit on the shy side, until you neck too many snowballs. Note to self, stick to a 3 drink maximum throughout the whole evening, gorge on the buffet Barbara has prepared and try not to flirt with his dad too much. Don’t wear anything too short or tight and run the risk of getting unwanted attention from his uncle or dad (especially after a few advocaats).
Once you have managed to stay sober and grope free you just need to managed the types of conversation which are going to be thrown at you. Remember your boyfriend isn’t going to be with you the whole evening so you need to know how to hold your own without him holding your hand. I find that the general topics they will throw at you will be about work and family life. If you’re in a job you hate, don’t tell them that as they will wonder why you haven’t don’t anything about it. When asked do you enjoy working for the call centre at age 30? Politely tell them that while there is a recession on you feel lucky to even have a job at all and that you are pleased to contributing to society in these tough economic climes.
When you swap gifts and you are presented with a size 16 dressing gown from M&S, smile politely and tell her that you may be able to fit into this after Christmas. Remind yourself to not get her another bottle of Chanel.
One topic of conversation which will defiantly get thrown at you (especially if your boyfriend is off talking to his weird cousins), is the subject of marriage and babies. This is dependent on how long the two of you have been together and weather you have been drinking too much earlier in the evening or not. When approached with ‘so you’ve been together a few years now any plans to have children or get married?’ It’s like the dreaded question when neither of you are planning anything like that! You can never give them the answer that they want to hear. Yes we are planning on having a baby in around 6-8 months and to have a wedding before that so as we don’t have a bastard child. What you really want to say is, F-off were happy as we are thank you and there is more to life than soiled underwear and having your make up tipped into your Mulberry bag. Giving up your independence for the next 18 years is not something you would generally like to plan and if you wanted to do it then you would have done it by now. But instead you tell them it’s something you’ve talked about but you’re not planning anything just yet. You then have that conversation with your boyfriend a few weeks later and ask why after 4 years of being together there’s not even been a mention of a ring.
With all this under your belt his family will be putty in your hands. With any luck they will love you as much as he does (some more than others!). Just remember to stay sober, eat the food provided and smile sweetly at the stories which are being told! No smoking, heavy drinking, shouting or falling down! Behave like a lady at all times and things should go smoothly and save the scrapping for New Years.
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