It has crept up on me and surprised me at the last minute! Oh my little American Singles, it is the dreaded day of turkey doom, that day upon which you will be asked by random relations you see but once or twice a year the perfidious question: So, dear, do you have a boyfriend yet?
The rules of this game are very simple. You have to pay attention to all references to your long-term single state so that you can report them here. Obviously you are on your honour here, so no padding. Just counting.
And then reporting! Because the best part of the American Thanksgiving Singles Survival Game is telling us all in delicious detail what your Aunt said and then what your Uncle said, and then what your smart-aleck cousin said after that.
In past years readers have reported their own variations on this game, including in-house competitions between sisters.
The beauty of this game is that (like grace) it heals and elevates the stupid So, dear, do you have a boyfriend yet? questions and Don't worry, you'll be next remarks into POINTS! Feel free to bring a piece of paper and pencil to the table. Actually, put a pencil and paper in your pocket right now because sometimes relatives can't walk in the door without immediately saying "So, dear, do you have a boyfriend yet?"
SCENE: A charming family home in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, nestled between cornfields. Ceramic dwarves stand frozen on the lawn in mid-gambol.
The doorbell rings.
Mom: Dear, can you answer that?
You: Okay, Mom.
You open the door and behold on the doorstep Uncle Billy and Aunt Jean from Chicago.
You: Hi, Uncle Billy! Hi, Aunt Jean! Come on in.
Uncle Billy and Aunt Jean come on in.
Uncle Billy: How's my girl? (He seizes you in bear hug.)
You: Great! Ouch!
Aunt Jean: Now, Bill. Leave the girl alone. Let's look at you. My, my. How time does fly. (Her voice sinks.) We must have a proper chat in the kitchen. I want to talk to you.
Uncle Billy (loudly): Uh, oh. Girl stuff. No men allowed!
Aunt Jean: Now, Bill. Don't you start. (Her voice sinks again.) Honey, I read this column in Better Homes and Gardens about Single girls and it made me think of you. Hold on a minute, I'll get it from my purse.
You: I'll be back in a sec.
You rush to your room, seize a pencil and a piece of paper and write a big, thick /.
Mom (yelling up the stairs): Honey?! Why aren't you helping your uncle and aunt with their coats?
Mom: I don't know what's gotten into that girl.
Aunt Jean: Well, apparently Single girls get a little funny during the holidays. It's the pressure of family expectations. I read about it in Better Home and Gardens.
You write another thick /, making your tally //. You feel a thrill of early victory. It's only three in the afternoon: depending on what's happening on the East Coast and Florida, you could be in the lead!
Uncle Bill: Don't be silly, Jean. There's nothing about that girl a good boyfriend wouldn't solve.
You: I'm coming! Sorry, Aunt Jean.
Aunt Jean: That's okay, dear. I'm all right and tight.
Uncle Bill: She's all right but not yet tight! Where's the punch? It's party time!
Aunt Jean: Oh, Bill. (She turns to you.) Now dear. Into the kitchen with you.
Uncle Bill: Uh oh. Here comes the grilling. Give only your name, rank and serial number!
Aunt Jean: Oh, Bill. Really, that man. You just wait till you're married, hon, and then you'll understand what we all have to put up with.
Let the games begin!