Tuesday, 19 November 2013

American Singles' Thanksgiving Survival Game

Let us turn our eyes to our American sisters, for [NEXT] Thursday is their Thanksgiving Day, and many of them will find themselves deep in the bosom of their extended family being asked if they have found a "special fella" yet.

From my uncle's death until my nephew Pirate was a few months old, my family was entirely blue- and green-eyed, and we used to play this terrible game called "Everyone Stare at the Brown-Eyed Person." Perhaps in some subconscious attempt to add genetic variety to our family, my brothers and I dated people with dominant genes and actually brought them home for supper. (My sisters were understandably cagey about exposing their dates to our family.) The effect of having five pairs of blue eyes and two pairs of green boring into them must have been pretty awful for our dominant-gened guests. Deary me. You could have made it into a story about the Nazi occupation of France for children.

Gestapo: Tell us the location of the Resistance, or ve vill stare at you.

Brown-eyed Frenchman: Non! I weel nevair tell you. Nevair.

Gestapo: Ve vill see about that! Gentlemen, prepare to stare!

Frenchman: Non! Non! Not that blindeenng blue Teutoneek glare! Aaaah!

Single people attest that the same thing happens to them on such jolly family occasions as American Thanksgiving. Wonderful Aunt Tilly, who has been smiling sympathetically at her niece ever since she arrived, finally leans across the sweet potatoes with marshmallow dish and says, just as there is a lull in the conversation:

"So, dear. Find anyone SPECIAL yet?"

And then everyone at the table, including her 20 year old married cousin and cousin-in-law, stares at the poor Single until someone kind clears their throat and says, "Time enough for that!"

Then Aunt Tilly says "Yes, indeed," and the most dysfunctional person present says, "Don't leave it too long, though! After all, tick tick tick!"

Oh the horror! And this is a NICE family, where everyone gets along and nobody gets off their heads drunk and has fistfights on the front lawn. (I shall discuss the dilemma of dysfunction tomorrow.)

To help American Singles get through Thanksgiving, I long ago devised a wonderful GAME. It's an easy game. In short, American readers count how many times their relations allude to their Single status and then report their tally here on Black Friday. Obviously this game depends on the honour system. To make it extra fun this year, you have to pledge to join the American Singles' Thanksgiving Survival Game on the poll in the margin. And on Black Friday*, I want a full report in the combox. The game begins as soon as you wake up on Thanksgiving morning and ends when you retire to your bedroom that night.

Incidentally, in the little anecdote above, the Single gets TWO points: one for Aunt Tilly, and one for Mr Tick Tick Tick.

This is our traditional game. Those who want to add a new game, might be interested in the Orthogals' Single Bingo board. Simply print out the bingo board and hide it under the bathroom sink, and whenever a relation says one of the clichés give yourself a point for the bingo AND for the Singles' Thanksgiving Survival game. When you get a chance, mark the bingo board. If you can figure out how to do it, photograph your Singles' bingo board and send it to me by email on Black Friday. Then I will announce who has won Singles' Bingo.

The beauty of the games, of course, is that they turn your relatives' conversational crimes into delicious and delightful points. In past years, sisters have actually competed with each other for the most points, although naturally this competition is entirely passive, like playing the lottery. I bet one could get the edge over another by wearing grey or 1980s-style glasses or anything that might goad Aunt Tilly into saying "You'll never get a fella if you dress like that." However, I am ruling that if this is done deliberately, it is cheating.

*Black Friday, the day after the third Thursday in November (i.e. American Thanksgiving) is the day Americans begin their Christmas shopping in earnest, and so the businesses "in the red" finally turn a profit and are, therefore, "in the black." I encourage readers to post their results first thing in the morning of Black Friday, because I'm on Greenwich Mean Time and will be dead asleep before y'all come home with your loot.

Book News: Great new reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, for which I thank the reviewers from my heart. Don't forget that although women buy most of the novels, men like thrillers, so my novel makes a good present for men and women alike! I hasten to say that Ceremony of Innocence is not for children, as it has grown-up themes, scary scenes and enough irony to build a battleship.

But to paraphrase Saint Francis of Assisi, let there be a 21st Century Catholic Literary Renaissance, and let it begin with ME. ;-)

First Book Update: Oh, and of course Seraphic Singles/The Closet's All Mine/Anielskie Single makes a great gift from one Single woman to another!


Julia said...

What a great idea! If I were American, I would certainly participate, but since I'm not, I'll be an enthusiastic spectator! I can't wait to see what the results are, and Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans!

All American Girl said...

Auntie! Thank you for the game and advance support. And thank you Julia for the well wishes. But Thanksgiving in the U.S. is actually next Thursday. I know. Many of us got it wrong as well. :)

Seraphic said...

But... but...Third Thursday! I counted! Is this an Obama thing? What's going on?

I'd better allow people more time to sign up! :-D

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving) it's always the fourth Thursday...


Seraphic said...


Seraphic said...

I guess I am proving beyond all doubt that I am a Canadian!

Rose said...

It's throwing us all off this year by being so late in the month.

Nzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nzie said...

It was definitively set as the 4th Thursday under FDR. Those Americans who are aware of Canadian Thanksgiving have a benefit of it being the same as Columbus Day, so easier to remember.

I'm going to be home for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2008, and a relative I haven't seen in a while is coming, too. We're not very close with extended family, and none of us ask these questions around the dinner table. I'm almost bummed, because the games look fun. :-)

CR said...

I have shared this with many of my Single friends and we will be playing next week! Although since Ill only be seeing my immediate family (who don't pick on me) at Thanksgiving I will probably hold a round two at Christmas.

Actually, this raises a question. Young women get pestered about their relationship status by well-meaning family members at annual gatherings, but do young men get the same treatment? I don't know because I have no brothers and all my male cousins are teenagers who obviously aren't getting married anytime soon. Do any eavesdroppers or male relatives of female readers get pushy comments about how they should settle down soon from their Aunt Tilly? Because if they're not, it makes me kind of mad that the women are the only ones getting cultural/family pressure to get serious about dating :/

Jo said...

I have found holidays to not be so bad...usually it's extended relatives that tend to pester about significant others, and usually I'm with my far less gossippy immediate family on the holidays. I find I am more bothered not by the fact of their asking about 'special someones,' but that they are asking about that first instead of asking about my job, hobbies, etc. I really do wonder, like CR, if our male counterparts are treated the same (95% of my siblings and cousins are female, so not much room for observation here).

Although this year, I will be with cousins, so we shall see what happens! It will be interesting to compare environments: I grew up in a family where it was highly unusual to bring a significant other to holiday family dinners unless you were deadly serious/engaged. My cousins, on the other hand, welcome any and every casual date.

leta said...

I laugh incredulously and then say "nope" with bright eyes and a big smile. Sometimes I add that I must be too happy and busy.

Anonymous said...

And then there's the situation of being in a serious relationship and having to deal with all your relatives asking "Are you going to marry him?" and "When is the wedding?" The troubles of the Single Girl at Family Gatherings do not end once she has a boyfriend. Alas. Are there others out there who have the same problem?

@CR- I strongly suspect that boys do not get pestered as much. I have asked several of my male acquaintances about this, and generally they have no idea what I'm talking about. But I also suspect that most boys probably don't take it the same way us girls do. Somehow they don't seem to make as big a deal of it, and anything said to them just rolls right off like water off the proverbial duck.


Leta said...

Also, the young marrieds are constantly asked "so... have you thought of having a baby? Are you trying?" Family gatherings are just like that. Everyone in everyone's business, hopefully with kind intentions despite the nosiness. I've decided it's just pretty much just a constant.

Julia said...

I find holidays are sometimes a special temptation to daydreaming. Either I'm having a good time and thinking how Dream Date would be delighted to meet my family and friends -- or I'm feeling moody and imagining how nice it would be to have an ally, or to have something new and exciting and hopeful in my life instead being yet again the odd duck out.

The First Julia (i.e. Australian Julia) said...

Margaret and Leta, I agree that women who have boyfriends or husbands might get pestered also. I think it would be just as bad to be asked questions about a possible wedding or future children as it would to be asked if there's 'anyone special'.

Having said that, I'm not often questioned on my single status, so my tolerance hasn't really been pushed.

lauren said...

My family is great about not asking, so I don't think I'll have anything scandalous to contribute. Plus, there will be A New Baby at Thanksgiving (my sister-in-law's sister's), so I imagine the littlest and drooliest lady will get the most attention. Works for me.

Anne said...

Great idea! Maybe I'll create a vegan Thanksgiving survival bingo, with questions like "where do you get your protein", "can't you have just a little bit", "but plants feel pain too". Would make the holiday a little less stressful. I'm single too, but a widow, so I'm somewhat sheltered from the single comments. It's in poor form to ask a widow "so why are you single?".
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Midwest Miss said...

Can I get points for "make sure you grow as a woman" and " so you never need a man"?

I'm visiting the escaped-bad-marriage, found-new-age-Womanhood(TM) side of the family this year.

Seraphic said...

Ah ha ha ha! No. But if you write up an account with lots of description and direct quotes as if it were a short story I will read it and tell you if I think you should try to get it published.

For comedy potential, it sounds fantastic!

Cordi said...

I think I lost the Thanksgiving survival game, because the only person who made any reference at all the entire day to my relationship status was my three-year-old cousin, who wanted to know if my younger brother was my boyfriend. She also told me that I was the nicest girl in the whole world, so no complaints here! :)

Kate P said...

O.K., I wasn't sure where to post my results, and I know I'm running a little late here--but it was my first day to sleep in for real in a long time!

Maybe I'm getting too old and my family has given up on me--and the fact that my younger sister is now engaged maybe proves their point-but all I got was a couple of needlings from my uncle's (girl)friend: "Didn't you say someone was going to introduce you to a friend? You gotta keep me posted on that." My Maiden Aunt left me alone, which was a blessing because I was dreading her critique of SOMETHING about me (gained weight, not going out enough, my hair looks bad) the entire day before.

So I don't know if that qualifies me for any points, but at the very least I would give myself points for (1) watching my sister snuggle with her fiance on the couch after everyone else had gone home (I mean, I don't begrudge them that, but how nice for THEM); and (2) having observed My Maiden Aunt's flaky behavior, worrying I'll be her in 20 years.