>>> The Rollercoaster of Drama
By staff writer Simonne Cullen
October 29, 2006

Thanksgiving, probably the best holiday after Halloween, is just around the corner. Watching football, drinking beer, shopping, what’s not to love? In fact, if college students had to list their favorite holidays it would start out this way:

  1. Winter Holidays
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. 4th of July
  4. Halloween

And by senior year it would end up this way:

  1. Halloween
  2. New Year’s
  3. St. Patrick’s Day
  4. Thanksgiving

It’s kind of like, “Hmm, where did Christmas go? Well, it’s been replaced by St. Patrick’s Day. Sorry Jesus, your birthday is still sort of a big deal, but Pat’s just more organized with the green shamrocks, the beer, and the law enforcement recruitment.”

“Every family has an after-dinner tradition. If the activity involves anything competitive, rest assured, you will lose.”

Every once in a while, the Thanksgiving Day festivities get interrupted by the presence of a new guest. A special guest that for the next four days is part of your family: your significant other. And while the family acts happy to see get to know this person, at least one family member is pissed that he has to wear pants and can’t parade around in his traditional after-meal attire of white underwear and tube socks.

Meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time, especially on a holiday, is nerve wracking. If you’re invited to Thanksgiving it’s a pretty big deal because you know then that the relationship is serious and you’re someone special. And yes, you will be judged by everyone at the dinner table, so be ready.

Guys, here’s a quick lesson on manners: it’s fine to lick your fingers and belch after eating 10 cent wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, but sticking your fingers in the mashed potatoes to have a quick sample is not cool. Especially when you’ve just petted the dog.

It’s so weird when every time you see the mom, she’s there offering you something to drink. What’s even weirder is that you accept the offer even though you’re not the least bit thirsty, but can’t bear her thinking that your rejection of her Brita filtered water is rude. It’s even worse when you’re offered grandma’s special eggnog that tastes more like shrimp cocktail sauce than eggnog.

Listen up boyfriends, you are always obligated to ask if you can help clean up. Afterwards, not only will the woman of the house make a big deal out of this offer, she’ll tell her other children she’d like to see them make a little more effort. But seriously, most moms won’t even let you help clear up the dishes. First of all it’s the good china that’s worth more than the car you drove in on. Second of all, you’d have no idea where the dry platters and silver forks go. Just know that some women expect, and all women appreciate, the gesture.

Isn’t it super intimidating when your girlfriend’s dad is uber rich? So rich that you know at some point, the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous crew has been there? It’s even more intimidating when the butler sets you up in the South Wing of the mansion, unpacks your bags, and leaves you with a map to the dinner room. You know, the little red “X” mark that’s next to the ballroom, adjacent to the maid’s quarters, and just above the dungeon, where rumor has it her ex-boyfriend from high school that broke her heart is currently taking up residence.

Every family has a tradition immediately following dinner. Whether it’s watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, playing a card game, or shooting beer cans off a post in the back yard, you’re going to be forced to participate. If the activity involves anything competitive, rest assured, you will lose. Sophomore year I brought a guy home with me and he was greeted by a bunch of Mexicans screaming, “GOOOOOOAAAAAL!!!!” during a two-hour card game we invented thirty years ago. At one point he asked, “What’s this game called again? Hell?” At which point a twenty-second silence fell over the entire room, followed by an eruption of laughter. Which is good, because the last person to make a casual joke about our traditions was strung up in the back yard like a piñata.