The best Christmas parties I ever attended were of the academic breed. In the responsibility vacuum of college, such gatherings are for tacky white elephant gift exchanges, finding the worst sweater possible, and avoiding the mistletoe at all costs because of the creepy guy from down the hall. There’s just something magical about giving toilet paper as a gift and dodging a poisonous branch all while wearing a battery operated light up sweater that will probably electrocute you by the end of the night.
In the semi-adulthood I find myself in, although friends still throw Christmas parties, most of the holiday gatherings I’m invited to are work or family related. Functions with co-workers can be uncomfortable, but they’re nothing compared to family gatherings; everyone remembers you from when you were born and didn’t even remember yourself. It’s not that I don’t love my family, it’s that I don’t love being asked the following questions by everyone I speak to:
- Have you graduated?
- What are you doing now?
- Do you have a boyfriend?
The first question is simple enough; I’m not a 7th year senior or anything so it’s not uncomfortable. I reply that I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Construction Science. After some small talk about A&M and how I miss college, the first question litmus test signals them onward to questions two and three. My answers are apparently disappointing to them so they shift their inquiry. No matter how nice they are about it, this is what I hear:
- What is wrong with you?
- Is this what the rest of your life is going to look like?
- Why can’t you be realistic and get a normal job?
Here’s what I’m thinking:
- I should have just lied.
- Maybe I’ll get hit by lightning.
- Where are my keys?
How I should have answered in the first place:
Q: Have you Graduated?
A:I may have pictures of me walking across the stage, but the diploma I got framed is fake. I got it from the guy who made my fake ID when I was a freshman. Don’t tell my parents.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: My business cards say I’m a Realtor, but I really just work the front desk, stock the fridge, and clean the bathrooms at the office. That’s just my day job though, I’m in a band. We’re totally going to take off soon.
Q: Do you have a boyfriend?
A: Well I’m actually dating three guys right now, I can’t really decide which one I like, but I was leaning towards the ski instructor, but he can’t leave Colorado anymore because it violates his probation so I’m leaning towards the married one with 2 kids. Besides, he’s hot.
That would have made the party so much more interesting.