With all the family gathering together at Christmas, it’s inevitable that you will be asked some of the following questions at least once…
‘Tis the season… for your red-faced Uncle George to nudge you in the back after three too many sherries and ask you if you have a boyfriend yet. Or for Granny to loudly proclaim that your face is gone “lovely and round”, just like your Grandad Billy’s, God rest his soul.
Here are just some of the inevitable painful festive questions from relatives and how to cope with them…
How’s the love life?
This is one usually asked by the smugly coupled up. Try to refrain from firing back with “It’s good, how’s the sex life?” and just smile and shrug. Then, when the timing is right, whisper that you’ve got five Tinder chats on the go right at that moment and you might sneak out any second for a Christmas Day quickie. Ask them would they mind covering for you if anyone missed you during the annual Christmas pudding fire fiasco.
What ever happened to [your ex]?
If you’ve previously dragged a significant other home to meet the extended family, you’d better have something prepared for this one. Because it’s definitely coming. A vague blurb about how you both grew apart and it was all mutual blahdy blahdy is the safest option, but it’s actually more fun to insinuate they went missing and only you know where the body’s buried. Now who’s for more trifle?
When are you going to give us a day out?
If you are in a relationship of any length, then the next question on everyone’s lips will be when you’re going to do the decent thing and have a wedding. If it’s an older relative and you’re feeling particularly spicy you can ask them when they’re going to do the decent thing and have a funeral. Otherwise just tell them about your plans to wed at a very expensive all-inclusive resort in Mexico and that you can’t wait for them to join you. They’ll disappear faster than a cat with the Christmas ham.
Do we hear the pitter patter of tiny feet?
There’s a certain breed of busybody who appears from behind bushes and under beds anytime a woman of a child-bearing age comes within five feet of a baby. “Oh, it suits you, that”, they say, practically doing a fertility dance in the direction of your womb. “You’re a natural”, they cry, as they fumble through your phone searching for your period tracker and your next fertile window. Passing them the baby in the manner of a scrum-half should get them to reconsider.
Shouldn’t you be saving?
Self-gifting is one of the best parts of Christmas. But nothing will take the lustre off that new luxury handbag or nifty gadget faster than your dad pointing out that you really shouldn’t be spending any money if you plan on getting a mortgage in the next 150 years. As much as you love talking about house prices over your turkey and stuffing sandwiches, it might be worth mentioning that to really put some serious cash away you could always just move home. And of course you’ll need to bring your cat. Watch him change his tune sharpish after that.
Is that the fashion nowadays?
Deciding what to wear on Christmas Day is enough of a head-melt without Auntie Beryl choking on her cube of Wenslydale when she spots you in your extremely on-trend wide-leg, backless jumpsuit. As if she wasn’t following Paul McCartney around in a white leather miniskirt and knee-high boots when she was your age. Simply whipping out the old reliable family album and reminding her should be enough to make her eat her words.
A second mince pie? Are you sure?
There’s an unwritten rule in December that you simply must indulge in as many ways as possible. If that means literally blending a mince pie into a milkshake, and adding Bailey’s, then it’s hardly your fault. In the event that some miserable dose catches you in the act and says anything to the effect of “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” just point out that you’d rather die fat and happy than miserably policing someone else’s food intake, thanks very much.
Hasn’t feminism gone too far?
This will inevitably come from your sleazy Uncle Edward. Uncle Edward’s greatest fear – that women are no longer afraid to speak up – has now been realised, but don’t let that deter you from telling him feminism won’t have gone too far until he’s been stuffed into a cannon and fired into the sun. He needs to hear it. They all do.
The Importance of Being Aisling by Sarah Breen and Emer McLysaght published by Penguin is out now