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Every week, we give our readers a glimpse inside the mindset of a guy's brain on weddings with the help of the hilarious and smart editors at The Plunge. For their latest installment, they're sharing a guide of good (and bad!) talking points for your first holiday dinner with your new in-laws.
Even if we've met your parents before, the first Christmas dinner with them is the first time they're meant to take us seriously as "the guy." It's an interview, and as with any big interview we've got roughly 30 seconds to make an impression. That's not much time to convince your parents and family that we'll be a stable provider, faithful husband, good dad, respectful son-in-law, contributor to society, and most importantly not a jackass at Christmas dinner.
To help your man survive this all-important first impression, here are some of those good and bad points.
Good Point: "I've heard so much about [insert family tradition we've heard all about but will never understand]. Can't wait to see for myself."
So your family likes to sit around the table and sing off-key Norwegian Christmas carols? Well pass the eggnog and watch us sing our merry little non-Norwegian faces off! "Skål!"
Bad Point: "Doesn't [insert name of their precious baby daughter] look sexy?"
You want us to be sweet and complimentary but some of us will have to be reminded there's a line when it comes to PDA at the Christmas feast. No tongue. No flirty ass-slaps. No dry humping on mom's dishwasher.
Good Point: "That's a gorgeous [car/flat screen/your dad's favorite new piece of guy crap]."
The key is to subtly admire it at first, then bond over our shared manly interest (mostly by nodding along while he goes on about horsepower, BTUs, or whatever).
Bad Point: "The whole country's going to hell in a hand basket. Thanks a lot [insert name of politician our future in-laws surely voted for]!"
Politics are just too risky. Even if we did vote for the same guy and are on the same page 99% of the time, what about that 1% of difference?
Good Point: "Hey, [insert sibling's name], I heard you [made the team/made parole/insert accomplishment]."
Don't neglect the siblings in favor of the parents. It doesn't matter that we don't care about tennis. Your sister does, so we want to know if she likes Whatshername Something-Ending-In-"ova" for Wimbledon.
Bad Point: "Nice house. What's your mortgage?"
Whether we have it or need it, financial matters are a no-go topic. (The one exception being wedding-related money conversations, but that's a whole other bowl of eggnog.)
Good Point: "What's the secret?"
Asking advice is one of the great ways we can win over the future family. It flatters without kissing ass, it's a better conversation starter than chatting about the weather, it hints at our respect and courtesy, and it might actually be helpful.
Bad Point: "[Anything even tangentially related to sex]."
If we're watching Game of Thrones and our new father-in-law starts chuckling and elbowing us when Khaleesi starts doing Khaleesi things, all we can do is awkwardly sip our beer and hope the moment passes. Danger! Do not engage!
Good Point: "I agree with [insert name of their little angel]."
Holiday dinners inevitably feature arguments or conflicts, and taking your side every time is just a good look for us. Once it blows over, your family will recognize and appreciate our unrelenting support for you. Plus, there's really no room for disagreement when we're sharing your old twin bed.
Bad Point: "Oh, we're never having kids!"
Regardless of how we feel about the issue, all parents — yours and ours alike — want grandbabies. Don't crush their dream, but maybe put it off. You're sure to make a good impression this Christmas so there's always next year!