Life
by Chaps McGinty on November 28, 2013

But this is not an article about which holiday is best. This is an article about the questions asked by well-intentioned aunts, drunk uncles, and family friends during Thanksgiving break. Here are some of the worst.

How’s work? What is it you do again? It sounds so interesting!

These are exciting times. Many jobs held by young adults didn’t exist thirty years ago. Maybe you produce #digital #content. Maybe you ensure social media is seamlessly integrated across company platforms. Maybe you sell handmade wooden briefcases. This is all well and good.

Unfortunately, you’re required to explain to people that believe that are three normal jobs—lawyer, doctor, and banker—what you do. These people think email is a tremendous invention, and they believe that Apple company sure knows what it’s doing. Do not talk to these people about your internet job.

Are you dating anyone? Is there anyone special in your life?

I’m perpetually single, so I’ve never brought a girl to Thanksgiving. But I imagine it’s filled with thinly veiled questions about marriage, fluid exchange, and future frat stars. This sounds like a great way to ruin Thanksgiving.

I have dealt with questions about my dating life, even though “dating” isn’t something our generation does. I don’t know what it even means, but my conception is it’s gallivanting around on dates with regularity, and that sounds expensive.

It is, however, hard to be honest about my personal life. There are many things that I don’t want to disclose and many things the asker doesn’t want to hear. I don’t think my mom, aunt, or family friend wants to hear about blackouts, unprotected sex, and the shame and confusion that accompany blackouts and unprotected sex.

I once made the mistake of sharing the name of a one-night-stand. I established a small back-story with dates and “there may be something here” to indulge my mom. While this may seem to be a good idea, it sets up awkward “So, are you still seeing Liz?” and “Wait, who’s Liz?” conversations in the future. Keep these small fabrications clear in your mind.

How’s New York? Where are you living again?

Fact: 20 years ago, everything in New York between 14th street and Wall Street was literally on fire. It was wholly unlivable. Which makes it fun to inform old people that you live in the Lower East Side. They assume that you murder 10 homeless people nightly to get home. Thankfully, it’s only one or two.

They also inform you of the expensive things they do when they visit NYC. Oh, you had an exquisite dinner at A Voce and then caught show at the Met? I struggle to pay rent and pay $7 for Bud Light bottles. Thanks. Now I feel like shit.

So, what are your plans for the future?

We’ve established that these people don’t actually know what you do, and, deep down, don’t believe it’s an actual job. Now come the questions about the future.

To me, the Baby Boomer generation had a much clearer path to success. Go to college, go to business/law school, get a job at a good company. Our futures are much less secure. Job availability and security are lower, and people don’t work at places for more than five years. So planning for the future—and thus speaking coherently about it—is not an easy task.

The good thing about these conversations is that the other person really doesn’t care. It allows them time to reminisce about their youth, and they ignore your answers. That’s why I just lie. You should do the same.

View Chaps' archive here.

[Thanksgiving dinner image via Shutterstock]