Or, “Everyone Should Just Be Vegetarian so as to Make My Life Easier.” Or, “Why Is It Always So Awkward Introducing One’s Lover to One’s Extended Family?”
So my Grandpa’s 8oth birthday celebration is coming up next weekend, and Grandma of course invited me and Z, who has yet to meet the fam. So I figured, ok- – big, awkward extended-family time back in farmland- – sounds great, we’ll go. But upon further inspection of the hand-written invitation, I realized that the celebration is to be a dinner party at good ol’ Max Dale’s Steak & Chop House. I’m vegetarian, he’s vegan, and this is the kind of place that doesn’t have a single vegetable on the menu and even puts bacon on their french fries (I’m not kidding). Ain’t no Seattle steakhouse with at least some kind of “Asian” veggie wrap or whatever for the pansy-ass herbivores in the family.
The simplest solution- – to go but not eat- – is not an option, because they’ll think we’ve joined some cult and are observing ritual fasting or something. My extended family already thinks I’m some kind of weirdo radical yogi ascetic, which is fine, but I can’t drag my partner down with me. Not so early on, anyway.
So the sensible thing to do in order to save face and not freak anyone out is to call ahead to the restaurant and request veggie pasta or some such thing that they already have all the ingredients for anyway. We’ll be eating, they’ll be eating, everyone will be happy, and hopefully the questions about vegetarianism will be politely kept to a minimum. But I have a feeling no one who works at the restaurant will have ever heard of a veggie-tare-ay-uhn and will completely misunderstand my request. I mean these are people who put cheese sauce on halibut. They’ve got to be a little funny in the head. (Wow- – look at me go. Hey, we can all just sit around and judge each other– – that’s something we all enjoy.) But I suppose I’ll have to take that risk.
What an annoying situation. I know it’s just a couple hours, but when that’s all the time I spend with my extended family in a year, it seems important. I really want to make this work out- – it’s better than being the family outsider who just stops going to birthdays and holidays completely. Or is it?