Whether they’re in the comfort of your own home or in the immeasurable discomfort of a college d-hall, meals with your parents are inevitable and awkward. After months of collegiate independence, the onslaught of one-on-two time with the pair that raised you can be disorienting. Because fake-texting is taxing, FM’s got you covered with a distracting dinner-time questionnaire to help you figure out: what meal are you at with your parents?
01 When are you eating?
a) So early that your roommates still haven’t returned from last night’s party.
b) You’re missing your adviser’s one office hour for the whole semester because your parents are eager to see “what the kids are eating these days!” at Tasty Burger.
c) Your parents insist on dropping their stuff off in your room during a pregame.
02 Where are you eating?
a) Annenberg: All you can eat for $13.75!
b) Henrietta’s Table: Hope you made those reservations when you matriculated.
c) Grafton Street: Because who doesn’t want their dad to ask them if they want their “first sip of beer,” accompanied with a conspiratorial wink?
03 What are you eating?
a) All of the eggs. And the bacon. More coffee, please.
b) A salad. Mom’s concerned you’re not getting all of your vitamins. She clearly doesn’t know about the life-extending properties of resveratrol (conveniently found in the box of red wine under your bed).
c) A cheeseburger so you can convince Dad you haven’t become one of those “vegan-types,” as the result of a liberal arts education. But apparently you don’t keep kosher anymore.
04 What’s the conversation?
a) Courses: “Mom, of course having to retake LS1a only means I’ll be better prepared for the MCATs than my peers.”
b) Social life: “I really only joined The ____ Club for the alumni connections, I swear. Did you bring my dues?”
c) Summer plans: “I’ve been offered the chance to build homes for those who have next to nothing for eight weeks in ____. It’ll be great for my resumé, and the program only costs half as much as my tuition.”
05 What are you wearing?
a) A onesie. No explanation necessary.
b) A crisp crimson sweater emblazoned with Mom and Dad’s favorite consonant. You’re embarrassed it screams fresh-outta-the-Coop; they love it for the same reason.
c) A maxi dress—passes Mom’s morals and covers your Mather Lather outfit (or lack thereof) underneath.
06 What do you do after the check is paid?
a) Slink away to actually get some homework done…. In bed.... With just a quick nap, alarm set for 15 minutes, seriously this time….
b) Drop off your parents at an OCS workshop. You’re busy, and those cover letters won’t write themselves!
c) Let your parents crash on the futon. You can take the hotel room.
Mostly A’s: Take a shot of espresso (try to forget about the eight of Rubinoff last night), peel off last night’s clothes, and head out into the bright, bright, oh God when did the sun get so bright, light of the morning: You’re having brunch! Enjoy being grilled about What You’re Doing With Your Life, Young Man while you try to figure out how you chipped a back molar.
Mostly B’s: You’ve had a little time to wake up, take a shower, and straighten up your room: It’s Mom and Dad lunch! After tagging along to your 3-person tutorial, they’ll take you out to a satisfying non-HUDS meal in return for the Third Degree and an enthusiastic tour of the Yard—no Mom DON’T TOUCH THE FOOT! REMEMBER LAST TIME? Be judicious in your complaints; if you moan about never sleeping more than six hours a night, University professor X may have a nice note in his mailbox about lessening the workload by lunchtime the next day.
Mostly C’s: They’ve meekly joked about spending the night in your room, you’re hoping to spend it absolutely anywhere else: It’s dinnertime. Enjoy an hour, or two, or three, at a swanky Cambridge haunt while they sip cocktails and your iPhone counts down the minutes until you’ll be downing Natty Lite amidst sweaty bodies in a sticky basement. Ah, one day you’ll understand why college is like nothing else.