For all the years I’ve been dating, for all the years my brothers have been dating, there is this annoying little glitch in our family circle that has yet to be overcome.
My parents hate all outsiders.
No no, I’m serious. Gloom and Doom hate anyone and everyone of the boyfriend/girlfriend genre. And frankly, they can be quite obnoxious about it. They are very dismissive of anyone who we bring by for an introduction. My brother had a therapist who likened our family to a cult. Don’t believe me? Think I’m exaggerating? You’ll see. Take for instance when I was dating a man who lived in Queens. He was Greek, so I figured it was safe to introduce him to them.
Velvet: Mom, this is Billy.
Mom (Gloom): Hi Bill. Nice to meet you.
It’s subtle, but it is there. The name abbreviation. Get it? They tolerated Billy, he was at least allowed in the house. But the others? Oh boy.
For years this insanity required my brothers and I to “sneak around” with significant others. But then you get to be in your early 20’s and you’re like, “Shit, I have a job, my own money, what the fuck am I doing?” So you foolishly tell Gloom and Doom that you met someone by the name of AtlantaBoy and that you are in love and are going to move in together. You are met with stunned surprise, then something along the lines of “You have proven yourself to be the biggest disappointment of our lives.” Everyone resumes their respective sneaking around, to which Gloom and Doom are wise, and say things like, “You kids don’t tell your parents anything!” But they have yet to realize that we don’t tell them because it is the same old routine every time.
Gloom and Doom boycotted my older brother’s wedding to a non-Greek. Of course there were other reasons why, but I guarantee that if my sister-in-law’s maiden name was something-opolous they would have been there. My oldest brother dated the sister-in-law who got away and she was sure that Gloom and Doom would like her because “no one’s parents ever disliked her.” Poor thing. She was wrong. I went through the cold shoulder / he’s not good enough / we’re going to pretend he doesn’t exist mentality for 6 years with AtlantaBoy. My brothers didn’t fully understand it until it happened to them. After some discussion, we all came to the same conclusion: It’s a Greek thing. Greeks are extremely ethnocentric. Even among other Greeks – if you were from the “wrong” island, my Grandmother would not be seen speaking to you. I guess Billy wasn’t from Crete. Shit, what did I know? I thought I was doing good because his last name ended in -giannis.
So you may find this hard to believe since we’ve all been living, breathing, reading and shitting Sherlock since July, but, Gloom and Doom haven’t heard a peep of his existence. Until Friday. I had this grand plan to tell my mom all about it, to drop the word that there’s a boyfriend and it’s pretty serious. But, somehow, I ended up on the phone with my dad and my mom wasn’t home. He was clearly bored and in the mood to talk. The conversation went something like this.
Dad: How are Sammy and Thora doing with the cold weather?
Velvet: They are okay. They don’t like it too much, but they get by with shorter walks.
Dad: You aren’t leaving the balcony door open for them now are you?
Velvet: Well, not today. It’s 15 degrees out there. And they aren’t even home anyway.
Oops. It came out of my mouth faster than I realized. I hoped he didn’t hear me, because he really has selective hearing, but that didn’t happen.
Dad: Where are they?
Velvet: Well, I was getting ready to tell you and mom this. There’s a boyfriend now, and it’s pretty serious. Anyway, Sammy and Thora are with him today.
Dad: Which guy is this?
We launched into a back and forth with me dispensing the details and my dad jumped on Sherlock’s company website and started looking around. Then he said something that sounded like he might actually be impressed by what this company does. Whoa. This is unprecedented.
Dad: So, how did you meet him?
Not seeing the point of lying at 33 years old, I said, “Match.com.” I also briefly considered trying to validate it by mentioning that my oldest brother met the sister-in-law who got away on match.com, but they didn’t like her either, so no sense in poisoning the well.
Dad: What did you say it was?
I repeated myself. He repeated it back to me, wrong again. There I am, sitting in my office screaming “MATCH DOT COM! MATCH, LIKE YOU ARE LIGHTING A FIRE WITH A MATCH.” Awesome. There is silence. I can hear the wheels turning in his brain. I imagine him looking for my profile. I contemplate directing him to some other profiles I know of on match. Then he speaks.
Dad: Ha! That sucker! You dumped the dogs off on him?
That was basically the end of it. Now, I know what everyone is thinking: “Wow. That went really well Velvet. Maybe Gloom and Doom aren’t so bad.” But, you would be wrong. For, if OlderBrother and Oldest Brother were comment numbers one and two on this post, here is what they would say:
OlderBrother: Why are you bothering me with this shit? I hate them. They didn’t come to my wedding, and besides, we had another baby last night, “cutest baby in the world number deux,” and thinking about them not knowing their grandkids just pisses me off. You just wait, you’re going to get the “WE DECIDED” phone call in a few days: “We decided that Sherlock is an alien homophobe who hates Greeks and wants to annihilate the entire population, and has three wives across the country who he’s supporting as well as several kids. And he’s probably 50 and an alcoholic.”
OldestBrother: Yeah, wait till Dad tells Mom and they develop all their conspiracy theories on Sherlock. They will come up with something ridiculous about him that they can use to tell you that he’s not right for you, then they will say that there’s enough time to get to the Greek Church on Sunday and meet someone. I don’t know why you tell them anything in the first place.
That’s about how I expect it to go. I told my OldestBrother on Friday about the above conversation and he said, “You know, when this is all said and done the only person in this family they are going to be speaking to is a dog. Sammy.”