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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Surviving Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year…Thanksgiving. Time for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and, oh yes, family. Family. Which will lead to that big looming question…

“So, are you dating anyone?”

No matter how you answer, it will ultimately lead to more uncomfortable questions, which will silence the room, which inevitably leads to more embarrassment for you.

You could always say, “Yes, I am,” if you are, and try to leave it at that, but that won’t happen.


A hush will come over the crowd, and you will then get, from your prying Great Aunt Nancy, “Well I must say, dear, I’m surprised, especially the hideous way you dress, and that hairstyle!”

Then she’ll turn to everyone, “Kids these days, they get it from these magazines and celebrities.”

Then she turns back to you, “Well, what’s wrong with him? And this must be recent, or else he’d be here. Because that’s not very proper of him to not show up to meet the family on Thanksgiving. No, I doubt it’s very serious. Of course it won’t last. Poor thing, she’ll never get married.”

She takes out a piece of paper and pen from her purse and jots down a note. “Yes, Mrs. Spring down the street just had a litter of kittens, you’d do well to have a cat around. I will get you one for Christmas.”

And with a simple “Yes, I am,” you didn’t even get to tell them about the incredible man you’ve been dating, who is spending Thanksgiving with his family…making dinner for them all. After he volunteers at the soup kitchen. What a guy.

Or it could be that when Annoying Aunt Nancy asks, there is that hush, and everyone turns to you, and you somewhat awkwardly, yet bravely say, “Nope, not at the moment.” Then they all say, “aww,” and knowingly shake their heads, remembering what it was like to be single, and then dig back into their turkey, the scraping of the plates resonating in your head. But not Aunt Nancy. Her squeaky voice peaks out just above the scraping.

“Well, are you trying to meet men?”

“It’s not that easy, Aunt Nancy.”

“Sure it is, just grab one. You’re never gonna get married if you don’t find one soon. You’ll be an old maid.”

She turns to your six-year-old cousin. “You too.”

She thinks hard again.

“Maybe you just don’t like men. I read about that in a magazine.”

She goes back to her turkey. Your little brother snickers.

Or, instead, you could tell her, you’re just casually dating. This will confuse her.

“Casually dating? What does that mean? You wear slacks?”

“It means I’m not committed to any one person. I’m just dating here and there.”

She’s shocked. “Like a tramp!”

Mom steps in. “She’s not a tramp. That’s how people date these days.”

“Not in my day. A man courted you and you were his—“

“Times have changed, Auntie. It’s like this turkey, which is great by the way. You don’t have to pick the first one you see. You can check them all out first, then grab which one looks best to you.”

“Well if you keep doing that, you’re just going to be running from man to man until you’re my age, and no man will want you then!” Everyone hides a laugh, and she sticks a fork in her slab of turkey and starts eating. You hide a smile…kind of winning…but honestly, no one likes to upset Aunt Nancy… she’ll get you back.

If you’re feeling brave, and have hit the wine a little, there are other options to spice up your Thanksgiving table. You can have fun with this daunting question. Don’t live in fear of the “Are you dating anyone?” line, whether it’s your aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparents who ask it. It does often come up, whether in that form, or several others. I’ve heard, “So, when are you gonna bring home a good man for us to meet?” Which isn’t so bad, but awkward nonetheless.

So if you’re brave, or buzzed, have fun with your response:

“He had to spend the holiday with his wife. Lame, right?”

“We haven’t actually met yet…but we share great emails.”

“No, I’m not dating anyone. I’ve decided that I do actually want to become an Old Maid.”

“I am dating someone seriously, but I didn’t want him to meet my crazy family.”

“He’s here, you just can’t see him.”

“I’m going to bring him a plate later during visiting hours at the retirement home.”

There are several options, so make up whatever suits you and your family. Have fun with it. Don’t let the Thanksgiving Dating question get you down. It should be a fun day, not one you fear. Don’t let them be in control. This year, you be on top of the situation. So dig into that Pumpkin Pie, with extra whip cream, and let the games begin.

Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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