Or should I say, parents meet the parents. We are looking to squeeze in one more event of the season for 2010, because frankly a shotgun wedding just wasn't enough this year. I feel like I should begin by offering a disclaimer that I am not (really) withholding information from you, nor am I about to announce that I am getting married or, forbid, pregnant. There will be no talk of babies gracing these digital pages (not that there's anything wrong with that) or gratuitous shots of small doughy beings with disarmingly pleasant smelling scalps. Was that too much? Maybe I should have used "heads" instead of "scalps," which veers into the field of vocabulary employed by psychopaths in my mind.
Mama and Papa Geisha are coming to town, despite the song saying it will be Santa, and what would a visit to Tokyo be without an awkward cultural encounter with their daughter's pseudo in-laws? I am throwing them into the deep end. Let me also preface this by saying that I will be translating the whole damn thing, despite briefly considering asking my only cool Japanese girlfriend (OCJG) to come along and help, offering her a free meal and a front row seat at what is bound to be a fun cultural shit storm. I plan to start sculling wine as soon as we sit down and when I get so drunk I start babbling at my own parents in Japanese, I will simply tell everyone to talk amongst themselves and go out into the cold December air for a cigarette.
Talk of this dinner has been happening for over six months now and is about to reach fever pitch. Dotting this timeline, we have changes in attendees, discussions of attire and gifts and, perhaps most importantly (aside from my own personal meltdowns), who is going to pay for it all. I've been running so hot and cold as to think I am pre-menopausal when it comes to who will grace our fair dinner table. We had initially said the parental sets and maybe Baby Daddy and then of course during the summer, the beau had to go and invite Baby Mama (and Baby Mama's baby), which, despite all odds pointing to her obvious attendance, I cannot seem to rationalize or think about without getting riled up. I know that she is more family than I am at this point, but while everyone is telling me the baby will be a welcome distraction, I can't help but see it as a distraction from me. As in a distraction from me and my party.
Have I mentioned I know I'm crazy? I am pretty much resigned to the situation and haven't thought about asking Baby Daddy to just bring the baby for at least ten days now. It's all about the small steps. I have however, come up with a new reason I don't want Baby Mama there: who is she to share in my special family time? I can only guess at what will actually be said during this upcoming dinner, but I don't think BM deserves to be privy to it. Cue a few sentences where I tell you just how much I realize this is petty, unfounded and completely wack. BD is a doll for the most part but this Japanese girl I hardly know attending my dinner has caused me to exhibit some embarrassing behaviours in front of the beau. Luckily, he already knew I was a queen. I promise to try and be a good drunk and not let something snarky slip out about not being in a pregnant rush to get married.
The beau's mom called us a few weeks ago and started grilling him on what to wear and what kind of dinner, specifically, we were hosting. We tried to impress upon her that it was a casual affair and that I didn't want them bringing any extravagant gifts for my parents. Apparently the protocol changes depending on whether we are calling this an Official Engagement Party or a lower cased introduce-the-parents-party. The words and greetings exchanged also change according to category and despite explaining that my parents wouldn't know what the hell was being said to them in any case, the beau's mom insisted that we define it for her.
Talk about international negotiations. We have the beau trying to placate his mom while I am trying to discern whether she will listen to him on the omiyage front at the same time running interference with my parents. It's really the gesture that counts, so I have given instructions to bring a small assortment of delicacies from Vancity, which will be appropriate whether the beau's parents bring something or not. I also had to explain to my mom that there isn't a set "exchanging of the gift" time or ceremony where it all goes down simultaneously with flash-bulbs going off, so there is no need to plan on bringing an incognito bag to hide the gift in case it isn't reciprocated and we-don't-want-to-embarrass-them-or-make-a-huge-cultural-gaff. I'm tired, are you?
The one issue I thought we had agreed on came to a grinding halt during one of our nightly conversations that take place when I am practically sleep talking and the beau has returned from work. We really need to put a stop to these 3am conversations. When we initially talked about who would pay, I suggested that everyone just put money in, unless this would offend the beau's parents for some reason. I can't have my parents pay for dinner and drinks for 8-10 people and I wouldn't necessarily expect the beau's parents to pay either. The beau said either his papa would pay or we would ask everyone to give us money. Fast forward to 3:12 a.m. and when I confirm this agreement, the beau says he/we will pay for it. There were a whole lot of noyouwonts thrown around and then just for good measure, I started in with that I wouldn't have approved BD and BM coming if I had known we were going to pay for everyone. Illegitimate sister-in-law-hood problems aside, that's just fucking stupid. Let's go to a beach in Thailand instead stupid. I don't want the beau paying because ultimately, that means I will be paying too. Lord knows what is going to happen when we get the check but I'm hoping everyone quite literally starts throwing money at us.
Everything else, my controlling personality will have to leave to fate, or the other people sitting at the dinner table. There has been some talk of me receiving (his) mama's engagement ring, which we have never seen, and having it put into a new setting. It's kind of crushing to think how good the beau's parents have been to me and how it potentially could have turned out so horribly different. I'm hoping if she does bring it, there will be none of it at the table because wouldn't it just be my luck to be told to try it on and struggling to just get it on my pinky like a foolish motherfucker (while chanting in my head "just get it on whitie, you are a strong, powerful woman"). As a wise friend once said, old diamonds tend to be small diamonds, and I would also like to be spared the throat pain of getting all high and whiny in effusive praise for something that may put me off second-hand gifts. Either way gentle readers, it promises to be a smashing evening with the potential for disaster!