No Way Will My Teenager Bring a Date to Thanksgiving Dinner

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Nov. 27 2013 8:09 AM

Teenagers Are Bringing Dates to Thanksgiving Dinner? No!


Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Horrible holiday trend alert! NBC reports on the breaking news that some high schoolers are bringing dates to Thanksgiving dinner. Is this a new thing? Is it growing? Unclear from the report. But the more pressing question is: Why would teens—who under normal circumstances could not be more embarrassed by their crazy relatives—wish to initiate their dates into their family rituals? NBC spoke with a family psychologist in Maryland who explained this bizarre teenage behavior:

“What he or she is saying is, ‘Does this family have the capacity to demonstrate some elasticity or flexibility as I and my siblings begin to move out in the world, or is this going to be an airless dungeon in which we’re all consigned?”

So on this day that we give thanks for our blessings, some offspring are testing the limits of the airless dungeon that is their family by asking that guy from chemistry to swing by? Or are spreading their wings by rejecting their relatives and being grateful for the presence of other people? People who had nothing to do with changing their diapers or reading The Runaway Bunny to them 245 nights in a row. People who, if the tables were turned, would probably not stand for this.

A few disclaimers: Some kids need a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner, and we should all open up our homes to welcome them. And some tribes just eat insanely early, such that an attached teenager could conceivably squeeze in two festive meals—one with his weird uncles, and one with his girlfriend’s weird uncles. (You probably cannot get enough weird uncles.) There’s nothing wrong with maximizing the amount of celebration/turkey one can cram into one’s Thursday/mouth, so long as one also pays due diligence to Grandma.

But the rest of you high-schoolers need to suck it up and spend Thanksgiving with your family. You may feel drunk on a wondrous new thing called romance, but chances are your relationship isn’t that serious. Meanwhile, your ancestors have set apart one day in the calendar for appreciating what you have—not what you will grope for a few magical moments in a movie theater before she leaves for college. I mean the constants. The stalwarts. The people you will depend on as you grow old. We have Christmas for starry-eyed expectation, for swooning, romantic possibility. We have Easter or Purim for hope. We have Valentine's Day, Sweetest Day, prom, homecoming, and every Friday and Saturday night for dates. Thanksgiving exists to examine and express gratitude for the truest foundations of your life, and to unzip your pants while watching football. Why any teen would wish to have their significant other present for that is beyond me.

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.