Oh man, where the hell do I begin?
I love my husband’s family. To make a long
gay story short, it took a few years before I was successfully a part of of his family—attending weddings, gatherings, holidays and any other event a family does together. It was not anyone’s fault, it was complicated. But it’s all in the past now and has been for about 4 wonderful years.
Let me set the stage: Joe’s the baby boy of the oldest sibling from a very Catholic family of 8. That makes 7 sets of active, engaged aunts and uncles, 5-6 of which we see pretty frequently. Lots of cousins, spouses, in-laws. It’s a pretty large, loving family.
I often joke that I am the closest thing this family has to a black/jewish/disabled family member—you know the one that’s decidedly different. And to be fair, that’s completely inappropriate. I’m way worse than any of those examples for this family.
Oh, it’s not the “gay thing”. They don’t really seem to care about that. It’s my weird, dark sense of humor and my mouthy mouth. Poor Joe’s mother and grandmother, they’re always finishing my sentences with “Oh, Ben…” and “Now Ben…” and “You’re terrible…”
And for the most part, I’m pretty well behaved around them. What they mostly get is the stuff I can’t seem to control. For you see, I have this weird brain-to-mouth connection problem.
My brain thinks something terrible/inappropriate/dark&twisted and my mouth says “Say no more, I’m on it…” and BAM! It goes out unchecked. Often funny, but rather unchecked.
I’ve suffered with this all my life. I should really start a charity.
Ok, back to my point. While there are certainly darker-horse family members who wildly appreciate my verbal stylings and sometimes contribute their own wealth of madness, for the most part Joe’s family is pretty kind and lovely and sedate.
Oh sure, I will hear the occasional teenage war stories. You can’t be one of 8 siblings growing up in the 60’s & 70’s and not have some great adventures, but time does tame the wild beasts.
So when Joe’s youngest Aunt Beth excitedly asked me “Oh my gosh, are you having one of your new drinks?” with wild wide eyes and this crazy look of anticipation? I didn’t know what to expect.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Several folks in Joe’s family like to have their fair share of drinks. Mixed, wines, beers: they’re not Amish.
But I was not expecting her to bring out a fully chilled bottle of Jäger. And I was certainty not expecting her to bring out shot glasses.
In that very moment I was simultaneously happy, shocked, amused, proud and at one with the universe. One of my very favorite things in life is to be surprised/amused by something I would have never anticipated.
A dog that speaks, polite urban youth, Diet Dr. Pepper tasking like regular Dr. Pepper… you get the point.
So this was pretty badass and I was pretty pleased. And while I’m sure people were poised to be amused by my anticipated reaction to Jäger, I was aware that it tasted like black licorice. And I just happen to LOVE black licorice.
Oh, Jäger. Of course it has this thick, sweet strap of black licorice but with hints of leather and burnt cola. Its intense with it’s rich sting of alcohol and coats your throat nicely. There is this almost lemon cola finish that’s sticky sweet.
It’s tasty, strong, robust. I understand why one might think that a virgin would shudder at it’s taste, but for me it was everything I hoped for and then some. And I appreciated the black boot kick to my sinuses. I was very happy and I’m looking foward to future Jägermeister based cocktails and drinks.
The family was pleased. While I could tell they wanted me to flinch—and I did, I am human—they were excited I liked it. It made me even more normal to them. And their contribution to the Adventure made them more normal for me.
Not that there were problems before with normalcy, but now I can officially say—with only a little irony—that alcohol brought me even closer to my catholic in-law family. In moderation of course. Like any visit with me, always in moderation.
PS: My first sets of Ohio-based firstdrink Adventures is about to come to a close with tomorrow’s final post: a margarita with our Aunt Peggy. I’d been looking forward to that drink for a while. You should be too. Until then…