Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My family really wants me to meet a Jewish guy. A part of me wants to make them happy, but another part of me doesn’t want to restrict my pool of potential partners in that fashion. I know if I introduce my current boyfriend to my parents that they will freak out and the prospect of dealing with that exhausts me. Is there any way out of this situation or should I just accept I’ll be happier with someone my parents will accept?
You seem to subtly be suggesting that your parents are racist. This is a serious charge, one that you will want to assemble as much evidence on as possible. What was your parents’ reaction to the murder of Eric Garner? Do they like hip hop music, especially Chance the Rapper, or do they find his approach slight and substanceless in comparison to more prescient cultural critics in the African-American community? Do they own a copy of Between the World and Me and do they keep it in a place of prominence in their home?
Once you have the answers to these crucial questions, it is time to move onto a set of peripheral questions revolving around your parents’ reaction to other stimuli, including Call Me By Your Name and the innovative fiction of Clarice Lispector. You will have never gotten to know your parents so deeply: their inner desires, their total net worth, and their desire for the phallus in your life to be either circumsized or a reasonable facsimile of the same.
You should be with whoever you want. If your parents can’t accept it, explain to them using the theoretical context of Husserl and Deleuze why they should. Anyone can be convinced of anything over a long enough timeline. You may experience frustration at first, but if you can get your parents to actually engage and see the positive aspects of your boyfriend’s personality and physical attractiveness, you will probably be OK.
Also, are they aware that gentiles can convert? Sure, a Christian can never truly become a Jew for the main reason of why would they want to, but they can pretend, and pretenses are clearly hugely important to your parents. The concept of preserving any genetic purity is a disturbing one. Harp on this a lot.
Illustrations by Mia Nguyen. Access This Recording’s mobile site at thisrecording.wordpress.com.