08 September 2007

Rooting For The Heroine

A.K.A. (Not) Eating the family for the first time.

You thought walking into that cellar, with the six-inch cast iron door magically sealing shut behind you, and finding your arch paranormal enemies, Master Fang, Fido McWhirlter and Donald Djinn waiting for you inside was the worst moment of your life…

…you were wrong.

Nothing in this world is more terrifying to an elite paranormal romance hero like yourself than meeting…them. Yes. The most dangerous moment of a hero’s life (aside from pissing off the heroine) is meeting the heroine’s folks and learning her family roots. When asked to lay the table, do you lay the table or do you lay the table? Should you go lap a pint with dad, or howl over baby photos with mom? Is it okay to lick her sister’s neck just for fun, and did little Henry really just shoot you in the butt with his BB gun just to see if there were fishscales under the pants?

Well, never fear, Agent Double D3’s soul searching, turn you inside out before your lover does research is all you’ll ever need to know about those family pool parties, blazing barbecues and pernickety picnics; Here it is Agent Double D3’s guide to Meeting with the family for the first time.

Agent Double D.3 reports:

1. Vampires
Formal parties are a dream for the well-dressed vamp. With everything nicely separated out on the ten place dining table with named place cards and sixty five different Vampires:pieces of silverware to identify and use. Well, just explain to her parents that wearing surgical latex gloves is essential while you eat, owing to a high allergic intolerance to anything hard, shiny and silver. Remember, in this situation you will likely be seated between the mother and the eldest sister. Sniff, discreetly, if you must but, please, no licking of the neck or wrists—at least not until everyone’s had at least three rounds of brandy/margaritas. It is also essential to familiarize yourself with your lover’s room and location within the house early on in the meeting, and return to your cellar/coffin /cardboard Big Bird box before morning. It may have been great sex but having everyone find you in the morning, dead, in little sister Missy’s room will not go down too well at breakfast.

Informal— Time to throw off the designer clothes and kick back with something a little more casual, yes, blue denim jeans and the I ♥ blood T-shirt can work for a backyard Barbie (the grill idiot not the girl and, no, you can’t bite it.) Force yourself to buy some of those cheap plastic garden chairs several weeks before the meeting and practice, with friends, lounging on them in the garden. They do kinda break real easy so try to keep the lounging to two or three per chair okay? Practice popping the beer can with your fingers, you’ll need it to start with at least, and learn to talk in good old boy lingo about the cubs, and the Oreos (not the things you dunk in your milk, no.) Hell, once the party is in full swing and every one has had a can or ten then you can do your party pieces like drinking two cans of beer at once—one through each tooth. Now’s the time too, when you can go back to popping the cans with your fangs… Under no circumstances stay the night, the temptation of that many warm, alcoholically available necks if far too strong. Have your lover reserve a nearby hotel, say, fifty miles away, for that extra special after Barbie love-in.

2. Werewolf
Formal— Time to brush up on some smarter habits and matted fur, uhm, hair. Take a wee peeka and make sure the moon isn’t anywhere near full, you want it as new as you can get it. Newer if possible. No family wants to invite a hairy uncouth stranger into their home, let alone allow him anywhere near his daughter’s bed. Which, by the way I forgot to tell you, you’ll be sleeping in the servant’s quarters with Rusty the octageneric butler on guard. This close to a new moon the silverware shouldn’t give you any problems, other than sticking yourself in the eye with it. If you are so out of practice with culinary utensils that this happens don’t scream, hold your eye and bang your head against the table. Try to be casual and lassè fâire about it. A simple, “Oh, yes, this is nothing. You should have seen the time I bit my tongue off in Canberra…” Families of this ilk admire this kind of breeding in a prospective husband. Remember too, not to tear huge chunks of steak from your plate but to gently slice it with the steak knife and nibble. Nibble is nice, as your lover will certainly show you in bed that night when she nibbles her appreciation on you.

Informal— This is the party dude. Were’s live for the informal “let’s throw another log on the Barbie” meet up. So this is your chance to shine and show the family just what a good guy you are. Just remember though, it is considered most impolite—and your beloved will show you another meaning of “hot dog”—if you paste BBQ sauce all over her relatives. And restrain yourself, at all costs, from marking your territory by peeing on any rock, house, tree, drunken relative, that has the misfortune of not being able to move. Not only will this shock and or amuse the ladies present, but will probably start a challenge amongst your beloved’s brothers, and really, she truly doesn’t want to see those! Instead, sneak her away to a cozy little cabin you happen to know about and come back in the morning to carry the comatose in-laws-to-be back home.

3. Ghosts
Formal— Just like being back home, once again laird and master of your own castle. An informal setting will give you a chance to flash your charms (I said charms) and introduce yourself to the delightful group of people you will soon know as family. There are just a few useful pointers to observe to ensure that the dinner is a success. Firstly, don’t walk through the table. Having your transparent crotch pass over the roast beef isn’t a pleasant sight at best, at worse you’ll end up freezing the poor thing so no one can eat it. Handling the cutlery may present a problem, be inventive, demonstrate to your beloved’s kin the delicate art of chomping the food directly from the plate. Keep a napkin handy though, and at no time allow anyone to see the gravy dripping through your beard. After all, you’re a ghost not an animal. Then after the brandy—yes we all know you can empty the bottle without even opening it—retire to her room for a long steamy night of togetherness because there’s a very definite chance you won’t be invited back again soon.

Informal— It’s enough to make the old bones shiver, except you don’t have bones let alone old ones. Now before you have a fit of sleepless nights and ghostmares just take a deep breath and say to yourself, “informal is our friend.” And remember these folks are interested in meeting you, so you won’t need to take that five-foot-long 300 year old claymore, for company. Note also, that taking possession of Uncle Bertie and making him do a Groucho Marx impersonation will most likely be frowned upon. So hey, relax and do what you do best—chill out. With luck the place will get so cold everyone will go to bed early leaving you and your lady love to your own devices, buzzy ones included.

4. Invisible man
Formal— Get out the bleach, starch and steam iron those bandages and deep wax the shades dude. Don’t let yourself down by having threadbare bandages trailing through the béchamel sauce. Also, stick to the liquids like soups. Trying to suck filet mignon through a straw really does suck, well, sorta. If any one should be rude enough to ask why you walk around all the time covered with bandages and dark glasses, just be honest with them. Let them know you that before you escaped from the high security government laboratories, they infected you with an insanely contagious skin disease. The bandages are merely there to prevent bits of flesh dropping off as you walk. The glasses help to prevent the light damaging your now supersensitive eyes. Ignore the screams and sudden disappearance of anything vaguely human in range and take a romantic moonlight walk with your girl back to her bedroom.

Informal— Informal, alas, doesn’t mean you can come with your ketchup stained sweats and nicotine covered bandages. Come on dude, freshen up for the lass, at least you can wear the sweats with mustard stains make them match. After all, five beers into the first conversation and no one will even notice. This doesn’t mean you have the right to strip down and play party tricks with the family. Aunt Maisy might not know who picked up her drink and poured it into Uncle John’s but you can bet your bottom bandage your beloved will. So take it easy, let the party grind to its own alcoholic end, and do what you really came here to do. No, not wipe out grandma Hettie and grab the inheritance, well, not yet. The bedroom, dolt, get your see-through little ass in there with your girl this minute before someone decides to paint you blue in the true sense of the word.

5. Merman
Formal— Formal is good, formal means no chance of pool party, spilled beer, being thrown in the creek. Though, of course, the family still may want to meet about the pool. Aside from having the lower half of your body from the naval down encased in quick setting latex it might be advisable to avoid taking a quick dip with the family. Make sure before you arrive to leave any stray seaweed at home, and please don’t wax melancholic about Aunt Josie when marlin steaks are served for the fish course. That half-circle overlapping rainbow design on the scales isn’t unique you know—at least 1 in 65 million merpeople have it. Just grit your teeth, explain about your allergy to fish, and start making plans of just where and how you’ll spend the night with your beloved. Oh, go light on the brandy. No kin-folk like their baby girl to go out with a guy who drinks like a fish.

Informal— Do your very best to get your sweetheart to arrange a formal meeting with the folks. This is for your own protection. Since you’ve met the lovely lady of your dreams your luck has had you closer to the fish filleting knife more times than Emeril Lagasse says “Bam!” So if you don’t force the issue and happily agree to attend an informal meet spend that two thousand dollars at the truck repair shop having your lower body sprayed with latex. Because, being a merman, it will be a pool/river party. And trust me, if you don’t go for a quick swim with the others, brothers Jeb and Hank will make sure you do. If the informal option is forced on you, make sure your mother phones you two minutes after you arrive and calls you home for a family emergency. It is an emergency—it could be the only thing that saves your life.

6. Incubus
Formal— Wear smart but very loose pants. You know how slinky those evening dresses are and the last thing you need is your beloved seeing you ogle her sister’s pale globes of cleavage and having, well, the usual effect on you. If it does, make sure you sit close to the table, but try not to embarrass everyone by raising the table by eight inches, okay? Not to mention it might spill the drinks and spoil a very good coc-au-vin. (And, no, that is not something the love of you life will try on you later—unless she keeps seeing you ogle her sister, of course.)

Informal— Lay back, enjoy the beer, wait for everyone to pass out. Now it’s the time for lurve. Just, uhm, make sure you are picking up the right lass, okay. If you wake up in bed with the wrong woman in the morning your incubus may end up incastrated.

7. Djinn
Formal— Okay, so you’re used to a formal family meal consisting of a hundred silk liveried servants—per family member. All these slaves catering to your every need from delivering the roast pheasant in sherry sauce to slicing it and placing it teasingly on your tongue. Get real! Do you know how many greenbacks that would take? Not to mention servant cooties all over your grub. No sirree, this is the modern world. Our food comes pre-packed ready to eat. Every bite safely prepared in our roach infested factories while being pummeled, sliced, pinched, stirred and breathed over by no less than a thousand greasy, unwashed child slave labor imports from the third world. So try and appreciate the effort your beloved’s kin have expended in attempting to make you feel at home with their cheap 30% silver silverware. After all, not everyone used to be a Djinn to a Sultan. Besides which, I’m sure your beloved will find some wonderful ways to reward you, with a little help from the sherry sauce…

Informal— Djinn, like weres, are born to party, so party on! Just a wee warning, go light on the magic pul-leese. Picking up your sweetheart’s six year old niece and tossing her six feet in the air before catching her may make her squeal with delight. Her sixty-six year old grandmother will probably squeal with something else, most notably after she’s applied a #16 bolt cutter to your nether regions. So if you want to be able to make your beloved squeal later, think before you blink.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.


PS from Carolan: I hope you'll all join me in wishing SJ a speedy recovery!
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