Calm down, I'm not advocating incest. I'm merely suggesting that some of the same identity-obscuring, affect-flattening nostrums found in modern dating guides can be useful when interacting with Grandma, Uncle Ted, and that one cousin who always wants to talk about guns. Sure, you could watch the 1950 short "A Date With Your Family" (above) to learn about how it's your duty to dress attractively for your male relatives (ew?). But for more up-to-date advice, check out the following tips:
1. Don't talk about yourself too much.
Personal information — like your political views, religious beliefs, or the fact that your name is not actually "Becky" — shouldn't be revealed until the second or third date with your family. Or better yet, not at all. You know the old rule about letting a man talk two-thirds of the time, while you talk one-third? This works well for your family, too, except that the two-thirds portion should be filled by the television.
2. Don't try to cook anything new or complicated.
You know how the way to a man's heart is through a simple yet delicious man-brisket? Families have similarly conservative tastes. This Thanksgiving, my mom made a pie with whole-wheat crust. Three aunts and six cousins broke up with her right away. Don't let this be you.
3. Just agree with everything anyone says.
Many great relationships have ended because of superfluous opinions on the part of the woman — and these opinions can be just as damaging to a family gathering. Instead of saying what you actually think, simply smile and nod, or at most say, "Interesting!" Will it really kill you to pretend you don't believe in the moon landing? No, it won't.
4. Choose inoffensive entertainment.
People have different tastes, and as a woman, your job is to satisfy all of them. Just like a romantic date, an evening with your family isn't about what you want to do — it's about what's least likely to piss off someone else. Family-friendly films include Miss Congeniality, Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous, and any biopic that does not involve drugs. Family-friendly music includes nothing.
5. Don't talk about healthcare reform.
This one should just be obvious.
These tips may seem difficult to follow, but over years of subsuming your true thoughts and feelings, they will become second nature. And once you've mastered them, you too can land a family who loves you for who you pretend to be.