INTRODUCING YOUR PARTNER TO A MALTESE FAMILY

At the latest parish feast, my seventeen-year old niece brought her boyfriend over to her parents’ house for the first time.

A lot of shade was thrown… A lot of hearts were broken… I just drank.

One does not simply bring home a boyfriend to a Maltese family. It all starts with actually telling them of his imminent visitation. This is when the barrage of questions start being fired:

“How old is he?”, “What does he do?”, “What’s his surname?”, “Where’s he from?”, “B’Kara? Which part, imma? Ta’ Paris? Laqxija? Tal-Qattus?”, “What does his father do?”, “Does he do drugs?”

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Then, in the lead up to the big day, your mum will start to self-combust…

“I hope you haven’t had sex yet…” she says as she withholds your dinner as a bribe or a method of torture.

“Does he like imqarrun?” she asks, with so much sass you start wondering if it’s RuPaul hiding underneath her dress.

Kemm int kattiva! Għala għidtlu jiġi meta għadna ma lestejniex niżbħu l-ispare room?” At which point she bursts into tears.

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Then the day arrives, and while you’re on the way to the house with your man, holding his hand and reassuring him that everything will be okay, you also warn him about your family members…

“Aunt Evelyn tends to drink quite a bit at these things… She can get a bit gropey, too… But she’s fun, ta!”

“If my mother offers seconds, make sure you say yes and finish everything…”

“My dad isn’t much of a talker, so don’t worry if he doesn’t answer your questions.”

“Uncle George can be quite racist… Don’t contradict him… Eq, trust me on this one, hux!”

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But you get there, and it’s okay-ish…

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Then, following third helpings of every possible dish and side-dish imaginable, and when you and your boyfriend need a winch to get you off your chairs, you decide to go take a nap.

Itla’, itla’ Paul. Kate, ha nkelmek ġirja….” your mum sweetly says as she pulls you aside. “X’qed tagħmel? Iġġib is-subien id-dar, f’kamartek? F’hiex ġibtna! Kieku n-Nanna Ċensa għadha ħajja int kont toqtolha bl-inkwiet…

But that too passes, and he leaves… And then the judgement hits you like a wrecking ball:

Qed jitfartas…

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Ma tantx jiekol…

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Ma tgħaddihomlux il-ħwejjeġ ommu dan?

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Kellu riħa ta’ Perlana…

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And that, ladies and gents, is why I drink and get gropey at family gatherings.

 

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