Tomorrow my American readers celebrate Thankgiving, and it won't be fun for all of them.
Thankgiving is a traditional family day when feelings of disappointment and resentment that one's own family is not perfect bubble up like boiling turkey gravy. To encourage these feelings, there is American football for the men to watch on television while the women cook and clean. And on top of that is the dreaded, "Any boyfriend yet, dear?" question aunts and grandmothers can't stop themselves from asking.
How to cope?
Back in 2006, my advice was not to go and, when your mother said "AAAAAAAUGH" at the news of your non-advent, to say that you are sick of people giving you a hard time for not being married.
I'm not sure how practical that is. However, I must say that I believe firmly in being rooted in reality, so if you have regretted every time you have gone home for Thanksgiving for the past five years, you should probably not be in an airport today. There is no law that says you have to go home for Thanksgiving. There's no law that says your mother has to cook Thanksgiving Dinner. In fact, if you are calling your mother to say you aren't coming, why not suggest she escape the whole thing herself by flying out to you? You and Mom, fugitives together, the men wandering around, reading cookbooks instead of watching football, poking at the turkey to see if it has thawed yet... I'm loving it.
But if you think you can go home for Thanksgiving without accruing an unacceptable amount of psychic damage, then there are still some things you can do. For example, assign yourself a point for every time someone mentions your Single state. The goal is to get as many points as possible without mentioning your Singleness yourself. Post results here in my commbox.
The answer to "Why is such a lovely girl (handsome boy) still Single?" is, of course, "Because I was born that way." If relations push, however, tell them it is because you have always been in love with (married) Cousin [Whomever] and have despaired of ever finding a man/woman who can compare. Do this in the most dramatic fashion possible, wiping away invisible tears with your dinner napkin. If you have no cousins, pick some other relation with a sense of humour. There's nothing like a fine incest joke to change the topic pronto. (Obviously, think of something else if there is an incest survivor at the table. Say you were holding out for Prince William/Kate Middleton and it's a very difficult time for you right now.)
In short, you have to be funny. Just because your relations are making you feel terrible doesn't mean that you need to lose your dignity by wailing, sulking, snapping back or doing anything else that will give your aunts gossip fodder for months. You can bitch about it all later with friends, but for now grace under pressure.
Incidentally, nobody's family is perfect. And almost everyone gets the gears for being unmarried some time.
Between twelve and three years ago, none of my mother's children were married, and this annoyed her very much. My father did not have cousins his age because in his father's family almost nobody got married. His grandfather had a dozen children, and something like only one of them got married, and he so late that my dad had only one brother, who died unmarried... Marrying never or late, my mother long ago decided, was something that came from her husband's side of the family.
One holiday, as she was cooking the dinner or baking the cookies, my mother stared fiercely at all her flock of children and announced, with frustration, "You're all a bunch of bachelor Cummingses!" But then her green eye fell upon me, meek, divorced and constantly dating Mr Wrong. "Well," she amended. "Except for you."