Right now I am living at my parents'. It's only for two weeks (honest), but that doesn't make it any easier to watch the trailer for Failure to Launch, among other things, while sitting on the couch next to my mommy and daddy.
I thought I'd transcended all of the discomfort I might be expected to endure the other night, after realizing that The 40-Year-Old Virgin had way more jokes about erections and porn than I wanted to enjoy in the company of my parents. But that was before Oscar night.
Anyone watching last night's ceremony may have blocked out Ben Stiller's bizarre yet unfunny green-suit moment, if not the entire show. The bit is not worth recounting, except to note that it involved a very tight unitard. Jon Stewart made a joke about how Ben Stiller had proved the fact that he was Jewish to everyone.
Then my dad said: "I don't get it."
There was a pause, during which my mom and I both mulled our options for enlightening my dad using the fewest words possible. Before I could offer my explanation, my mom said with a tone of authority, "It's because Jewish men are supposed to be so well endowed."
After I recovered from my bewilderment, I said, "I think he was referring to circumcision," and hoped the subject would be dispensed with not only because, well, suddenly I was talking about penises with my parents, but also because my fiance is Jewish.
I learned at a young age that before embarking on a trip or transition, you should always try to anticipate anything bad that could happen, as a preventive measure. Obviously if I had considered the idea that I might come down with chicken pox on our family vacation to the Bahamas, for example, it would not have happened, because the things that really get you are the things you didn't think of beforehand.
So it's obvious in retrospect that I should have worried about the possibility that my fiance's anatomy might come up in conversation during my time at my parents', but I failed in this regard, and now the moment was trundling right toward me.
Now we were squabbling over my mom's assertion, a stereotype neither my dad nor I had ever heard before. It emerged that the source was her best friend's ex-husband, a man unafraid of blatantly lying to serve his own interest, but a Jewish man nonetheless. Still, my mom's revelation of her source for this information produced howls of derision from my dad and me.
Well, hmm, who else might know about this? Who in the room had seen a Jewish man's member recently? I resolved to remain silent.
My mom didn't like they way she'd been argued down and waited before delivering the inevitable last word: "I'm sure Mike would be glad to back this up," she said, laughing. I said, "I'm sure he would," and laughed too. Then I proceeded to block the conversation from memory for several hours.