By Alison Amorello
May is graduation month and with dozens of colleges in Boston, the city is swarming with eager visiting parents. Hopefully your itinerary is jam-packed with school ceremonies and related festivities, but should you find yourself with a few unscheduled hours, sitting around in any campus common area probably isn’t going to cut it.
Kill time and awkwardness with a tour or activity, but before you stroll anywhere, focus and know your audience. Avoid places that might lead to fear, disgust, and uncomfortable conversations. Consider the following locations as a guide to stay away.
Showing your parents this particular area of town is out of the question for anyone who values their freedom, would like avoid a lecture and would not like to see their own mother cry. Mission Hill is not the kind of place parents like to picture their children participating in activities. Even citing "educational" opportunities like Trivia Night at Flan’s is not going to comfort them. There is no reason to show your parents your favorite party spot, no matter how impressive you think climbing the Hill in heels is. You actually live on Mission Hill? This advice still applies to you, perhaps more urgently. Drive you parents down a safe street in Brookline, point to a nice enough home and tell you’d love to show them inside but your roommates are studying, or praying or something.
The B Line
Sure, taking the T is a charming part of life in the city, but this will make your parents feel a little less Bostonian and a little more like a human sardine jammed in a dirty tin can among mini skirts, water bottles of vodka, loud frat boys and an unpredictable variety of sweaty characters inching their way down Commonwealth Ave. Easily the slowest line with the most frequent stops, a normally annoying experience can actually feel like a nightmare for any person in their right mind on an already crowded weekend. Put the Charlie Card away. Just walk. Hail a cab. Provide breathing room at all times.
I mean, honestly? Gay, straight, whatever––this is not a spot for a family affair. Sure, you had fun there on that hazy Saturday night a few months back, and you don't have a regular mom, you have a "cool mom," but this simply isn't an acceptable place to even walk by with parents. When you approach the dark and gated entrance, you have to be prepared for a number of things including chains and leather, costumes, alcohol, and unpredictable aggressive sexuality in all its forms. Stay away and tour the library instead.
That restaurant that's decent and pretty close to your campus.
This just in––you’re not the only person graduating this weekend. Even more shocking, a large percent of your classmates are also trying to entertain parents. This guarantees that any acceptable restaurant in the area (Eastern Standard, the entire North End) is going to be swarming with families waiting for tables and making small talk.
Avoid eye contact while you grab a menu for preview or pretend to be looking for an important email on your iPhone – but the waiting area is small and inevitably, you’re going to have to acknowledge that guy you did the group project with sophomore year, the girl who hooked up with you and your roommate in the same month (or the same night), or that guy you crushed on so hard freshman year, you failed math class because you were stalking him. There will be uncomfortable greetings and obligatory introductions to parents. So take a hike to somewhere obscure and make the evening anonymous.
Have suggestions for where to take the parents? Leave a comment!
Photo by dougbutchy (Flickr)
About Alison -- I am a recent Emmanuel College graduate who loves creative writing, cheeseburgers, travel, car radio sing-a-longs, and Armenian line dancing down the hallway when no one is watching. I'm not sure what I'm up to next year or next month, but I plan on having fun for the rest of my life. Twitter: @AlisonAmorello
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