Team Pick: “Dad Bingo,” A Bingo Game Invented By Rachel For Her Dad’s Upcoming Visit

Our Senior Editor Rachel has a really complicated relationship with her father. He comes to visit Rachel at least once a year, providing ample opportunity for Rachel to feel awkward and under duress while regaling us with unfortunate tales and tweets and g-chats regarding shit her dad says/does.

In honor of this year’s visit, Rachel prepared herself a little game of Dad Bingo, which I felt compelled to share on this website because I am a Serious Journalist.

rachel-bingo

If you’re a person lucky (or unlucky, I suppose, depending) enough to have parents who actually visit you in your home, what would be on your Dad and/or Mom and/or Grandparent and/or Other Guardian bingo card?

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1795 articles for us.

69 Comments

  1. Thumb up 13

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    THE BODY HAIR THING. YES. My mom actually is finally coming around to the fact that, no, I will not shave my legs or my underarms. It’s taken a while, but I think there’s progress because I only hear about it every month or two, now.

    • Thumb up 3

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      My mom was pretty grossed out by my armpit hair, too, but then at some point she told me she was proud that I was an independent thinker – so that was nice. Maybe your mom will come to appreciate it in a weird way, eventually.

  2. Thumb up 24

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    I could have definitely used that when the parents visited. But I’d have to add:
    1. Calls me some combination of demented, bizarre, bleeding heart, hippie, pinko, lefty, weirdo (my dad may or may not be Sam the Eagle from the Muppets)
    2. Makes an uncomfortable joke about my hair or tie
    3. Makes jokes about eating my rabbits
    4. Accuses me of trying to destroy the US economy with my veganism
    5. Insists that the Humane Society is a terrorist organization

  3. Thumb up 7

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    haha oh my god. let’s see…

    Dad:
    addresses me with the dog’s name (or vice versa)
    makes definitive statements about the (un)attractiveness of some woman currently in the public eye, and the cause of said (un)attractiveness

    Mum:
    offers me some kind of unwanted skincare product
    asks where I went last night

    Grandparents:
    detailed indictment of the last joint of meat they ate

  4. Thumb up 6

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    OMG this is my dad!
    Except you would have to add in these squares:

    ridicules my mother in front of strangers

    makes constant references to the [redacted] in the white house, and/or communist liberals

    actually just uses the words communist and liberal interchangeably

    points out how sensitive I am more than three times in a day

    and says things like “I don’t know why I’m not losing weight, I eat healthy” while eating a bowl of nachos at midnight.

  5. Thumb up 12

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    Oh God. Good one Reese, I’m about to morph into an ugly, (somewhat) angrier version of myself, cause my dad hits quite a few of those and then some.

    1. Says he gets why someone might be gay, because it’s just like him “preferring brunettes to blondes.”
    2. Makes a comment about some woman in the vicinity’s weight. This woman could also potentially be me or my sister.
    3. Speaks with an accent when talking to a black person. No really.
    4. Mentions the “ridiculous number of unhinged” female staff in his office that visit psychiatrists over lunch. Also how ridiculous this practice is. (Despite the fact that he himself is on anti-deps.)
    5. Seriously tries to discuss his concerns re. me being an anti social hermit. Does not get that the reason why I’m not out with friends is because he’s visiting or that I’m reading to avoid conversation with him.
    6. Buys me a fucking sandwich with something on it that I have never in my life eaten.
    7. Refers to my brother or his boyfriend as a moffie.
    8. Wants to have a serious discussion because he thinks I take his criticism and comments Very Seriously and that they Influence How I Make Decisions.

  6. Thumb up 7

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    Wow, Rachel’s father shares many unfortunate similarities with my father. Most of the stuff I would add falls under the “casually racist” square, except for the things that would fall under a “extremely blatantly racist oh god please stop this is why you don’t get to meet any of my friends” square.

  7. Thumb up 4

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    My dad does a lot of what Rachel’s dad does, as well. He’s more than casually racist, bemoans the plight of Conservatives and tells me he wishes that I didn’t vote left, and dehumanizes people in the service industry.

    If I were making a card for myself (and seriously I’m going to, because this is the perfect way to help me channel my frustration with him!), I’d add “yawns like a horny moose” (it’s the most grating thing ever), “laughs at news story about woman being assaulted”, “insists that climate change isn’t real”, and “talks to someone in great detail about cleaning shit from his dog’s ass” squares.

  8. Thumb up 14

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    This applies to either parent:

    1. Ask when I am going to get a proper job already
    2. Ask me the status of my Australian PR application (which DIAC is still hemming and hawing over)
    3. Ask me about my ex-boyfriend
    4. Ask why I didn’t just marry my ex-boyfriend anyway even though I came out to everyone as lesbian and also moved halfway across the world from him (yes, we’re still close emotionally, but STILL)
    5. Tell me to stop thinking about relationships and concentrate on my studies
    6. Complain that I should call more often
    7. Bring up something contentious about money
    8. Ask me if I’m still ‘degrading’ myself by doing burlesque
    9. Tell me to just pack everything up and come back to Malaysia
    10. Not listen

  9. Thumb up 6

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    I could definitely win with my family. Just add in squares like: Refusing to call A-Camp anything but “my conference in October”. Using female pronouns and birth name. Grandma sending me girly shirts two sizes too small.

  10. Thumb up 5

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    1. Calls my girlfriend my “friend”
    2. Asks if we’re still doing that “poly thing” with visible distaste
    3. Contradicts own advice within 2 sentences
    4. Arbitrary anxiety re: my possible safety doing some mundane task
    5. BONUS SQUARE: Forceful “gift” of processed GF food I will never eat.
    6. Obsessive cleanliness
    7. “We’re just really concerned about you and want you to make good choices”
    8. Obvious fear of the working class
    9. Horror stories about all the alcoholic uncles in the family upon seeing a single empty beer bottle

  11. Thumb up 4

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    On the average visit, my mother:

    1. makes unwarranted comments about vegans.
    2. inquires about my bowels (they’re fine…)
    3. reminds me that she did her PhD in less than 3 years.
    4. comments on my weight.
    5. asks if my deodorant comes from the health food store. If I say yes, tells me that I smell. If I say it’s a regular commercial brand, she says nothing.
    6. yells at a shopkeeper.
    7. complains at length about how slow I am (at getting ready, cooking, whatever).
    8. asks a bizarre question about my sex life.
    9. insists that I need more shoes/clothes/accessories.

    Oh, I could go on and on and on…she is generally tolerant and accepting, but is super anxious, and has NO sense of boundaries, appropriate things to ask an adult daughter, etc.

    Last time I was staying at her place, I made a list of arbitrary things I got yelled at for (taking too long to pee, folding the laundry incorrectly, packing too many napkins for a picnic…)

  12. Thumb up 19

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    True Story: Last time I had a forced visit with my parents, my dad launched into one of his usual lectures on how I should live my life… Meanwhile I was browsing Autostraddle on my laptop while going “Mmhmm, yep… great advice dad”.

    I learned so much.

  13. Thumb up 4

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    My Dad’s top 9 Bingo Card:

    1. Calls me a Holocaust survivor
    2. Makes a joke about lamb being a vegetable because they eat vegetables or asks me if I’d like my salad in a chop shape.
    3. Makes a grossly archaic and misinformed comment about my area of expertise and then argues with me in defence of said comment.
    4. Makes casual racist remarks prefaced by “I’m not racist but”
    5. Thinks he is teasing me by saying “dykie, dykie dyke dyke dyke”.
    6. Is nasty to my girlfriend
    7. Reminisces about the year I “really became a lard arse”
    8. Asks me why I’m not going to Oxford
    9. Bonus Square: Calls Apartheid “The Golden Years”

    I’d win every time I go home.

  14. Thumb up 4

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    Mine would mostly be my mom.
    1. comments about sex with women is gross
    2. why do you never have any money?
    3. you need a job with a regular schedule
    4. casual racism
    5. comments about my weight/eating habits
    6. gets religious (even though she never goes to church and has admitted she has never read the bible)
    7. freaks that i do any thing in a different way than she would
    8. throws a fit about anyone wanting anything she wouldn’t/doesn’t
    9. your relationship isn’t real/you can’t love her (both because gay and long distance and i don’t think she’s ever had a loving relationship)

    for Dad it would be:
    1. casual racism
    2. inappropriate comments about how he understands the lesbian thing because girls be hot
    3. inappropriate comments about how men cannot control themselves from being perverts WITH EXAMPLES
    4. bitching about Mom being selfish
    5. ignoring big family issues/getting angry that other people aren’t ignoring them
    6. religion
    7. republican. even though all his views are liberal actually.
    8. calling my girlfriend my friend
    9. throwing hissy fits

  15. Thumb up 1

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    Laugh uncontrollably at and LGBTI news article and exclaim “look out, there’s been an outbreak of poofterism!”
    Ask me when I’m “planning on giving up that education crap”… With the unspoken addendum of “and get married and have babies”
    Ask what happened to “that other female” (presumably my ex of 4 years ago), then refer to my curren girlfriend by the incorrect name
    *sigh*

  16. Thumb up 1

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    Ha, I’m going to visit my family next weekend. My bingo card would be:
    1. Makes snarky comment about my hair
    2. Refuses to leave the house for outings, but…
    3. Will walk to McDonalds for coffee because she doesn’t like the way I make it.
    4. Insults my or my sisters cooking.
    5. Complains to me about my sister, to my sister about me, and to my brother about both of us.
    6. Goes to her car to get stoned every 2 hours.
    7. Comments about how badly behaved and wild my nephews are (see #5).
    8. Passive aggressive cleaning.
    9. Asks if I’ve “been making any new friends” because she is to uptight to ask me if I’m dating.

  17. Thumb up 4

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    My dad’s bingo card would be:
    1.Talks to me through the bathroom door when I’m on the loo for no apparent reason.
    2. Offers to help with dinner then stands leaning against to wall doing nothing helpful while talking constantly
    3. Yells at a customer service telephone operator
    4. Asks me why I gave up sailing (12 years ago)and tells me it will solve all my mental health issues
    5. Asks when my brother and I will learn to drive
    6. Tells me I have to stand up for myself while ignoring everything I say to him
    7. Wakes me every half hour from 7.30am onwards when he knows I’m on holiday and don’t need to be up
    8. Generalises one tiny observation to a whole population
    9. Asks if I’m alright at least 4 times in the space of an hour without waiting for an answer and then proceeding to tell me what I should do to fix my life.

    • Thumb up 3

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      At least half of these so accurately apply to my dad, it’s REALLY FREAKING ME OUT.

      My dad also does this fun thing where he believes Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and infomercials about EVERYTHING and me about NOTHING. Like, dad, Dr. Oz is not your primary care physician for the love of god.

  18. Thumb up 2

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    Currently visiting my parents, so taking this as an opportunity to vent:

    Dad:

    1. Casually misogynistic comments, followed up with “Oh, but I wasn’t talking about you” when I call him out on it.
    2. Casual homophobia.
    3. Casual misgendering of trans* friends/acquaintances/people in the public eye.
    4. Raising his voice without realising it, then shouting, “I’m not shouting!” when this is pointed out.
    5. Laughing off my mother’s emotions when she tries to have a serious discussion/argument with him, or show her frustration with him, and he can’t prove that he isn’t in the wrong.
    6. Telling my mother to ‘shush’ when an argument isn’t going his way (an alternative outcome to number 5).
    7. “It’s a shame things didn’t work out with (emotionally abusive ex). But in time, I’m sure you’ll be able to be friends again!”
    8. “Oh, stop being so irrational, (mum’s name)!” (Proceeds to make irrational/fallacious argument, doesn’t notice the hypocrisy)
    9. Rushing mum and I when we’re getting ready to go out and getting annoyed when we’re a little late, even when it isn’t critical for us to get there exactly on time.

    Mum:

    1. Probing and uncomfortable questions about my health
    2. “Have you tried (alternative therapy X) for your condition? I really think a natural route would be better than those drugs the doctors are giving you.” (she has a PhD in Biochemistry. I don’t even.)
    3. Some variation on “Don’t get me wrong, I like (friend/SO X)! I think they’re really great! But you really shouldn’t be trusting them by lending them money/doing favours for them/sleeping with them, because ultimately all people are scumbags.”
    4. Invasive and bizarre questions about my sound-colour synaesthesia, expecting me to describe incredibly complex visualisations on cue.
    5. Comments on how I should be ‘more spiritual’, how I used to be ‘in my spiritual body’ when I was younger, etc.
    6. Some variation on dad being a ‘typical man’, ‘bloody men, they’re all the same’, etc.
    7. Assuming that my presence in the same room as her is an invitation for her to start a conversation with her, even if I’m clearly reading/working/otherwise focused on doing something by myself. This includes my own room, after she has just barged in without knocking (see number 1 of both/either).
    8. Not-so-subtle attempts to convince me that I will want to have children some day.
    9. Not-so-subtle attempts to convince me to wear make-up/style my hair/wear feminine clothing, despite knowing that dressing in a feminine way makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable.
    10. Comments on how my emotionally abusive ex was ‘a nice boy’.
    11. Questions about whether I’ve heard anything from aforementioned ex lately (we haven’t spoken in over a year).
    12. Explains to me how to clean a toilet, for the tenth time.
    13. Insists that her way of doing things is the best way, and gets annoyed when I do things differently, even if my way is as/more efficient.
    14. Baby-talk. Just, ugh, I’m not a toddler anymore.
    15. Dismissing me with “You’re just tired” if I’m upset, or “Oh, you are funny” if I’m angry or irritated.
    16. As I’m about to leave the house: “Have you got your keys?” “Yes.” “Have you got your phone?” “Yes.” “Have you got your wallet?” “Yes.” “What about your train ticket?” “Yes, that’s in my wallet…” “And your bank card?” “That’s in my wallet too…” And so on.
    17. “Your breath smells, did you know?”
    18. Going to great lengths to explain to random strangers who are just trying to do their job how they’re doing said job wrong, and how they could do it more effectively (despite generally having no relevant experience).
    19. Trying to organise my social calendar for me.

    Both/Either

    1. Bursting into my room without knocking – including when I have my SO round to stay.
    2. Talking over each other in conversation.
    3. Talking over me in conversation.
    4. Randomly insulting each other.
    5. Fake-yawning/saying things like “We’re done with that conversation now” when the other parent is talking about something they find boring, even when it’s clearly of interest to other people in the discussion.
    6. Generally resorting to anger and “I’m right, you’re wrong” instead of actually trying to calmly discuss issues.

    …I guess it’d have to be a pretty big bingo card.

  19. Thumb up 27

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    hey y’all damn all this sounds crazy. mad real but crazy. feel free to come to my house for some non-upsetting time with a Dad. He will do the following things:

    1- offer you a taste of his new favorite wine or whiskey (but won’t push if you don’t want any)
    2- tell you all the cool new gay things he read or heard about on the teevee
    3- tell you about how my grandma had gays all over the house when he was growing up because everyone is the same and we all deserve love and respect
    4- make really corny jokes and facial expressions that i’ve adopted and am proud/embarrassed of
    5- offer you Tostitos and salsa as a compromise for having steak for dinner if he knew you were coming there’d be actual vegetables

    * note: he’s still learning how to not comment on women’s bodies/what they wear on the teevee but he’s learned to not do that to actual women in his company/the surrounding area/ that we know in real life.

  20. Thumb up 16

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    Over the years I have managed to convert my previously homophobic parents into more open minded people. Before I came out, I could quickly fill a card with horrible homophobic comments.

    Now I could fill a card with aw(esome)kward comments, such as this beauty from their last visit:

    Dad: Your friends all have really interesting haircuts.
    Mom: What a great way to protest the gender binary! And they are called “alternative lifestyle haircuts”, dear.

    The best one is that they have stopped referring to each other as “husband”/”wife” and call each other “life partner”.

    So to those of you who only recently came out, give it 10 years and maybe they might change like mine!

  21. Thumb up 4

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    I would add to this bingo card:

    “Finds a way to mention Obamacare, not matter what the subject is.”

    Seriously, we can be discussing where to eat, and he will find a way to blame Obamacare despite knowing that it’s the only reason I currently have health insurance.

    • Thumb up 2

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      yes! my dad too. the worst was when we left his giant 5 bedroom house in his brand new corvette (he just traded in last years bumble bee camaro) and he told me Obama was ruining his life.

      really dad?! ruined?!

      I just can’t deal.

  22. Thumb up 3

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    My dad is ignorant sometimes, but really open to criticisms of his behavior, so that’s nice. My mom, on the other hand, this could work for. And sometimes, with her, it’s like I’d rather her come out and be aggressive about her shitty opinions so I could call her out on it and not be made to feel like a whiny, sensitive and overly critical POS daughter and then, after days of mopey phone calls and the silent treatment, I feel forced to apologize for voicing my strongly-held and legitimate opinions about how to be a decent human being BUT ANYWAY…

    On a lighter note, I could make one of these for my dad with spaces such as, “deliberately parks his new car so the front end faces the street because he thinks it looks cool,” or “leaves a recipe for vegetable soup on the table and he’s misspelled it as ‘VAG SOUP,'” or, “marvels over the fact that he’s been saying ‘flip the bill’ for years and I just now informed him that it’s actually ‘foot the bill,'” or, “tries for fifteen straight minutes to say the phrase ‘Boca Burger’ without messing up.”

  23. Thumb up 5

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    I’m at home visiting the family right now.

    Mum: “Oooh, this movie looks good, maybe I’ll stream that… oh no wait, she was gay, I don’t want to see that”.
    Me: “That’s really homophobic. You thought it was interesting but it’s not just because the main character is gay?”
    Sister: “IT’S NOT HOMOPHOBIC BECAUSE SHE’S NOT AFRAID OF GAY PEOPLE. SHE JUST DOESN’T WANT TO SEE THEM STOP BEING SO POLITICALLY CORRECT GEEZ”.

    • Thumb up 4

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      Update – from a car trip I just got back from:

      Sister: hands me a flyer for a marriage equality.
      Mother: What’s that about? Oh the gay thing? I don’t have anything against gay people but if we let them get married they will have children and a child needs a mother and a father and it’s unnatural and blah blah blah.
      Me: *Explodes with rage*
      Mother: I just don’t understand why you get so upset about it, everyone’s got a right to an opinion, you can’t get mad at me just because I have a different opinion to you.
      Me: Um, because you act like this is not about me, and it is.
      Mother: OH LOOK A BIRD OUT THE WINDOW CHANGE SUBJECT LA LA LA NOT LISTENING.

      The worst part was that I had been having such a nice time I decided to book my flight home so I had extra time here, just before we got in the car. UGH.

  24. Thumb up 1

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    Offers to take you to a restaurant with no vegetarian menu items; complains that you’re “preachy” when you request a different restaurant.

    Casually mentions gay celebrities he hates, pretends it’s for reasons unrelated to their sexuality.

    Tells you that you’re too pretty to dress like that. Honey, are those men’s pants?

    Reminds you that he loves you the way you are; he just wishes you’d, y’know, tone it down a bit.

    Tells you you’ve lost weight as a compliment; ignores the fact that you told him almost ten years ago that you’re struggling with anorexia.

    Suggests you remove your nose ring because people aren’t going to take you seriously if you put that stuff in your face.

    Acts clearly embarrassed to be seen in public with you. Tells you he’s proud of you.

    Reminds you for the twentieth time that he’s not a homophobe because he knew a gay guy almost twenty years ago and they worked together and got along just fine.

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