Funerals, weddings, christenings, Christmas Day or just a Sunday roast. Meeting people I haven't seen since in years is always shit. Here's why:
1). Despite being way past the age where I should be called a man, I will still have old women lamenting my tattoos/ long hair/ monogamy and waxing lyrical about how nice I look with short hair and how tats in their day indicated criminality. They'll also ask why I haven't "met a nice girl yet" while staring at me like hyenas eyeing up a zebra carcass in case I decide to break down and go "You got me, I'm actually a homosexual." They will conversely get upset and demand an apology if I make the slightest criticism of them or tell them all to fuck off.
2). Dinner conversations will invariably involve my mother bringing up some embarrassing shit that I did when I was about 3 or 4. This will possibly include how I would shout "Morning" from my pushchair when I was in the supermarket (like Ed "Stewpot" Stuart off Radio 1, circa 1975). It may also include how I would cry watching people getting custard pies thrown in their faces on Tiswas or even how I'd announce "my diddle's going up" when I saw men and women snogging on TV.
3). Women I used to have crushes on when I was around 11 or 12 will now be more leathery than John Wayne's pistol holster and completely ruin any sense of adoration I once had for them.
4). Any attempts to have a meaningful conversation with the assembled relatives will result in me either being misunderstood, misquoted or both. E.g. If I bring up how I don't think women should be allowed to serve in Special Forces in the military as it would invoke the protective instinct that most men have to women and children. Any interrogator with ANY common sense would simply torture a captured female SAS soldier in front of the males. And has anyone seen the movie GI Jane which covers this very scenario?
After a pregnant pause I'll be accused of being "like the Taliban."
5). Someone will ask if I'm still doing that "Krav Magrah" and then snigger when I yet again correct their pronunciation. If I then deliberately mispronounce their name (or even the name of the town they live in) I'll be accused of being argumentative, especially as it's Uncle Tom who I should know "gets a bit funny after a few glasses of wine" and it's my fault for winding him up.
6). If I bring a woman to the gathering I'll have to tolerate her being stared at by most of the women and one or two of the older men. Someone will finally pluck up the courage to ask her "where she met this loser" and later I'll be told "just how lucky" I am to have landed such a pretty, sweet, foreign lady.
7). If my mother has more than 2 glasses of wine she'll later get the photo album out and show the woman from point 6) photos of me as a baby. Including the one where I'm sat on a potty eating an ice lolly while taking a shit.
8). Someone will have to entertain whichever small children are at the gathering. As I work with kids I'll be the default choice and asked "nicely" if I'd mind putting the Finding Nemo DVD on for the twins, and maybe helping Tarquin and Jemima build a lego Star Wars castle. At least two of the children will later fight and start crying and I'll be half jokingly criticised for "letting" that happen.
9). One of the more "mature" ladies at the gathering will have too much to drink and start blubbing about her husband leaving her "for a younger model." Everyone else will be embarrassed but will try to placate her while covertly moving all the alcohol out of her reach.
10). Someone will invariably put their foot in it by asking someone else a question with only one answer. E.g "How's Eric?" not knowing that Eric died a few years ago. After an uncomfortable silence the conversation will resume with everyone talking about how lovely the weather's been lately or remarking on the new curtains.