If you’re dating a Basque woman and things are going well enough for you to meet the mythical aita, know that there are a few things he does not want to hear:
1. I’m not Basque.
For some reason, Aita has a slight obsession with knowing where his daughters’ beaux come from: ethnically and patrimonially. He always wants to know who the family is, and if he doesn’t know them, he straight away assumes they’re scum unless proven otherwise. It’s inevitable that he learns you’re not Basque. Just try to understand that this is hard for him, and you might need to step up your game a little more than usual to win him over.
2. I’m Unemployed.
Why would Aita want to hear that? If you are unemployed, come up with a more creative response. (Suggestion: “I’m applying to grad school.” Aita loves himself some higher education.) He just wants to make sure his darlings are taken care of, and he’s not going to like you from the get go if you can’t do that for him. I’m sure you have plenty more to offer, but sometimes Aita only cares about dollars and cents.
3. I’m a vegetarian.
If you lead with this, Aita most definitely will not respect your manhood. Much of his life has revolved around preparing and eating mass quantities of meat, so you might as well just tell him you’re an alien. Pick at the lamb if you can, or just avoid family meals until you’re ready to deal with the consequences of this statement.
4. I don’t drink.
While some might think this line will show you to be a conscientious and responsible person, Aita will just take it as weakness. What do you mean you don’t drink? Alcohol consumption is one of the foundations of Basque social life, so Aita will not understand what’s wrong with you. He’ll either think you’re a pansy or a recovering alcoholic, and he doesn’t want either of those things for his little princess.
5. I don’t know anything about farming, gardening, plumbing, construction, or raising sheep.
Whatever Aita’s forte, make sure you’re mildly acquainted with it before the big meeting. Do a quick Google search, learn something, and hold on to it for dear life in case the topic comes up.
I will never forget how one of my sister’s friends blew my dad away with a story about how he helped someone uproot a palm tree. At first Aita (a gardener in his past life) was aloof and silent, putting on his intimidating front, but once the palm tree anecdote came up, he was all smiles, laughter, and bottomless wine refills. Find a way to establish yourself in Aita’s realm of knowledge, and you will surely melt his little heart.
What are some things your aita wouldn’t want to hear?