None of the Law siblings dated anyone in high school. It’s not like we were hideous rat people or anything (though the pre-Roaccutane photo of me below is pretty confronting). It’s more that Mum and Dad believed that education was paramount, and that wild “Aussie” (i.e. white) kids’ lower-than-average grades was proof teen romances impeded young people’s brain capacity. And so, all of us remained the neighbourhood’s untouched, vestal youths, sort of like the siblings in Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides, except Asian and with bowlcuts.
So when our eldest sister Candy got her first boyfriend, it was exciting and scandalous. It was an even bigger deal when she brought him over for Christmas. It wasn’t as dramatic as we’ve written it in the TV show (we’re aiming for emotional truths; it’s not a documentary), but we were fascinated and appalled. A WHITE MAN AT THE LAW FAMILY CHRISTMAS TABLE! Andrew was nonchalant. Tammy and I stared at Candy’s boyfriend in mute fascination. While Michelle – who’d known nothing but family upheaval since she was born – silently seethed at this yet-again new development.
As the years went by and the other siblings started dating people, we often had that awkward “Are-partners-welcome?”conversations in the lead-up to Christmas. Then, after several hideous Law-only Christmases where everyone shouted at each so loudly we wondered whether we’d need to call the police, we silently agreed that yes – for the love of God, yes – everyone should bring partners.
Sometimes the best family Christmases are the ones with the fewest family members there possible
As it turns out, partners at Christmas kept everyone on their best behaviour. (They’re also handy to have in case there’s a murder and we need witnesses.) So nowadays, we spend out Christmases with my boyfriend, his mum, our brother-in-law and any randoms or partners or dates floating around – we’ll invite strangers if it comes to that – to cushion us from each other. Sometimes the best family Christmases are the ones with the fewest family members there possible.
The Family Law sneak peek: Candy brings her boyfriend to Christmas lunch
The Family Law Thursdays 8:30pm on SBS.