And I don't necessarily mean a good impression, either.
Tom and I were having lunch with friends at their place recently. It was quite a last minute thing on a autumn afternoon - salads slapped together, bottles of wine dusted off, an anti-pasto selection of whatever was yet to expire in the fridge. Relaxed and comfortable.
Sitting on Dougal's patio in the late afternoon sun, I could hear a song drifting up from a neighbour's radio. Not one of my personal favourites, it was the undeservedly popular Sexy Bitch. In between bites of kabana, I nudged Tom.
'Hey! It's Mum's song!'
Dougal and Eileen looked at me in a mix of horror and disgust. Perhaps I should explain.
Late last year, my aunt and uncle threw a party to celebrate their 50th birthdays. Our family is very close but geographically dispersed, so big occasions like these are welcomed by all as a chance to get together and create mayhem. And so 25 people packed their bags and headed to Queensland.
It would have been a logistical nightmare, but my uncle Vince is an enterprising (and generous) soul. He and my aunty put their parents, siblings and partners up at their place, then hired 2 serviced apartments so that us 15 kids had somewhere to sleep. Every bed and couch was taken but we were together and we had a fridge full of champagne. What more did we need?
The party itself was wonderful - a fabulous safari-themed adventure, complete with pith helmets and fire twirlers. At one point Anna and three of our cousins climbed fully clothed into Vince and Marie's ensuite bathtub to re-enact less modest photos taken 15 years ago. We had wardrobe malfunctions involving glasses of wine, a mid-party kitchen raid and grandparents tearing up the dancefloor to Lady Gaga's Pokerface. It was mad and loud and memorable.
I imagine that if this was the first time you'd ever met our family, it might have been a bit intimidating. This was the position that my cousin Sam's girlfriend, Bree, found herself in. She grew up in an outback country town and at 22, is less worldly than my much younger cousins. This isn't a problem in itself - everyone's different. It does become a problem when you abuse other people's hospitality, though.
Without an invitation, Bree decided that she was coming with Sam to Queensland and subsequently did so. She proudly told us that the party was a chance for her to get drunk on as much free wine as possible. Uhuh. Not a great first impression, exactly.
We realised that she intended on living up to her vows early in the evening when she fell into a garden bed and needed assistance getting out. Some would take this as a sign to slow down. Not Bree. I'll give the girl this much, as least she keeps her promises.
Later in the evening I was chatting with Mum and a few other relatives when Bree ambled over to us. Glass in one hand and a blaring iPhone in the other, she grabbed Mum in a bearhug. What followed has become stuff of legend.
'Dance, Sexy Bitch, Dance!'
'Dance! Come on, you sexy bitch!'
Mum demurred, saying she didn't know the song and would perhaps join in later. This seemed to appease Bree and she toddled off in the direction of the bar. We all stared after her in muted shock, then burst into shocked laughter.
My Mum is a very elegant lady. She's quite liberal, but calling her a sexy bitch is perhaps a bridge too far. Which is precisely what made it so funny. Of all the marks to pick that night, Bree chose her?
And, strangely, this was not the funniest moment of the night.
Oh no, that honour went to 75-year-old Oma, who, needing help with the cake, stuck her head outside and asked in her thick Dutch accent where the 'Sexy Bitch' was.
I've heard a lot of things from elderly ladies, but I never expected that to be one of them.