1. Cool Aunts are firm believers in breakfast (or even dessert) for dinner. One of the greatest things about going to her house for dinner is that if you ask for pancakes, or sometimes even a slice of cake and a scoop of ice cream, her general response will be “Okay, yeah, just don’t tell your mom.”
2. You never get to watch more TV as a 10-year-old than with her. I don’t know about your household, but my TV was severely restricted as a child, and the only time I could take in the full TGIF marathon on ABC was when I was at my aunt’s house. She would hang out and read a magazine, and I would pass out in front of the TV, delirious in my joy.
3. Since she’s not weighed down by the daily costs of raising you, she’s more likely to splurge. I remember once asking my aunt if I could get a manicure and her saying, “Yeah, sure, why not?” which was the greatest moment ever, considering I was 11 years old and a manicure was totally wasted on me.
4. She gives you all the good dirt on your parents. I remember when I was 17 and my aunt told me all about the time my mom got arrested for indecent exposure when they were in college. It’s still one of my favorite stories told in my favorite circumstances.
5. Cool Aunts always sneak you alcohol. If you’re not quite yet 21 and bored out of your mind at a family dinner, the best person to go to is always the Cool Aunt, because she is probably already a few glasses in herself and doesn’t see the harm in giving you a little bit of spiked nog.
6. You can talk to her about boys. When you don’t quite feel comfortable going to your parents yet, but you also don’t want the drama of your friends, Cool Aunts are the best for listening and giving boy advice.
7. She gets all of the adorability of babies without the hassle. At least until she has her own kids, she only gets the best parts. She gets to play with them and hang out, and then pass them off when they get too whiny.
8. She reminds you that your parents are real people, too. She knew them when they were young and crazy, she never forgets to bring it up when they’re acting too serious, and she paints a picture of them that makes everything easier to understand.
9. Occasionally, she can be an advocate on your behalf. My aunt has occasionally talked my mom out of her more severe punishments, and I am forever indebted to her because of this.
10. When you’re at her house, you can just chill out. Cool Aunts aren’t there to make things difficult, or ask if you’ve done your homework, or put a ton of pressure on about when you’re getting married (depending on your age), you can just have some candy or maybe some wine and be lazy for a while.
11. She still pays for things. Unlike cousins, who are on your generation-level and therefore don’t pay when you go out, Cool Aunt takes you sweet places and always foots the bill (though you should pretend to reach for your wallet, just to be nice).
12. She gives good life lessons, packaged in reality. When you go to her, you know you can always get #RealTalk about whatever issue you’re currently going through, and it doesn’t come with a lot of the judgment or pressure that would come if you were her own kid. It’s a lot more of a relaxed environment.
13. She talks shit about your cousins. If she has her own kids, she’ll definitely remind you that you’re not that bad of a kid, by telling you about the crazy shenanigans her own children are getting into.
14. When you’re bringing home a new SO, sometimes you can test on her. Cool Aunts can be like a new relationship focus group, and give you feedback without the intensity of “meeting the parents.”
15. Even toddlers recognize a Cool Aunt. From a very young age, maybe even two, kids will start asking to go to her house because they know that’s the land of the honey buns for dinner and the flexible bedtimes.
16. You can always be a mom if you decide to, but being a Cool Aunt is something you can do even before you’re ready for your own family. I just recently became an aunt for the first time and I consider myself still way too young to have my own kids. But for now, I get to have all the cool parts, and be the person those kids love to hang out with because they know that I am relaxed and my rules are basically non-existent. I can’t wait to spoil them rotten and then hand them back to my sister!