Editor's note: An oldie but goodie from Biff's advice archives:
I hate Thanksgiving. Every year, my husband and I have to attend a family Thanksgiving dinner hosted by my husband's sister and her husband. We are never invited by my sister-in-law; in fact, she does not speak with us throughout the year. But, my mother-in-law tells me that as long as she is alive (she's freakin' 88 and just won't croak) she wants her family together for Thanksgiving.
I've been honoring her wish because I love her son, and he stands to gain quite a bit of cash when she finally kicks. But, after driving several hundred miles for this family gathering, we are greeted by my brother-in-law, who calls me by the wrong name. (My husband and I have been married 10 years, and I am his only sister-in-law.) I correct him, but he doesn't seem to notice, as at dinner, he continues to address me by the wrong name.
I offer to help with cleaning up afterward, but my sister-in-law says she likes things a certain way in the kitchen, and would rather just do it herself.
We're then subjected to the performances of various grandchildren who either play piano poorly or sing like the rejects on American Idol. We leave as soon as is politely possible, after what seems like one long endlessly boring conversation.
Is there any reasonable way we can get out of these horrible dinners without upsetting my mother-in-law?
Sulking in Syracuse
I have a better idea.
Attend the dinner, but use it as an opportunity for your own merriment. Here's some things my dates and I have done at past dinners I begrudgingly attended:
1. Shortly after you arrive, find an excuse to drag your sister-in-law from the kitchen. While the food is left unguarded, your husband should sneak in and bust a nut in a pre-arranged side dish, which you both eschew during dinner. Trust me, you and he will exchange many knowing glances and have difficulty stifling a chuckle as grandma admires how creamy the stuffing is, or little Sally licks the toasted marshmallows off the sweet potato casserole.
2. Be sure to visit the master bath before you sit down to dinner, and take note of any interesting medications in the medicine cabinet. Then, during dinner, ask your sister-in-law, 'I notice you have a large supply of Massengill. Are you still having problems with that chronic yeast infection?"
3. Provide Simon Cowle-like critiques of all the after-dinner performances, with the goal of making at least one of the children cry. After all, is there any better sound in the world than the sobs of a child whose self-esteem has been crushed?
3a. As the performances are winding down, announce that you and your husband have worked on a performance you would like to share, and excuse yourselves to prepare. Then return in full black-face and perform the most racially offensive skit you can possibly imagine. (Note: this trick only works above the Mason-Dixon line, and may not work in some suburbs of major cities, where it may actually ingratiate you with your hosts - use your common sense in these situations, and instead substitute with a screening from the most recent amateur porn video you and your husband made to sell on the internet.)
Oh, and I almost forgot the pièce de résistance: (actually, we can label this 2a): While you are visiting the master bath, insert any toothbrushes you find in your anus, and dance about the bathroom singing Peter Frampton's "I'm in You." And, assuming you have any pubic hair, use any hair combs or nose hair clippers you find to do a little landscaping. Any locks you remove should be placed in strategic locations, such as under the cap of the toothpaste tube.
(Editor's Note: We've been inundated with questions as to the importance of Peter Frampton as lyricist of choice whilst dancing around with toothbrushes in one's anus, and in response, Biff has reassured us that Frampton is simply his own personal favorite, and other practitioners of the art may sing from the repertoire of the songwriter of their chosing.)
This last one is the gift that keeps on giving. Just think how hard it will be not to guffaw Friday morning, as you pull your own toothbrush from its holder, and think about your relatives doing the same.
So, just remember, it's not the event that's boring, it's the attendees. If you find yourself thinking that a dinner party is too lame, you need to reexamine your own actions, and see if the problem lies within you.
I hope this helps.
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