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In-law season!

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by WaylonJennings, Nov 10, 2007.

  1. Well, it's holiday season again. Close enough to it at least.

    Which means long hours spent with the in-laws for a lot of us.

    So wondering - why is it such an American tradition to be absolutely annoyed to the verge of a nervous breakdown with our in-laws? It seems like something everyone can relate to - which is why, say, "Christmas Vacation" or "Meet the Parents" are such hilarious movies.

    My in-laws are nice people. But their various foibles just get under my skin to the point that I'm almost ashmed of myself for it.

    I could go into each one of their personalities - a weekend with them would make a good comedy. But this seems like such a shared experience, there has to be more to it than just my in-laws being annoying people.

    What is it about our spouse's kinfolk, on a psychological level, that drives all of us batty?
  2. RedSmithClone

    RedSmithClone Active Member

    Don't have in-laws yet, but definitely agree on Christmas Vacation as one of the all-time best movies no matter what time of year!
  3. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Mine drove me to get divorced.

    Not really.

    But it doesn't hurt that I don't have to travel across the country to be stuck in their house for a week straight, listening to boring stories and not being able to drink around them.
  4. I told my wife that it might be because they aren't Catholic and I'm used to Catholic family gatherings - two coolers packed with beer and everyone unapologetic about taking advantage. With her family, the overly polite atmosphere feels like Sunday tea instead of a party.
  5. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Honestly, I think the biggest part of it is this: every family has obnoxious people, boring people, crazy people and nice people. Every family has a lot of quirks that all of them think are hilarious and great because they've spent their entire lives doing them. Suddenly, a new person that none of them know at all is shoved into their mix and that person is expected to get along with all of these people.

    Basically, you don't tend to notice that your own family is probably really annoying because they are your family. But you definitely notice that your in laws are annoying, because they aren't your blood relatives.

    I think some people luck out and get really cool in laws and I think over time you probably go close to your in laws and can tolerate them.
  6. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    I'm that rare person that gets along great with my in-laws.
  7. I get along with them. Doesn't mean they don't drive me batshit crazy.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Relationships between in-laws--particularly between a wife and her mother-in-law and a husband and his father-in-law--are doomed from the start.

    A mother believes there's no woman good enough to marry her son. A son never ever wants to upset his mother. A man can deal with an upset wife, because confrontation is easier to deal with than a mother's passive aggression. When a man hears his mother speak in a barely audible whisper and utter those handful of terrible phrases--"You do what you've got to do," "I was only trying to help" and "Well you'd know better than I" all come to mind--it knifes a hole thru his soul and overwhelms him with the type of guilt that makes it difficult to put one foot in front of the other, never mind adequately function at life. So he begs the wife to understand his mother and to apologize to mom for whatever it is that she said, or didn't say, or did, or didn't do, or wanted for Christmas, or didn't want for Christmas. Because then mom will speak with a spark in her voice again, and dad won't mention how mom has been sniffling all day, and life will be again be worth living.

    And the wife is mad she married a spineless wimp with a domineering mother who raised a spineless wimp of a son. But if she's got a heart, she won't punish her husband for his bloodlines. So she'll just badmouth his mother...everyday, twice on Sundays and 14 times a minute in the week leading up to and following a holiday.

    A father, meanwhile, knows how men think, and no matter how impressive his daughter's date is at making polite small talk or speaking optimistically about his post-collegiate plans or complementing the Mrs. on how nice the house smells, it's not enough to make up for the fact the night is still going to end with unmentionables occuring in his car. And what's with my daughter looking at this guy like he just walked across the Atlantic Ocean and turned water into wine? Didn't she used to look at me like that? Now she's voting Democratic and she'd rather watch the game with this guy than me. The fuck?

    So this guy could win the Nobel Peace Prize, come up with a cure for AIDS and become the top-rated host on the local sports talk radio station. But he'll never be good enough for a man's daughter.

    So yeah. Merry Christmas!
  9. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Generally speaking, you mean?
  10. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Why yes, of course.
  11. I thought you had a pretty cool mother in law, especially after that story you told about you pissing on your carpet or something ... the details are foggy.

    'Mother-in-law', 'carpet' and 'piss' are definitely the keywords, though.
  12. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    My mother-in-law is pretty cool, outside of her being an abject hypochondriac with a rapidly escalating case of agoraphobia and a tendency to believe every breathless news report about impending doom (poor weather forecast, higher gas prices, tainted meat sold within a 5000-mile radius, terror alert may be raised, etc etc). The first 40,000 phone calls about the sky falling were kinda cute. After that? Not so much.

    Did I ever vent about the time recently when she called us over to her house so I could help her put her take down her old TV and put her new one up? She has one of those contraptions attached to the wall that allows her to turn the TV in either direction. Turns out "take down her old TV and put her new one up" meant ripping out said contraption and putting a new one in. All it takes is one look at me to realize that my ability to do handywork around the house consists of picking up the phone and calling someone who can do it. She's known me 13 years. She knows my handful of skills and my myraid limitiations.

    Yet she had me over there trying to rip this out of the wall for an hour. I'm not sure what convinced her to track down a maintenance guy at the complex--I may have uttered the phrase "cocksucking motherfuckers," I'm not quite sure--but eventually she did that, and then she and my wife went out to buy a TV stand for her new TV while I sat at her computer, steam flowing out of my ears, and became re-addicted to solitaire.

    So what happens on the way home? I get The Speech from my wife. you know, the one that starts with "She does so much for us..." Apparently, she can inconvenience us because she lives nearby, but my mom has no margin for error because she lives a couple hours away.

    Ahh wedded bliss. Thanksgiving's gonna be a blast!
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