I went to lunch on the weekend to celebrate my father’s 87th birthday. It was the usual fun-filled family affair, and I thought regular readers might enjoy a little insight into how these events usually go, taken from the perspective of my step-mother.
1. Should you be invited to attend a social occasion to be hosted at one of your step-children’s homes, plead illness. If you are particularly desperate to avoid their company, you may need to resort to extreme tactics such as crashing your golf cart. Whatever your excuse, be sure to milk it for all it’s worth. Calling your husband frequently during the event will make sure that your absence is emphasised. Be as pathetic as possible; pleas for instructions on how to operate the television or the microwave oven can be effective reminders of how inconvenient is your husband’s absence.
2. Should the event be held in a restaurant, you can employ the following strategies.
a) upon arriving at the restaurant, make a fuss about the position of the table until another is located.
b) when a suitable table is found and the rest of your party seated by a now pissed-off waitress, you can now begin to peruse the menu.
c) after a quick glance at said menu, declare the food inedible and the service terrible and insist that all you want is a cup of tea. This may cause some dismay to your step-family who were hoping for a 3 course meal, but be strong. You can also use this opportunity to sneer at the selection of cakes and pastries on offer.
d) drink half your cup of tea, and then tell the rest of the table that you are going for a walk.
e) Find a conveniently located public bench so that you can sit in the freezing gale blowing outside and speak with any stranger who passes. Be sure to ignore your step-family should any of them be foolish enough to come and check on your welfare.
f) after the meal is finished – hastily – and everyone has left the restaurant, ignore your step-family and latch onto your husband, muttering babyish endearments into his octogenarian ear.
Picnics, weddings, christenings and funerals can all be dealt with in this manner, with little or no risk of being taken to task for your appalling behaviour, because by now everyone is used to it.
Next time: how to alienate your teenage step-daughters within days of being introduced, to be followed by a special series on how to get your husband to abandon his 17 year old children in the big city so that you can move to a seaside town 6 hours drive away.