Your problems solved, with Holly Harper

Dear Holly,
I’m really pissed off with my husband. He’s only gone and let his parents invite themselves for dinner again this weekend, which means I’ll have to listen to endless drivel about my father-in-law’s seeping hernia, and how the next-door-neighbour’s cat keeps shitting in their prize rose bushes, whilst my mother-in-law rubs her fingers along all the surfaces looking for dust, and scowls at my lasagne as if it came straight from a dog’s arse. My own parents are decent enough to be honest about the fact that they hate us and stay the hell away; why can’t this pair of old bastards do the same?

Dear Esme,
Dealing with other people’s parents is tricky. On the one hand, you always have to be on your best behaviour around them, and never scream that you hate them and wish they would die like you would with your own mummy and daddy. On the other hand, you need to remember that ultimately they have no control over you, and so you can use this to your advantage if you’re clever. When I went for tea at Cynthia Baxter’s house, I made sure I was super polite to her mum, and told her I thought her beef casserole was delicious even though it tasted like old socks dipped in dog poo. It didn’t take long for her to become convinced that I was a little darling, and by the end of the evening I had her eating out of my hand. Now, if I want to be allowed to do something, like watch inappropriate films, or eat sweeties before dinner, or even stay awake until 1030pm, I just go round to Cynthia’s house and tell her mum my parents let me do that sort of stuff all the time and she has no choice to believe me. So if I were you, this weekend I’d stop worrying about the negatives and convince your parents-in-law to let you have four cans of coke and watch the Blair Witch Project with the lights off.
Hope that helps!