How to spend a horrible weekend with your parents

ARE you seeing your parents at the weekend? Here’s how to be sure you have a tense and horrible time with them.

You go to them

Do you fancy a few days trapped in the past, realising how different you are now to how you were when you lived with them and yet also how disturbingly similar? Being back in your childhood home will also bring out the difficult teenager still dormant within you and make full-scale family rows a certainty. The food will be good, though. 

They come to you 

Invite them to come over to yours so you can feel judged for the state of your house/life choices and still be washing the million or so tea cups they got through on Tuesday. You’ll also be sleeping on the sofa because they’ve got your bed, so you’ll instantly regret inviting them and not have any privacy to have a good swear about it. 

Do something special

Pile on the pressure to ‘have a nice time’ by going for a meal out or theatre trip. You’ll try to pretend you’re enjoying hearing how much more successful and loving your mum’s friends’ kids are than you, but with the cumulative stress of booking stuff you’ll suddenly lose your shit and the psychological flood gates will open in a really inappropriate place, eg. surrounded by shocked tourists in horribly twee tea shop. 

Go on a mini-break together

When it comes to horrible times, a family holiday will never disappoint. And the shortest stint will be a long weekend, so no less than four days of hell. The possible areas of disagreement are numerous: what to do, where to go, what time to eat, where to eat, how much to spend and who pays for what. It’s like you’ve been given a menu of arguments and encouraged to try them all, free.

Pull out

Cancelling will make you all feel bad – and you’re not even in each other’s company. You’ll feel deeply guilty about having pulled out and claiming your dog’s ear suddenly fell off and you had to rush to vet A&E. They’ll realise dogs’ ears don’t just fall of and you made up a bollocks excuse because you didn’t want to see them. Deeply awkward all round, but don’t think you’ll escape their clutches at Christmas, which will be a million times worse.

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'Peel here' and other food packaging lies

WE’RE all used to being lied to by friends and romantic partners, but it’s particularly upsetting when our trusted supermarket packaging does it. Here are some blatant lies they will expect you to swallow.

‘Peel here’

The peelable flap you find on packs of stuff like bacon or ham is one of history’s greatest scams. The flap either breaks right off in your hand or requires the finger strength of an Olympic mountain climber to get any purchase at all. You’ll have more chance of getting into Beyonce’s knickers than a pack of eight smoked rashers.

‘Serves two’

In an ideal world, we’d all eat the little one-person portions we’re given and feel satisfied. But this is the real world, and we have to accept that – in portion terms – most of us are not one person, but two. Or three people on weekends. This lie doesn’t actually stop people eating larger portions – but it does make them feel like losers.  

‘Same great taste’

Companies love to cut the amount of salt and sugar in their foods and then boast that it still tastes just as good – total bollocks, obviously. The main reason most of us eat anything at all is to get more delicious salt and sugar into our bodies. Making food healthier is a nice thing to do but at least be honest about it, eg. ‘Tastes of f**k all now – but you might live beyond 50.’

‘All natural ingredients’

Words like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ make us feel good – like we’re all pure and at one with Mother Earth. And what could be more natural than chowing down on some titanium dioxide, sodium benzoate and butylated hydroxyanisole? Mmm, just like your dear old mum uses in her Lancashire hotpot. Even the more natural-sounding ingredients are scary and confusing. No normal human being knows what xantham gum or carrageenan are.

‘Stays fresh’

Like the Bermuda Triangle and Area 51, packaging that promises to keep things fresh is one of the great paranormal mysteries of our time. In reality any vegetables bearing this label inexplicably age at a massively accelerated rate and turn into brownish mush like you’re watching a timelapse video. The only solution is eating an entire head of lettuce whenever you fancy a leafy salad.