Dealing with an in-law who hates tattoos: Advice from Carolyn Hax

Dear Carolyn, We will spend about eight days with my husband’s family soon. I recently got a tattoo on my wrist, which I’ve wanted for years. My father-in-law repeatedly said tattoos were tacky, ugly, and disgraceful.I don’t care what he thinks of it. He will, however, make snide remarks whenever he has the chance. I will wear long sleeves to protect myself from his bad attitude. What are some excellent responses or comments you could make? My husband hasn’t said anything to his dad about it.

Staying in a hotel for eight days isn’t possible, because I don’t want to spend the money. Also, my father-in-law is a single man who lives in a house with two bedrooms.

Tattooed: Oh my goodness, don’t hide from him, literally or figuratively, with sleeves or hotels.

Just this: “Thanks! I might get another disgrace on my other wrist.”

Then, the next day or so: “Oh, we’re still talking about this?” Then, after that, when you bother to respond: “Okey-dokey, Pop.” He can fulminate for all eight days into the giant void that once held your interest in what he has to say.

Can we now talk about your spouse? Or is he like a plant in a pot?

And those eight days you’re planning to stay? Under high-snark conditions, I’m thinking 48 hours, tops. Some “wasted” money is very, very well spent.

· Ummm, why isn’t your husband standing up for you and telling your father-in-law where to shove it? Have you ever seen your husband remain silent when you have been mistreated before? Alarms, alarms.

· My response to my mother’s smartass remarks about my tattoos has been to the extent of, “Well, it is a good thing nobody is forcing you to get any then!” It took a long time to get there, though.

Dear Carolyn, What do you do with a friend who seems to think you’ll always split appetizers with them at happy hour? Once a month, we meet, have a few drinks, and order an appetizer. I don’t like mayonnaise. I’m not allergic to it; I don’t like it. This limits what I can order. I don’t point out that I wouldn’t say I like Mayo or that it’s gross. I try to keep it out of sight.

One of my friends always insists that I share, for example, crab cakes with them. And when I mention there’s mayonnaise in them, she goes off about how I cannot like mayonnaise … wow, I must not eat all kinds of excellent food then … that’s so weird that you don’t like mayonnaise.

I’m over it. We’re meeting tonight. How can I end this conversation quickly before she continues?

Split: Tell her to stop touching your food for the sake of all that’s holy. Stop blaming Mayo. You don’t want to share, so say you don’t want to share. You can growl to show your dislike for Roy Kent. It would be nice to add a hiss.

You can thank him for his obtuseness in forcing you to stop explaining yourself politely and instead say no. Nooooooo. NO. Own what you desire. “I don’t want to split an appetizer.” If you need practice, say it in the shower, tell it to the mirror, and say it to your pets.

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