or do i need to get a grip/ sense of humour?

(40 Posts)
qazxc Sun 28-Jul-13 14:55:01

Long story but i don't want to drip feed.
DGF (who is now dead) had a "secret family". He was married and had a teenage boy going to war. When he came back he didn't go back to them instead he pretended to be single and started a relationship with my DGM (she was 18, he was 36). eventually he got a divorce and married my DGM but the son and ex wife were swept under the carpet (when she died he wouldn't take son in, or admit his existence).

Anyway one of the son's children made contact with my gran (he was researching his family tree) and they have been talking. A meet up barbecue was arranged at DM's house.

So we are all getting to know each other, and he makes a few sexist (IMO) remarks but we just ignore them. My aunt then starts talking about her holiday in Amsterdam, saying that she felt a bit of a fool when someone had to tell her that the ladies in the windows were prostitutes. she said "well i saw a couple of pretty girls dancing in their bedrooms in bikinis and thought why do they not close the curtains?". At this point new half cousin (man in his 60's) turn round to my sister (early 30s and not very good english) "would you not consider a change of career then?". I was shock and rather mortified that he said this in front of my gran, his wife, etc...

The next morning at breakfast, my aunty asked if anyone else had felt uncomfortable. I said that yes, i'd heard a few things that i thought were beyond the pale. My DP and Uncle agreed with us.

Yesterday i get a phone call from mum saying what did you think of new family member and i heard that aunty said she heard some things. I said i also heard and recanted verbatim the exchanges. She said "well he was only joking!" in a YABDU tone.

Am i being to sensitive? is it acceptable banter? or is he in fact a bit of a twat?

(note he was driving his bike back so wasn't drinking)

ImNotBloody14 Sun 28-Jul-13 14:58:05

In my family the comment you quoted would definitely be taken ingood humour as a joke but you havent said what the other things were so i cant really tell. If it was just that one thing then i wouldnt be annoyed if it was regular comments i would maybe be depending on what they were

HeySoulSister Sun 28-Jul-13 14:59:49

Well there's not much you can do is there? Can't choose your family

WitchOfEndor Sun 28-Jul-13 15:01:12

I think they are strange jokes to be making unless you are sure that the audience will laugh it off. I wouldn't be impressed.

Montybojangles Sun 28-Jul-13 15:02:54

Without knowing the other remarks I would think he was trying to make a bit of a joke following on from your aunts funny story.

I imagine he was feeling pretty nervous, meeting you all for the first time, it's possible his mouth was on autopilot and his brain wasn't in full control.

I have a stellar talent for saying the most inappropriate thing possible when under stress.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 28-Jul-13 15:04:29

I don't think YABU. I have NO patience for stupid, sexual jokes like that which demean women and I generally say something at the time. This lets people know that they shouldn't "joke" like that near me....if they continue to do so, then I have nothing to do with them.

Case in point is the Father of one of my DDs mates...he's a big, stupid sex pest who says "flirty" things to women he doesn't know...therefore we have nothing to do with him because he's tacky and creepy.

JaquelineHyde Sun 28-Jul-13 15:04:30

I suspect your new family member was far from his usual self. Meeting you all at the same time, trying desperately to fit in, crack jokes etc etc

I would attempt to get to know this poor guy a bit better before you start being quite so nasty about him.

zookeeper Sun 28-Jul-13 15:05:34

he sounds a bit of a twat but harmless enough

qazxc Sun 28-Jul-13 15:07:47

imnotbloody14 there was quite a few references to women as "bitches" and one explaining what a "bitch pad" was. Oh and some enlightening conversation on the roles of women, namely about them being only good at cleaning and cooking and sleeping with (once they were of an acceptable physical standard for him)

soul sister you're right but i can avoid him though. grin. i was more pissed off at mum making out 4 of us were being utterly unreasonable,and party poopers.

YouTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 15:09:34

I'd put it down to nerves and start again.

zatyaballerina Sun 28-Jul-13 15:10:24

Every family has their own standards. There are some things that dp's family say that have me shock but their intentions are good, it's just a different background where different things are acceptable. Maybe he was nervous and in trying to be funny and break the ice kept saying the wrong thing or maybe he just says things like that because it is normal to him and not offensive in his culture. I really wouldn't be offended by his comments, if someone asked me if I wanted to change careers to be a prostitute I would just bluntly say no, given that he was joking in a certain context, I don't see the point in being offended.

Get to know him better before judging, if something does offend you, tell him, he's not a psychic, we can't know other peoples sensitivities when we don't know where they're coming from.

Beastofburden Sun 28-Jul-13 15:10:31

Yabu, I think, it was your family that started talking about the sex workers in Amsterdam, how would he know where your family draws the line in these things?

Give the poor guy a chance. After all, his father got a pretty raw deal from your grandfather and especially grandmother.

Montybojangles Sun 28-Jul-13 15:10:33

Oh, ok. He's a sexist arse. What the hell is a bitch pad? Something I get my dog to sleep on?

ImNotBloody14 Sun 28-Jul-13 15:11:40

Ah in light of new info he is indeed a sexist fucker and i would have been removing myself from his presence after the first 'bitch' remark

Beastofburden Sun 28-Jul-13 15:11:45

Though having cross posted with your update, it doesn't sound as if you will have a lot in common.

YouTheCat Sun 28-Jul-13 15:13:59

Also cross posted.

He's a twat. Just avoid.

Tee2072 Sun 28-Jul-13 15:14:52

It is a good point that your relations brought up sex workers first. I would imagine he was nervous and looking to be funny.

That being said, it's also everyday sexism. I'd give him another chance, but I'd speak up if he said similar again.

not unreasonable - he sounds like a numpty and given time you'll probably get to hear worse than that. if you'd grown up with him around you'd be used to it and just do the teeth gritting and ideally a knowing eye contact exchange with someone on your wave length or you'd know how to smilingly, subtly put him in his place. as someone family but 'new' you haven't got that.

so as someone else said sadly you can't choose your family. i hear sexism, racism, homophobia and god knows what else from members of mine - some of whom don't even have the excuse of being in their 60's and abandoned by their father in infancy.

Floralnomad Sun 28-Jul-13 15:20:15

You don't need to get a sense of humour because what he said wasn't actually funny . The point here is do you like this man enough to take the relationship further ,if not just keep him at arms length . Personally I find people who research family trees and then contact distant relatives that they never knew about extremely odd ,but that's just my opinion . I'm quite happy with the family I have without trying to dig more out of the woodwork ,apart from relatives what do you have in common with this man ? Would he be someone you would be friends with under different circumstances ?

sonlypuppyfat Sun 28-Jul-13 15:20:49

In my family we all love a bit of banter and understand dark humour but some people just take everything really super literally and you just can't tell them those sorts of jokes you just have to play to your audience really.

miemohrs Sun 28-Jul-13 15:29:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

qazxc Sun 28-Jul-13 15:40:03

I just want to point out that i am absolutely digusted and appalled at what my grandfather did to this man's father. It was absolutely inexcusable.

Montybojangles Sun 28-Jul-13 15:40:22

But surely calling women bitches and stating they are basically for cooking, cleaning and sex is overtly sexist??

I was going with the whole, a bit nervous, your aunt started to conversation idea, until she updated with the rest of the sexist stuff.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 28-Jul-13 15:41:11

People find different things funny its like what you fear soldiers laughing about it would make your toes curl.

perplexedpirate Sun 28-Jul-13 15:46:52

Horrible, sexist, inappropriate ass-hat. I would avoid completely.

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 16:01:56

Your grandfather's behaviour is irrelevent here. Whether or not you want to have a relationship with this man depends on what you think of him. If you don't like him, and he sounds like a sexist prat then you don't have to socialise with him, same as with any other distant relatives you've rarely seen and don't like.

pianodoodle Sun 28-Jul-13 16:05:38

My side of the family can get pretty vulgar at times but the "bitches" remark would make my blood boil!

WafflyVersatile Sun 28-Jul-13 16:11:15

Well you can't choose your family but you can choose whether you bother your arse with them or not.

LookMaw Sun 28-Jul-13 16:14:50

He sounds utterly repulsive. I'm sorry for the way your DGF treated him but that is no excuse for such a vile attitude.

cushtie335 Sun 28-Jul-13 16:33:18

I don't think nerves are an excuse for coming out with that sort of neanderthal shite. You would think he would want to make a good impression, not alienate most of the people there. YANBU to want to avoid this misogynistic bumhole.

Floralnomad Sun 28-Jul-13 16:43:01

I would think if you were a nervous type of person you wouldn't be the type to get in touch with a total stranger in the first place ,so no excuse there. He's just a knob head !

qazxc Sun 28-Jul-13 16:43:17

my grandfather didn't abandon him, he abandoned this man's father. My gran said she talked to my grandfather's son and that he sounds lovely, she was worried that he would be angry at her. She didn't know that my grandad had ever been married, let alone had a son. My grandfather was a very controlling man, which is probably why he picked a teenager half his age as his bride.

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 16:44:05

Why is your mum excusing this bloke and why is she so keen to dismiss offensive comments as "jokes"?
On the whole if something is a joke it's funny and people laugh.
Maybe your mum felt some responsibility for his behaviour as the bbq was at her house.
I presume that although your mum was ignorant of her half brother's existence your grandmother wasn't as she'd have been with your grandfather through the divorce.
Many men of that generation paid very little money to children of their first family when they got divorced, divorce was just less common.
I think it sounds as though your family are trying to be overnice to a bloke they don't really know or like just because of your grandfather's behaviour.
Also your grandfather isn't there to explain his actions. He maybe had a brief fling with the woman and was forced to marry her when she got pregnant but never got on with her and was delighted when he met your grandmother. Maybe it was as much your grandmother's decision not to take in the boy when his mother died. You don't say how old he was when that happened, if the boy was a teenager when your grandfather went to war then I'd have thought he'd be an adult on his return and not in need of taking in when his mother died some years later. Maybe the older teenager boy wanted nothing to do with your grandfather when he divorced his mother. You will know what sort of man your grandfather was, as will your grandmother.
Perhaps he could be unkind which is why your grandmother and mother seem keen to welcome a stranger into the "family". You can have cousins in non-divorced families who are sexist prats and who you avoid though.

2rebecca Sun 28-Jul-13 16:51:11

The fact that he was a divorcee would have been on the certificate your grandmother had to sign when she married your grandfather. It would have said "divorcee" not "single" or "bachelor". Someone is not being truthful.

qazxc Sun 28-Jul-13 17:08:32

That's quite possible 2rebecca, maybe she knew he had been married before but doesn't want to admit.
the point is that the bloke that came to the barbecue wasn't the one that was abandoned. He, from his own account, had a "normal" childhood, so I don't think that he was acting out because of his past.
He also didn't seem shy or nervous at all, but then again maybe he was putting on a front.
I just think that if you are nervous you would be "on your best behavior" so to speak (esp in front of elder family members and children).
I was just quite shocked at my mother's phonecall and attitude, she was basically saying that i was being a pearl clutching drama queen.

MikeOxard Sun 28-Jul-13 17:09:12

Yuck, he sounds like a complete penis, as does your DGF.

Beastofburden Sun 28-Jul-13 17:36:18

Sympathy with op, as the new info she posted does give a different picture of someone with pretty unpleasant views. Hopefully he will get bored and you won't have to see him again.

formicadinosaur Sun 28-Jul-13 17:58:11

We love banter in our family. I expect he was just a little too daft and familiar but do get to know him

xylem8 Sun 28-Jul-13 18:02:54

I would give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 28-Jul-13 18:20:24

That's a very odd way to try to impress / make friends with people. He'd have had to be very, very nervous to slip into autopilot on such an inappropriate track. I'd ask him if that was his usual style of humour in front of his own mother.

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