General Question

earlybird's avatar

What does this odd Christmas gift mean?

Asked by earlybird (26points) January 4th, 2015

My in-laws gave me a frying pan for Christmas.

A little background; I had a falling out with my father in law this year. He told me of things I wasn’t doing right. So with my wife’s okay, I’ve been keeping my distance. I’ve spent time with them since on holidays. Well here comes Christmas and they give me a frying pan. We have multiple frying pans.

Is this stupid gift or a threat?

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31 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

It’s hard to buy gifts for people you don’t know well. It might be simply re-gifting something he had on hand. Regardless, I would assume the best, that he wanted to give you something.

JLeslie's avatar

The new Calphalon nonstick pans that are dishwasher safe are on my wish list! I’d be thrilled if someone bought me them.

I wouldn’t read too much into it.

janbb's avatar

My guess is regift.

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

Assuming you’re not in a same-sex relationship (never a sure assumption on Fluther), you are the male husband of a wife whose father has vocally disapproved of some things that you’ve done, and you’re not feeling the love there. And now he has given you a frying pan as a Christmas gift. That is, you personally, and not a couples gift for “you and your wife”.

If there’s a message to be gotten there, perhaps he’s suggesting that unless you straighten up and fly right – by his lights – you’ll be doing your own cooking in the future. Again, that’s because of an underlying and admittedly old-fashioned assumption on my part – which I freely admit to – that your wife does most of the cooking at present.

Really, how can we make reasoned insights into your life if this is all you give us to go on? Maybe the other respondents are correct, and someone gave him (or them) a gift that they can’t use.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think it means that frying pans were on sale at the hardware store.

If you want clearer insight from us, you’re going to have to tell us why your father-in-law disapproves of you.

earlybird's avatar

I have been married for sixteen years, I think he knows me well. It’s not a re-gift. They’ve given my many great gifts.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Did you (or your wife) ever complain about the cooking equipment you have? Who buys the presents in your in laws home? My husband only buys my presents. He very, very rarely buys presents for anyone else. So did your father in law or your mother in law buy this present? Do you cook? Does your wife want you to cook more?

So many questions would need answering to really gain any sense of whether this frying pan carries some implicit message for you.

Pachy's avatar

Well, it sure beats heck out of a lump of coal. Maybe he’s hinting he wants you to cook a make-up dinner. ;-)

earlybird's avatar

Did you all notice that this was in general and not social. Okay, consensus is not implicit meaning.

jca's avatar

Without more details, it’s hard to guess. Others have asked but you did not answer. Why does he disapprove of you? What did you do that upset him or your wife?

earlybird's avatar

We are in financially difficult times. He told me I should be nothing but working, given our financial situation. I should be working 80 hours a week according to him. I have been learning photography on the side, but he thinks I’m wasting my time. My wife doesn’t work but that didn’t come up he doesn’t think that’s an issue.
He also said I wasn’t spiritually leading my family behind my back to my wife.

jca's avatar

@earlybird: Do you work at all? Is it a full time job?

chyna's avatar

Does it mean that he thinks you should “bring home the bacon”? In other words, stop wasting your time with photography and get a second job?
Note: I do not think you are wasting your time with photography.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Are you from a different cultural background to the majority here? I ask because of your last response. If your father in law is from a different cultural background to say me, he and I may have very different perspectives.

Do you have children? Do you help out at home? Perhaps he’s hinting that if you have time to learn photography, you could do more cooking to help your wife. Pure guesswork on my part of course.

Also, so far I think everyone has been on topic. They’re just asking you for more detail.

earlybird's avatar

@jca, yes I work a full time job. I do at least half the house work and caring for the children.

jca's avatar

Maybe your full time job is one that he does not approve of, either because he considers it menial or it does not pay well?

I thought of “bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan” like the old Charlie commercials. I see @chyna thought the same thing.

earlybird's avatar

@chyna, Yes on all that

earlybird's avatar

I’m in real estate, so it’s a cyclical thing. I have a great job, but my wife told them that I need this other designation, so now my in-laws are stuck on me getting this on top of all the other stress I’m under.

jca's avatar

Are the inlaws helping you out financially? How do you get by when you have no/low income from commissions, with your wife not working?

earlybird's avatar

Yes, this was sparked by them having to pay an auto repair (brakes) bill. Otherwise we’ve been squeezing by. This gift was very, very out of the norm from them.

jca's avatar

I am guessing that maybe you live with them. Maybe they don’t see an end in sight and feel their daughter should be with someone more ambitious. I think either they’re saying bring home the bacon or they’re saying you may be living solo soon.

earlybird's avatar

No, we have a great home, but running behind on the mortgage for a while.

chyna's avatar

It’s very hard to live on a commission type job. Maybe for now you do need to find a job that pays a regular salary and keep your realtor job as part time until it picks up in the spring and summer.

earlybird's avatar

Thanks @chyna , We have set a course to make some changes soon if it doesn’t improve. My In-laws are making judgments from a distance, and now this really weird gift. Just more craziness. I’m not stuck on it that much but just thought I would throw it out to fluther.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca The “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan” thing is kind of gender-specific, though. The point of the meme is that the woman in question can both work and run a household. It wouldn’t mean the same thing to say this to a man, particularly if the accusation is that the man should not be at home. This gift doesn’t convey that message at all.

@earlybird Sometimes a frying pan is just a frying pan. If this gift is supposed to convey a personal message to you, it’s not doing a very good job of it.

JLeslie's avatar

I will revise my answer.

I completely understand why you think the gift is a slight towards you. Significant changes in gift giving I take that way also. I find it to be pretty passive aggressive if that is indeed what they are doing. Passive aggressive behavior when done enough literally reduces my trust and love for a person. I find it impossible to have a close relationship with someone who employs that bevaior a lot.

Since you mention the spiritual leader thing, I am going to guess they are religious, and they don’t feel you are being the “man” in the family you should be. Screw them. All you need to worry about is that you and your spouse are onnthe same page with your current situation and are working together and supporting each other.

My advice is, ignore them. They disapprove, it doesn’t matter. I understand why it is disturbing, and it probably does affect your marriage a little that your inlaws are judging (I wish it didn’t) but do your best to focus on your wife and not the mishegas and kibbitzing (crazy choas and people giving unwanted advice).

If by any chance you and your wife had bought a house and a big mortgage that even you now also wonder was the right decision, all I can say is, we all learn as we go, and your wife I am sure made the decision with you. So, don’t let your inlaws make you feel like you did something wrong.

earlybird's avatar

@JLeslie yes, yes and yes. Thank you. That affirms most of what I’m doing and what they are doing as well and what I’m doing in response to them.

Thank you everyone for contributing.

JLeslie's avatar

Welcome to fluther!

jca's avatar

It seems natural for in-laws to be judgmental of their sons or daughters-in-law. After all, the person is married to their child, and as parents, it’s natural to want the best for our children. I’m not married and I never was, and I’d imagine it would irk the crap out of me, having someone make judgments, watching me and commenting (as I see happen to my friends, by their in-laws, on occasion). I know when I was younger and dating, my mother tried to guide me and gave her opinion freely about who I dated. I didn’t always appreciate her commenting but now I know she had good intentions.

I will be there with my daughter one day and I am sure it won’t be easy.

Here2_4's avatar

I think it means you can be forgiven if you cook up something real delicious in the pan.

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