On Cousins

16/05/2014 11:40 BST | Updated 15/07/2014 10:59 BST

Cousins are a troublesome group.

Cousins, from the French: Cushions, are people you know and don't know. Like the milkman and Kanye West. They are a collection of similar DNA placed at the interpersonal distance equivalent to the being across a well lily padded pond in that you recognise parts of them but their details are shaky and their odour is damp.

Etymologicallyallyally and romantically cousins are most popular in the South of the United States of America because of their French background courtesy of the Bourbon royal family's support during the American civil war. When a representative from the Bourbon family remarked on a Southern emissary's particularly husky young female cousin's behind as being "More cushion for the pushin", an idiom and a lifestyle were born. Immediately thinking that sleeping with portly semi-distant relatives was all the rage in Paris and not wanting to be seen as provincial, every Southerner with a braeburn shaped uncle's daughter was to be suddenly gallivanting about town, arm in arm with their rotund kin saying things like "Extra grits for my lovely blood relative please." the goal being to have the most cousin for "pushin" to show off they're ability to not only afford to feed their cousins to the point of what was eventually to become an epidemic, but also to show that, like the French, they too got hard at the mere thought of big fat cousins.

Soon after it was discovered that these Southern aristocrats thought that French people were cousin lovers the Bourbon Family (themselves from a bamboo shoot of a family tree) became affronted at such behavior and ordered their support for the confederates be revoked thus winning the war for the the Union. The French left without a word and it has always been assumed by the population of the confederate states that it was because they had beaten the French, known to be the world's great lovers, at their own game and instead of admitting they had been bettered at inbreeding had simply left in a huff like cowards in the night. A reputation that the Second World War did nothing to help.

However for most of us cousins are simply the people we have to visit at the less important holidays like Thanksgiving and your grandmother's birthday who smell wrong and have strange family traditions. Here is my field guide to dealing with cousins:

1.Don't have sex with your cousin.

2.If your cousin offers to have sex with you kindly decline and say "I think Grandma's opening her presents now we should probably go back into the living room".

2a. Say this especially when it's not your grandmother's birthday so your cousin thinks you might have lost your mind. It will comfort them to believe that even if you do tell someone what they proposed no one will believe crazy old you anyways which will make the next time they ask you to pass the stuffing much less awkward.

3.Don't introduce your cousins to your friends. Cousins are inevitably lonely people (except for you of course. you are the cousin that has it all going on.) and will latch desperately onto your friend group and claim kinship as the reason you have to let them hang out with you. It's much easier to just give them a false phone number and go about your business.

I hope this has been helpful and informative.