I’m getting married soon. The wedding planning process hasn’t been my favorite thing, but the dress part was pretty exciting. My mom expressed that she wanted it to be a me and her deal–which I also really wanted, but then felt sort of bad for my MIL and didn’t know if I should include her or not in the process. While talking about things, my SIL said how she was excited to go wedding dress shopping and my MIL quickly intervened and said “Now, that’s between the bride and her mother”. I was so relieved that that was cleared (and by her at that) and went on about my way with looking for a dress with my mom.

Time went by and my MIL got curious as to if I had found a dress yet. She asked where I was looking, etc. I told her about a consignment shop and she made a huge deal about how she didn’t want me to wear a “used” wedding dress and how I should be getting something “new” for my “new” life with her son. I could care less about where the dress is from—if I can get an expensive dress for a fraction of the price, I’m all for that! I’m not the type to want to overdo it on expensive things. As long as my guests are fed, drinking, and having a good time, the extravagancy of the rest doesn’t really matter. I don’t believe in going into debt over a wedding. I was taken aback when she asked what my budget was, so I just made a number up because I didn’t think my mom would like for me to divulge that kind of information, since she was paying for the dress. Over the holidays, my MIL mentioned to my mom how she didn’t want me to get a “used” dress from a consignment shop, etc. etc. and this infuriated my mother and she got mad at me for even saying anything about it. I felt bad because I just wanted to make MIL feel a bit included, but was very mad about her even saying that to my mom. I expressed my concern with the fiance, but he just said his mom wanted me to have everything since she didn’t get much on her wedding day, etc. etc. I decide I’m not sharing anymore dress information.

Time goes by again and I finally find a dress. It’s very simple, but totally me and I love it. MIL asks if I find a dress, and I figure, what the hell, I’ll show her a picture. I know she won’t like it, but I’m well prepared to hear her opinion and let it go by. She first says it’s nice, but so plain.. I tell her I love it like that because it’s classic and my style, plus I can add my own touch to it. She says if I’m happy, then that’s good. There’s a pause.. and then she just starts saying how she’s going to be honest and that she really doesn’t like it because she thinks I need to wear something more grand and special, etc etc. I sit and listen to the rant for a bit, say multiple times that I love it, and end of story. I go to do a load of laundry and come back about 10 minutes later..

She continues by saying “If there’s a financial problem with the dress, I can put money down to help you get the one you ACTUALLY want”. I was VERY taken aback.. I reassure her again that that’s the dress I want. She continues “are you sure, are you sure??” and says how she just thought I was more fancy, based on my parents’ house, and based on how “fancy” my mom dresses and how “fancy” the stores she shops at are. I was very confused about that comment because I didn’t know how she would know where my mom shops at, but then remembered one occurence where my mom wanted to show me a dress for herself for the wedding and we were all together. The dress was a well-known more expensive brand, but my mother is an adult and can do what she wants and buy what she wants. I’m guessing MIL saw the prices when in that store and based on that last comment, it was almost like she was saying my mother is willing to spend hundreds on a dress for herself, but is too cheap to get me a multi-thousand dollar wedding gown. MIL continues about how her dress was picked for her and she didn’t get to have her dream wedding and just wants me to have the best.

I was very prepared to hear opinions about my dress, but the second financial part and the comment about my mom being “fancy” really crossed the line with me. I’m almost really turned off and don’t even want to get anymore opinions about anything. I haven’t spoken to my fiance about it because I don’t want to put him in the middle of it, again. Any way I can handle things in the future when trying to include her? We have very different opinions about everything and it’s exhausting- they believe that it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event and even seem to be willing to go broke over it, while I am more realistic and think it’s just one day and there’s no need to go overboard on everything. I don’t know what else to do.   0108-14

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Little Brats Sometimes Grow Up To Be Big Brats

by admin on October 17, 2017

I’m from a very small town and I grew up on a street full of kids my age and in my class at school. Although we all had our differences, we got along well enough as we grew up. But when we were younger the girls on our street were ruled by Sarah. She lived in a gorgeous little house and always had really great clothes and toys and her mom was by far the prettiest mom on the street. The rest of us were always a little awestruck by her even though she was just plain nasty to us.

As we got older, she began to get into a lot of trouble. She drank, ran around with boys and was smoking among other things by the time she was in the seventh grade and it wasn’t long after that that she was sent to live elsewhere.

Ten years later we had all graduated and gone our separate ways and Sarah was long forgotten. I had been to university in another part of the country and I moved to a major city close to my home town when I was finished. I had been dating a boy from back home and he was my first serious relationship. We were spending a weekend in our old town and were invited to a small party at his best friends house. His friend just happened to be dating Sarah’s sister and both she and Sarah were there.

Sarah and I had not set eyes on each other in about a decade and she eagerly regaled me with tales of her life. She had quite the colourful life! I listened politely, showed appropriate responses (“Then I lost my job.” “Oh no.” “I moved back home and its going well.” “Oh good! I’ll bet your mom is thrilled to have you close by.”) and so on. Then she asked what I was doing. I had accepted a job in sales with a big telecom company that had recently moved to our part of the country. It was an awesome job! I didn’t brag though. I just said that I was in sales for such and such company. She was shocked.

“Really? My goodness are you serious? I just cannot believe that!”
I thought that she was being complimentary. She wasn’t.
“I’m shocked. I mean you were always so smart. I thought for sure that you’d be something successful like a doctor or something. You seriously work there? Wow.”

My job wasn’t glamorous but I’ve been there for nearly ten years now and it pays well, provides excellent benefits and is a job.

There was some drinking that night and the roads were icy so we all slept over. Breakfast was the perfect time to get more digs in. And Sarah didn’t pass up that opportunity.

“I seem to remember that you were always a very strong Christian. Yet you slept in your boyfriends room and – maybe I’m wrong – but you slept in his bed too. Are you guys being intimate? Isn’t that entirely against what you believe? I just can’t believe how far you’ve fallen. I mean I know I have my past but I’m going to church with my mom now and now that I know that sex outside of marriage is a sin I feel so guilty and terrible. If I had known that it was a sin before then I would have never done it. How can you, knowing that you’re sinning against God, still do that?”

Even Sarah’s sister was shocked by this. I was too stunned to say anything more than that my life was between me and God and that I was content to leave it at that. 1108-13

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The Neighborly Note

by admin on October 16, 2017

I live on the second floor of a three-plex. My roommates and I had the following letter placed in our mailbox (one of them threw it out before I got to it to make this post, so this is transcribed as best I can remember):

Dear Residents of [Our Address]:
We have a concern we want to raise with you. We are asking you to please be aware of when and how much you walk around in your apartment, especially at night when the noise makes it hard for us to study and sleep, and especially on the right side of the building.

Thank you,
Your Downstairs Neighbors

Now, I would understand if we were stomping around or blasting music, but all we were doing was walking! Now, this apartment is rather old and creaky (and believe me, it’s as annoying for us, since we’re still below another apartment, as it is for them), but we weren’t doing anything particularly out of the ordinary, the floors were carpeted, and none of us were even in the habit of wearing shoes in the apartment. The right side of the building was also where all of our bedrooms were, and the only hallway leading to the bathroom, so it wasn’t like we could stay out of that part of the unit.

To her credit, my roommate replied with a very courteous note that was basically a longer version of the Ehell-approved “I cannot accommodate your request” (detailing briefly the fact that one roommate had a very early class, two of us worked until after 10pm, and one roommate’s dog occasionally needed to go out in the middle of the night, and also saying that we were sorry for the problem and see what we could do), but I was shocked by the person or people who would send a request like that. What do you think? 1216-13

I think it’s always better to communicate rather than have neighbors who say nothing but instead retaliate with amplified noise making of their own or who complain continually to the landlord.

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Th editing of the movie clips to sync with the music is superb.

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No Invitation To This Family Dinner

by admin on October 12, 2017

This happened to me a number of years ago, but I still wonder if there was a breach of etiquette, or if I was just overly sensitive at the time.

When I was thirty, I joined an internet dating site and met a young man online called “Jack”. Jack was only 25, but he and I clicked almost immediately and began corresponding. He lived in a city on the other side of the country, but after about two months we decided that, as things were progressing well, it would be good to meet in person. For various reasons, it made more sense for me to visit him, rather than vice versa, so I booked a ticket to visit for five days. I was staying with a friend in that city, and planned to spend one day solely with her, but the understanding was that if things were going well, Jack and I would spend the majority of the remaining four days together.

Although Jack and I felt we might be a good match, his family (especially his father) did not agree, which was an issue as he lived at home with his sister and parents. Firstly, they did not approve of the five year age gap, or the fact that I “needed” to use the internet to find a boyfriend. (Of course, the same might be said of Jack, but they did not see it that way!) At the time, I was working full time as a teacher assistant while doing some postgraduate study: although my salary was sufficient for me, I made much less than Jack did as a nurse at a private hospital, which also concerned his parents. Thirdly, I am vegetarian and Jack was not – another point of concern. Finally, it was suggested that I was not very “athletic”. This confused me initially: while it is true that I do not enjoy team sports, and am not good at them, I do enjoy active pursuits such as cycling, swimming, multi-day hikes and fun runs. It eventually became clear that “athletic” was a euphemism for “attractive” and I can’t dispute that. I’m afraid that I am quite average – neither ugly nor beautiful – in the looks department.

Despite this opposition, Jack met me at the airport and after the expected nervousness, we found that we got on very well indeed. That afternoon, however, his father called and told Jack that he was expected home that evening for family dinner, which meant Jack, his parents, his sister and his sister’s boyfriend. I was not invited. I could tell that Jack felt uncomfortable at having to relay this, but he did not want to upset his parents. So he dropped me back at my friend’s place and went home as instructed. Assuming I would be busy, my friend had already gone out, so I spent a lonely evening.

Was it rude of his father not to invite me to dinner? Was it rude of Jack to take me back to my accommodation early and leave me there? Or was it a perfectly reasonable thing to do?

(For the record, Jack’s family did invite me over to dinner a few nights later, and went to the trouble of making a vegetarian dish specifically for me, but sadly they continued to disapprove of me. After offering to help with dinner, for example, and being told that no help was needed, I took my hosts at their word; but apparently I should have made a second offer, as my failure to help was considered rude. Perhaps it was. In any case, the relationship ended a few months later, largely in part to the family’s disapproval.) 0126-14

Jack was not ready for a committed relationship as evidenced by his still living at home and that he could meekly acquiesce to a summons to appear for family dinner.  He was not yet an independent man but was subordinate to his father.

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Wedding Wednesday – Go Away, Jay!

by admin on October 11, 2017

I’ve been reading through your archives when I was reminded of the worst event surrounding my husband’s and my wedding (and yes, I realize that I was very fortunate that this was the only issue!) This is truly my husband’s story, although I was privy to parts of it.

As a bit of background, my then Future Husband (FH) and I had met during college via a Live Action Role Play (LARP) group. After we graduated, he joined/helped start a group for the LARP in his hometown, which he invited a number of his coworkers to join. Most of them did, including one whom I’ll call Jay. Jay was one of those guys we’ve probably all encountered in college: a bit too loud, a bit socially awkward, but you’re pretty sure might possibly be coming from an okay place. Except in Jay’s case, once you got friendly, he began to overstep boundaries. Hard.

The worst case was one night while my FH and I were Skyping one another (we had a period of long-distance dating for a while), Jay showed up at FH’s place. At 3 AM. Unannounced and simply just to hang out. When FH told him it wasn’t possible and cited the fact that he and I were currently on the phone, Jay proceeded to make lewd remarks and sounds. Suffice to say, neither my FH or I were particularly happy with him for that one, and FH began to limit contact with Jay. This limiting was further helped by the fact that FH quit that particular job to work elsewhere.

But Jay was still a member of the local LARP chapter, so he knew when I moved in with FH that we were getting married soon.

So he began to pester FH for the date. FH beandipped as best he could for a while (he hasn’t had a lot of practice and tends to be fairly blunt), but eventually, after a LARP meeting, spilled the proverbial beans.

Jay’s immediate question after hearing the date: “So who am I riding down with? And where am I sleeping?”

Please note, FH nor myself had ever made any indication that he was going to be invited to our wedding. In fact, beyond FH’s best man, none of the LARP group had gotten an invitation. So his question was pretty stunning.

FH, trying to be polite about the fact that Jay wasn’t, in fact, invited, told Jay that there wasn’t enough room in cars or a set place to stay. At which point, Jay insisted that we, the wedding couple, could travel in separate cars so he could get a ride and that he’d be willing to sleep on my parents’ floor since that was where we’d be staying!

At that point, FH told Jay outright that he wasn’t invited. Jay at that point looked crestfallen and told my FH, “That cuts me deep, man. That really hurts.” He then got into his car and drove away.

And we’ve literally never heard from him again. 0126-14

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Just One of Many Thousands …or, Shannon Doherty, Your Breast Cancer Story Is Not My Cancer Story

October 9, 2017

As regular readers know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer this past May and had taken a sabbatical from posting during surgery recovery. As this particular cancer journey has progressed, I have become increasingly aware of how much misinformation and stereotypes there are regarding breast cancer and the significant role social media and the media […]

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Social Media Party Pics Reveal Who Was Invited And Who Was Not

October 5, 2017

It used to be that when you did not invite someone to an event, you just kept quiet about it. Etiquette dictated you did not discuss events to which you were invited with people who were not invited. If you were uncertain whether or not an individual was invited to the event you did not […]

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