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So, who is to blame for this?

On one hand, life is full of things kids can get into that can destroy the “thing” or injure the child thus making it imperative that parents supervise their children. My mom’s questions, which I applied to my own children, were “Do you own it? Are you going to buy it? Then don’t touch what isn’t yours.” Respecting other people’s property should be a lesson taught and learned early.

On the other hand, art pieces that can be easily knocked over puts the responsibility on the museum to display the art in a way that minimizes the potential for accidents or museum guests getting a little too interactive with the art.

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As a long-term reader of this site, I’ve come cross many “baby shower” related stories. This is another.

I’m in the UK and the Baby Shower has only very recently made it’s way to us from the US – I’d say within the last five years or so. Admittedly, I know very little about the whole “process” as I don’t have any children nor do a lot of my friends. My family members who have recently had children didn’t have a Baby Shower.

I am currently 27 weeks pregnant with my first (a little girl!) and I’m beyond excited about her arrival. I work full time and I’m quite organised so I budgeted carefully over the past six months or so and managed to purchase the majority of equipment/clothes/nursery furniture for her arrival (with the help of my partner). Of course there are still a few items I need to buy as well as stocking up on nappies and more general things like that – but I’m getting there! I haven’t asked for help or money from parents and I haven’t been gifted anything for the baby just yet.

Having said that, the girls in my office are constantly asking when I’m throwing my Baby Shower. As my pregnancy progresses, the asking has turned to Impatient Demanding near enough with comments such as “you must get this Baby Shower arranged” and “you need to let us know the date of your shower so we can work around it” – also it’ll be thrown into conversations “X will be good for the baby shower!”. These women are excited and impatient about a Shower I have no intention of throwing.

I have said each time the shower was mentioned that I won’t be arranging one. Each time I am met with horrified stares or confusion and so I elaborate further with my reasons – I don’t require one & I am not comfortable with the idea of one and I certainly won’t be throwing myself one. This is met with more strange looks as though I’m being rude and anti social. I suggested instead of a shower situation, we could all go out for a nice lunch before I head off on maternity leave and we can do all the “baby discussions” there! I’m not adverse to receiving gifts for my baby – in fact I’d be so touched – but I certainly don’t want it to be a requirement. The lunch idea was met with near silence pretty much. This isn’t what they had in mind.

I was wondering how I go about this situation now? I’ve already been clear about my personal opinions on the shower idea and tried to suggest an alternative that’ll still show that I’m grateful for their effort and support but I am still being hassled about throwing myself a shower. The rude part of me feels like saying “if you want the shower so much then YOU throw me one” but that seems aggressive and still goes against all my above reasons for not wanting one anyway. I feel these women are getting quite offended by my declining now. Do I .. throw MYSELF a shower anyway just to please them? 0617-18

You have co-workers who are not out for your best interests but rather theirs.   They are cruel to offer gifts only under the condition that you host a party.   If you want baby gifts you’ll have to work for them.  Even worse is the implied exchange of baby gifts for your expenditure of time AND money to host a party for yourself.  This isn’t kindness and generosity, it’s bartering of goods and services.   Their free time beyond work is far more important than yours since hosting a party in your honor is obviously too onerous to even consider doing.

As has been written here on Ehell many times,  you are under no obligation to cater to the demands of rude people who insist you behave in ways you are not comfortable doing.

Think of your remaining weeks at work as preparation for parenthood of very small children.   Demanding, incessant whining, selfishness, confusion when confronted with “No”, tantrums, etc., are all childish behaviors every parent encounters when rearing and child training their offspring to eventually be good adults.

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My fiancé and I are planning to get married in fall 2020. We are on a quite small budget (preferably under 7k not including dress) and we are doing everything ourselves instead of hiring a planner, hence why I am asking this question so far ahead of time!

After kicking around a couple venue ideas, he suggested renting a large beach house at a nearby beach for the ceremony and reception. We just cannot afford to reserve a block of hotel rooms plus a venue, but some of our guests are on a very tight travel budget (mostly on his side) and we would love to be able to provide them with a low-cost sleeping arrangement. Some of the houses we are looking at would mean that for guests, it would be as low-cost as $200 per room for an entire week in a beach town! To clarify, that doesn’t mean that fiancé and I would only end up paying $200 for the week either – we would be paying the big lion’s share, plus event fee.

By renting a house instead of just a one-night venue, we get much more fun for the money, and get to have a mini-honeymoon after the wedding with some of our close friends and family. This is really the only aspect of the wedding that fiancé has been very vocal about preferring.

However, we are not going to be able to offer everyone overnight accommodation in the house, both because of space and lifestyle differences. I can’t imagine hosting my elderly, old-fashioned grandparents in the same home as some of our friends, for instance. And some guests, like my aunts from a number of states away, likely don’t want to hang out for multiple days with strangers.

What is the best way to divide the beach-house guests from the non-beach-house guests? All of the non-house guests would have no financial problem getting their own accommodation, but I don’t want to make anyone feel like a B-lister. We are only planning on inviting 35 people max, so it would not be a “select few” in the house while a big crowd has to find their own lodgings.

My plan so far would be to include a little extra card in with the paper invitation, sent out decently ahead of time for time-off’s sake, inviting the beach-house guests to stay and keep the fun going with us. All guests’ invitations would link to a wedding website which would include policies and rules of the rental (there are several with any beach house), such as no smoking, party has to end at a specific time, where to park, et cetera. 0420-18

Hmm, this is a conundrum.   My first thought is that you are presuming to know the preferences of all of your guests as to whether they would prefer the beach house accommodation versus a hotel.   Second, presuming that some of your guests are able to afford the more expensive hotel option.  Third,  you want to put the information regarding the beach house on the wedding web site all guests will have access to read it.   Fourth,  it sounds like you are categorizing guests into the “fun crowd we want to hang with” and the “old fuddy duddies”.   It just seems to me that there are too many presumptions that have the potential to backfire on you in the form of offended guests who were specifically not offered the option of a cheap beach vacation.

I’d send the same card to everyone and let the chips fall where they may.   People who really want to be with you that post-wedding week will hustle to RSVP and get in on the cheap beach house accommodations.   People who wait will lose out.   This is what happens when a block of rooms are reserved at a hotel, the first guests who RSVP get those rooms and when they are gone, oh, well.   Too bad for those who waited.

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No Means No, Guys… And Gals

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of conversations about how men treat women and two stories keep coming to mind. While neither of these incidents felt like harassment and I didn’t feel unsafe, both made me feel like these men felt completely entitled to my time and attention.

I was nineteen and working in a twenty hour convenience store in my small hometown while on my summer break from university.

One afternoon, a regular came in to pay for a tank of gas. He was my dad’s age. He was crying and I asked if I could help. A friend of his had died. I offered condolences and told him that his coffee was on us.

He came in a few nights later when I was working the graveyard shift. I was making deli sandwiches for the next day and he asked if he could buy one and hang out for a bit. Umm, sure. Ok. I kept working and he kept eating. He ate three foot long subs and stayed and talked for a couple of hours. I figured he needed someone to listen so I worked and listened.

He came back a couple of nights later and did the same thing. He paid for the sandwiches he ate and listening to him didn’t slow me down at all.  Then he came back a third time. Hmmmm. I began to mention my boyfriend. A lot.  This guy came back a few more times and I started to say things like “yeah my dad likes that music/tv show too” just to subtly remind him that he was a lot older than me.

After a couple weeks of this, he asked if he could take me out for dinner. I said no, that I wasn’t comfortable with that. He argued that it would just be as friends and I repeated that I didn’t want to.
His parting words?   “Yeah well I hope your boyfriend is the kind of man who gives you at least two orgasms before he’s done.” He shouted that across the store and in front of other customers. Then he called the store to give me one last chance to reconsider.

The second story took place a few years later. I was working in a cell phone store and we had to run credit checks for anyone who wanted to sign a contract.  A man came in and his first words to me were “I just went bankrupt from an ugly divorce, how much will my deposit be for a new plan?”  I offered to check and, when he presented his driver’s license, I mentioned that he was born in the same year as my dad.

His bankruptcy hadn’t posted with the credit bureaus yet and he didn’t need to pay a security deposit. So, we selected a plan and a phone for him.  As I began setting up his account, he told me about his divorce. Then he asked to take me out for coffee. I replied that I didn’t date customers. He turned to my co worker and asked if he could set up the account instead so that the two of us could have coffee.
I said that I still wasn’t interested and kept working on his account.

He proceeded to tell me why dating him would be a great idea and I politely and firmly kept declining. (My co worker was with another customer and I just wanted this guy processed quickly and gone. Our manager would have been furious if I’d have turned away a sale.) I finished his account quickly and handed him his phone.

He helped himself to one of my business cards (we all had ours in a stand in the counter) and asked when I worked next. I wished him a nice day and turned away to help the next customer. He responded by promising to call our store every day until I said yes.

As he was leaving the store, he called out that he’d call the next day and that saying yes to him would be “the best thing you’d ever do in your life”.

He did call. And I politely explained that any further calls would result in a call back . . . from our corporate security department.

I’m in my late thirties now and this doesn’t happen nearly as often to me now as it used to. But I see some of my younger friends having to deal with this and it’s frustrating. No means no, guys. 0129-18

The OP of the above story is clearly communicating “No” to these men early in the conversation and consistently.   There is no ambiguity as to what she is saying and it is incumbent upon the men to honor that clearly stated message.

Contrast this to another story that hit the news media about the same time this story above was submitted. It was regarding the alleged sexual harassment of a young woman named “Grace” by actor Aziz Ansari.

In a 3,000 word report published on a feminist blog, “Grace” recounts, in detail, her date with the Emmy award winning actor which she describes as “the worst night of my life”.   Grace and Ansari meet at a 2017 Emmys after party, exchange phone numbers, he calls her to arrange a dinner date which they have.  After dinner they retire back to his apartment where things get frisky enough that they are now both naked and he obviously wants to move forward into penetrative intercourse.   It is only when he suggests sex in front of a mirror that Grace FINALLY uses the word “No”.   Ansari promptly backs off, suggests they get their clothes back on and they watch an episode of Seinfield after which he calls a taxi for her.   The next day he sends her a complimentary text to which she replies that last night may have been fun for him but it was a disaster for her. Ansari apologizes.

Bari Weiss of the New York Times wrote a fiery response to the article in a piece titled “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader.”  (The link to the original story is embedded in this article, btw.)  Excerpts below…

If you are wondering what about this evening constituted the “worst night” of this woman’s life, or why it is being framed as a #MeToo story by a feminist website, you probably feel as confused as Mr. Ansari did the next day. “It was fun meeting you last night,” he texted.

“Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me,” she responded. “You ignored clear nonverbal cues; you kept going with advances. You had to have noticed I was uncomfortable.” He replied with an apology.

Read her text message again.

Put in other words: I am angry that you weren’t able to read my mind.

It is worth carefully studying this story. Encoded in it are new yet deeply retrograde ideas about what constitutes consent — and what constitutes sexual violence.

We are told by the reporter that the woman “says she used verbal and nonverbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was.”

Weiss concludes her article citing examples of clear communication regarding consent that would have had no occasion to be misunderstood:

I am a proud feminist, and this is what I thought while reading the article:

If you are hanging out naked with a man, it’s safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you.

If the failure to choose a pinot noir over a pinot grigio offends you, you can leave right then and there.

If you don’t like the way your date hustles through paying the check, you can say, “I’ve had a lovely evening and I’m going home now.”

If you go home with him and discover he’s a terrible kisser, say, “I’m out.”

If you start to hook up and don’t like the way he smells or the way he talks (or doesn’t talk), end it.

If he pressures you to do something you don’t want to do, use a four-letter word, stand up on your two legs and walk out his door.

The solution to these problems does not begin with women torching men for failing to understand their “nonverbal cues.” It is for women to be more verbal. It’s to say, “This is what turns me on.” It’s to say, “I don’t want to do that.” And, yes, sometimes it means saying goodbye.

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