I work with some wonderful people in a very straight-laced and Southern Baptist school, and my co-worker (let’s call her Tammy) asked to throw a work shower for my upcoming wedding at her house; all the principals, administrators and headmaster’s wife were invited. I felt so blessed that she offered, and I graciously accepted. My supervisor, we’ll call her Jill, and who is also an administrator, seems to feel that she always needs to be the center of attention. When she heard that Tammy would be throwing me a shower, she volunteered to help her, and my co-worker Tammy accepted.
Fast-forward to the shower, and Tammy has gone all out–it’s catered (albeit it is a dry shower, which I was fine with; I would prefer to be semi-professional at a work shower, anyway), and there are scrap-booking activities, and of course the typical shower games! As I was opening gifts, I get to Jill’s, which is a wrapped box inside a Victoria Secret’s bag. Yes, among the towels, sheets and kitchenware, MY SUPERVISOR is the only one who gave me lingerie, as I had told Tammy that I was not comfortable opening “personal” items in front of my co-workers, and she had passed this request on verbally if asked for gift ideas. Jill ignored this request, and apparently said that, “I would get over it. It’ll be the only thing she’ll love using anyway.” So, here I am pulling a thong and a pair of crotchless underwear out of this box. I smile and say, “Thank you so much!”, while shoving it back in the box, but Jill very cleverly says, “What is it? Show it around!” So, I hold it up for a couple of seconds. Jill tells me, “Oh, that’s not long enough; pass them around, so everyone can see!”
It gets worse; one of my co-workers (who was also a good friend) was writing down everything I said as I opened the gifts. I know that this is a fun shower game, but perhaps it is not the best choice at such an event, especially considering the audience. As this colleague/friend was about to start reading the list, Jill grabs it out of her hand, stands up and pretends to be me on my wedding night. She mimics my characteristic laugh, and reads (and ad-libs things I certainly didn’t say) in an extremely suggestive manner, with whoops, and some hip movements what I will supposedly say and do on my “first time.” The list of quotes goes on for four pages (I got a lot of very lovely gifts; all of the guests were so sweet and generous) and this scene lasts for seventeen excruciating minutes. I smile and chuckle as much as I can stomach; the guest who laugh the most is the colleague who wrote the list and Jill: they don’t seem to notice that most other people are extremely uncomfortable.
Finally, it’s over, and it was a minor, and crass, bump in an otherwise extremely elegant shower. The best thing I can say about it, is that my wedding is two months away, so hopefully the image of my SUPERVISOR’S hips thrusting and voice proclaiming “YES…YES…THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU!!!!” will fade from my memory by my actual wedding night. Also, I have to say that the one who she truly embarrassed was herself, in front of those who were HER supervisors, too. Here’s to shooting yourself in the foot, Jill! Good luck!! 0424-10
Ugh! Another of my pet peeves…women who give lingerie at showers in direct contravention of the bride’s wishes. I attended a bridal shower a few weeks where the bride received a skanky set of underwear from another single woman. Nearly all the guests at this shower were the bride’s fellow church members and there were several 6-9 year old girls there with their mothers who got an eyeful as the panties were held aloft. God bless, one of the little girls thought it was a shower cap. I was sitting next to a bride whose shower I would be hosting 2 months later and she leaned over to me and said, “Over my dead body do I want anyone giving me lingerie at my shower.” “There are several steps we can take to avoid this situation”, said I.
First, we pass the word among the guests that gifts of lingerie are not appreciated. In my opinion, I believe it is pathetic that we have to be that specific but there are some obtuse, clueless people.
Second, while she is opening gifts, if she suspects a gift is lingerie or opens it to discover lingerie, she is to thank the giver looking her in the face and then discretely hand the gift to a bridesmaid who will sort of “hide” it among the previously open gifts while cleverly “bean dipping” the conversation by distracting guests to a new gift or topic.
Third, if the giver, or others, insist that she display the lingerie for all to see, the bride can rest assured in the knowledge that etiquette does not compel her to display her gifts like a trophy over the head. “No, thank you, I prefer to only let my future husband see this gift.” A bridesmaid will continue to distract the guests by making a large hoopla about the newest gift bride is to open…”Oh, look! This is from Sherry! The wrapping is so pretty!”
Fourth, if necessary, the hostess, namely me, will step in to stop unseemly shenanigans and antics by out of control guests. That can be done by the bride ignoring the repeated request entirely while the hostess takes control of moving the gift opening along. If necessary, a quiet but firm, “That is not possible at this time.”