Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Baby Showers


On the occasion of my friend, "Jenny's," 40th birthday, she happened to be pregnant with her third son. I received an invitation from her husband for a surprise party.  Above the word "birthday" he had written "and baby shower." I thought, "How cute!  His third and he still doesn't have a clue." Husbands don't throw baby showers, and only first babies get showers at all. I bought her a birthday gift, and assumed every other guest would just ignore his little snafu.

On the day of her party, we happened to have a meet 45 miles from where we live.  (We know each other from our sports club.) Jenny was slower competing, being pregnant and having to manage her two sons. So, I left first, keeping quiet about the party. After arriving home, I took a shower, dressed in my party clothes and left for their house. I was surprised to be the first guest, because everyone else lived on her street. Gradually, they all trickled in, some very close to the moment scheduled for the "surprise." I was surprised to see they were all dressed extremely casually, as if they had just rolled out of bed. I was even more surprised to see that all the gifts were baby shower gifts. Now, I don't mean layette sets; they brought cellophane-wrapped, huge, gift baskets. Not one person brought a birthday gift. For many people, that wouldn't be a big deal, but Jenny is a big sports nut (she was a pro-athlete; her husband was an Olympian) and not into the cutsy baby thing at all. I couldn't believe these people even knew Jenny; this party was completely opposite of her personality.

The time for the "surprise" came and went. Apparently, Jenny's husband forgot how long a drive it is back from the meet. So, I had some time to chat with the other guests. All they talked about was the landscaping and the homeowner's association.  Fine, that's what they all had in common, but I was baffled that they were waiting on Jenny. Not one of them cared about her; I was her only genuine friend invited! They only came because it was a "homeowner's association event." As it got later, I realized that I wouldn't be able to stay much longer. At that point, I was looking forward to getting away from these people and the boring conversation.

Two hours past the time on the invitation, Jenny walked in, exhausted and sweating, mortified to discover her home full of people and decorated. She hadn't had a shower or lunch. "Surprise!" I jumped up, and threw my arms around her. I was the only person who said, "Happy Birthday!" Shortly thereafter, we watched a video from her family and friends back home - who all said "Happy 40th" or told her how special she was. After that it was all baby-baby-baby from her party guests. I was dreading opening the gifts. Fortunately I had to leave for work. I felt bad leaving the party early, but it was running two and an half hours late. Also, I couldn't bear watching Jenny squirm anymore.

Just before her due date, I went to her home and gave her a discreet gift for the new baby. She was remarkably thankful. She's always commented on what a good friend I've been since that day.                                         Baby0630-00

This is concerning a (former) best friend...I'll call her "Jane"...During her first pregnancy, her husband was overseas in the military and my sister, I'll call her "Sally", (who had been her MOH at their wedding and, of course, hadn't done *anything* right by Jane) was her labor coach. After hearing the torture Jane put my sister through for those nine months, I wasn't at all surprised when Sally told Jane "See you in nine months," when the second pregnancy was announced! ANYWAY, this concerns Jane's third pregnancy.

I had been living out of state for the first two pregnancies. By the time the third came about, I was living back in the same state as Jane, several miles away in another town. Her notorious "Little Miss Sunshine" (read that with a very sarcastic tone) persona was in painful evidence again this time around. She knew my circumstances: I'd just escaped a horribly abusive  a few months earlier, my second child was born six weeks after that escape, I had no job, no car, and was living with my mom with my 4 year old son and my daughter who was only a few months old.

She called me on a Wednesday with the news that she'd "talked" a coworker into having a baby shower for her (for a third child??) and that it was going to be that very Sunday in a town about 25 miles from where I was living. She gave me the coworker's phone number to call and tell her I'd be there. I tried to explain I had no way to get there. She told me to get Sally to drive me. I explained that Sally was going to be out of town for something she'd planned weeks before. Jane then, in a huff, told me to get a bus. Nevermind that I had a preschooler and an infant that would have to have been brought along, but there were no buses going from my town to the other town, Sunday or not! I told her I didn't see how I could possibly make it; she just said "Try." and hung up.

I called the coworker and got an answering machine. I left my name and number and asked her to call me ASAP. When I hadn't heard from the coworker by the next afternoon, I called again, getting the machine again. This time after leaving the same message as before, I explained the situation and apologized that I wouldn't be able to attend.

The Monday after the shower, I called Jane to apologize again and to see how it had gone. She got EXTREMELY angry with me for "not showing up" and for not calling the coworker! Even after I explained I'd left messages and had no return phone call, she refused to believe I'd called. I even told her what this coworker's message was on the answering machine to prove I'd called (how would I know otherwise? I hadn't heard of this girl before!) she still refused to believe I'd called. She continued yelling at me for several minutes, told me I was a "lousy friend" for not going, actually told me I would have gotten there any way I could if I wanted to be there, including WALKING all the way! At that point, I hung up, and never called her again.

Sad way to end a friendship of nearly 20 years, huh? By the way, "Jane" was one of the people who kept telling me I didn't deserve to be abused by my then-husband and that I shouldn't take that kind of treatment from anyone!!       Baby0418-00

Hi Jeanne,

Tacky, Tacky! This actually happened to my sister-in-law Justine. Our husbands come from a large family where showers/weddings are frequent events. I guess they have become SO commonplace that all etiquette is now tossed out the window! Justine received an invitation to a baby shower for one of the distant cousins. We lived far away at the time and received one too. But what Justine got was a little different! What she received was a xeroxed copy of an invitation (! that's funny enough!) but handwritten across it she was informed that she had been placed on the shower "committee"! (They forgot about asking her!) and as part of such, she was expected to contribute xx amount of dollars toward hosting the shower! They mentioned the possibility of a group gift in addition to contributing toward the shower but the real kicker was at the bottom of the invitation, scribbled across it said, "p.s. Bring 6 dozen sandwich rolls!"  Unbelievable!           Baby0414-00

Several years ago I received a invitation to a baby shower being held 600 miles away. The shower was being held for the wife of my husband's old college roomate.

The computer generated invitation stated. "Since you live too far away to attend my wife's baby shower, we have dedided to throw a "virtual baby shower" so you won't have to miss out on Kathy's party! You mail your baby shower present to this address, and we will mail you back a photo of Kathy opening the present!"

Also included with the invitation was a card telling where the mom-to-be had registered for her baby presents. Sap that I am, I went out and bought a present and mailed it to the address.

Several days after the shower, I received a nasty phone call from the mom-to-be. Out of 25 virtual baby shower invitations NOBODY sent her a present. Kathy was in tears! Her baby shower had been ruined by all those cold unfeeling false friends who didn't send anything! She was too upset to come downstairs for the actual party! How could they be so mean to hurt her so badly by not sending anthing?

When I pointed out that I sent a gift, she yelled "but it came a day late! What good was that!"

Hmmmm, I didn't have an answer for that, and I'm still waiting for the picture of Kathy opening up my gift.                       Baby0328-00

A week ago I received an invitation addressed to my mother and I, it was for a baby shower. The shower was being thrown by the mother-in-law. Actually, no one even knew they got married, because it was a justice of the peace sort of thing. Anyway, the registry cards had a different last name than the expecting mother, and basically no one has even met this girl because the family tried to hide the fact that the unwed couple had become pregnant. Anyway, enclosed in the envelope was a typed out list. At the top it said, "Here are the items, Judy received at a shower last week, I thought you might want to know, so you don't duplicate in your gift giving. Also please bring an additional present for a game, (examples a bag of diapers, some bottles, ect.) With a list spanning the page it didn't look like the expecting mother was in need of another gift, let alone TWO!        Baby0327-00

I love this site! I have a upsetting (for me) baby shower, but the thank-you note saved the day story.  A friend of mine was throwing a baby shower for her best friend ( a mutual friend of ours). The Mom-to-be helped by booking the shower site, quite nice place, and making up the guest list. It was up to "Colette" to plan and organize the rest of the shower for "Sharon". As a good friend, I offered to help in anyway possible. Colette said she would let me know if she needed any help. Two weeks before the baby shower, she said she had contacted everyone on Sharon's list, but a few were undecided. She then asked if I could come over and help her plan and put together the rest of the shower(games, food, times,etc.). I agreed, eager to help. 

After I arrived (one week before), we got to work, TALKING about what she thought I should take care of. She had already planned the games, I had to buy everything for them and put them all together. OK, fine, I was willing to help. She then proceeded to pull out the guest list and again said she just wanted to confirm they were coming. As I listened to her phone conversations, I came to the realization, that she had only called three out of the list of thirty-one people!  I kept this to myself, went home and proceeded to work on the games. I realized I would be able to afford most of these, that she had planned, I called and told her so. She said no problem, I'll help. I didn't hear from her again until the day of the shower. Realizing, I was on my own here, I  organized variations of the games planned(that I could afford).

At the shower, she showed up twenty minutes late, so I started to set things up without her. She showed up with nothing, but her gift for the Mom-to-be and a single (dumb) game, which no one wanted to play in the first place. She got very upset and a little vulgar, at the fact that I had changed "her games" and I had planned the day without her. Well, if she had been around and showed more interest in planning, she wouldn't be put out.  Anyway, turned out she gave the wrong address to most of the guests, only ten showed up (we found out about the address mix up later on during the shower,Yup! she blamed me for  that too!).   At the end of the shower, she made it quite clear, in front of everyone, how dissapointed she was for Sharon and that she tried to have a nice shower for her, while glaring at me. Sharon thanked her for all her hard work (she still didn't know what really happened).  I was so upset, I could hardly contain myself long enough for everyone to leave( Yup! I was left to clean up too!).  I burst out in tears, I was so upset.  Sharon stopped by later and gave me a thank-you card. Inside it said in her hand-writting, "Thank-You for "EVERYTHING"!!!!!!!!!" This didn't completely erase everything Colette had done to me, but I found out later someone told Sharon what was going on and decided then and there she had to come thank me.               Baby0121-00

Page Last Updated May 15, 2007