Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Faux Pas of the Year

Stories which earn the coveted honor of actually making Miss Jeanne bust out laughing or cause some lower mandible rug rubs.

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A few years ago I attended a bridal shower for a co-worker about a month before her wedding was scheduled.  The party was thrown by other women in my office so everyone that attended worked together.  As a gift I got her a couple of pretty wine glasses that had been on her registry.  Besides the bride sharing a bit too much sexual history at the party it was actually rather uneventful.

The next day the bride and the groom called the wedding off for reasons I never knew.  Everyone around the office of course felt bad for her and she took the week off.  We talked about what a headache it would be to have to cancel all the wedding plans and return all the wedding and shower gifts to people.

When she returned we all tried to respect her privacy and not pry into the details.  A week passed and we all started to wonder “Was she going to keep the shower gifts that she received the day before she cancelled her wedding?”  The whispering behind her back started.  One older woman in our office (who had a daughter who had also cancelled her wedding shortly before it was scheduled) decided she should probably tell the bride-not-to-be that proper etiquette indicated she return any gifts for a wedding that was not going to happen.  The bride stated that she couldn’t return them to the gift givers because she had already opened and used many of the gifts and had returned others for cash!  Had any time elapsed between the shower and the cancellation I might have understood this but the shower was an evening event and the wedding was cancelled the NEXT day.  I could only shrug my shoulders and laugh but some women in my office were pretty livid. 

I think a few of the gifts did end up getting returned to the gift giver although in used condition.  I didn’t get the wine glasses back but a few weeks later I did get a thank-you note that is my all time favorite for tackiness.  It thanked me for the lovely wine glasses and stated that she would use them to entertain all her new boyfriends! 

She didn’t work at our office for much longer after this incident.


*snicker*   You have to laugh lest you cry!


The daughter of a longtime friend of the family set her date for her wedding and invited my cousin and I to be bridesmaids, with my cousin as the MOH.  We reluctantly accepted to keep our mother happy, but found out soon afterward that my high school graduation would be on the same day as the wedding [which was in another state many hours drive away.]   I apologized as best I could for having to back out of being a bridesmaid and was met with a curt, "I'm not changing my date!" from Bride.  Eventually everyone agreed that it was ok if I attended my own high school graduation instead of the wedding, BUT when my mother decided that she would attend my graduation instead of the wedding, Bride personally called her to tell her she was being rude and a horrible friend to her mother.

Then things got worse [or funnier, in the case of this story]... so, my cousin, the MOH, was personally asked by Bride what she would like for a bridesmaid dress.  My cousin thought about this and, being a large-chested girl, requested only that the dress have a modest neckline, be a soft color and no have bows...  guess what Bride picked out after this conversation?   You guessed it, an extremely low-cut, off-the-shoulder BRIGHT NEON PINK dress with the biggest butt bow you've ever laid eyes on!! The MOH and I managed to have a good chuckle over this, as I had escaped having to wear this thing.

Then, because I was to miss the wedding, I was literally commanded to help out with the huge, catered shower that my mother and aunt were throwing for Bride [which was at a huge hall with over 100 women and the groom in attendance -- when did showers become mini-weddings?  I felt like my mother and I had to give 2 wedding gifts!]  No problem.  The MOH by this time had bowed out of giving the shower [she had wanted to throw a small affair in her mother's living room, being a poor college student on a budget, but the MOB refused, saying that anything less than a hall was not good enough for her daughter!], but was still in attendance.  We saw the bride and groom tear into the presents like kids at Christmas, stacking them up in a big gaudy pile without pausing to admire any gift.  

At the end of the shower, MOH and I then watch in horror as Bride's many other aunts take gallon-size plastic Ziploc bags out of their purses and start shoveling the "leftover" food into them! [I wish I were making this up!]      

Fast forward a few weeks before the wedding.  To make up for not being able to throw a "proper" shower, the MOH decides to host a small luncheon at a modest restaurant for the wedding party, complete with favors and handmade invitations.  Bride, still upset that her MOH was not the one to throw the catered shower, calls up the entire wedding party and orders them NOT to go to the luncheon, but nobody informs the MOH.  So, MOH shows up to the restaurant on the day of the luncheon with balloons, handmade decorations, and a cake--and NOBODY shows!  She sat at a table for 16 alone for two hours waiting.  So, she dumps the cake in the trash and goes home to call Bride to quit as the MOH, but my aunt somehow convinces her to go through with it.  No explanations from Bride--it was a few days after the luncheon that MOH finally got one of the groomsmen to admit what had happened.

Then, a few days before the wedding, Bride tells MOH that she was not going to be seated at the head table because the head table was "couples only," and, as MOH's boyfriend had not been invited to the wedding[!] she was not part of a couple and would be seated at one of the "singles" tables.  MOH almost quits again, but again is convinced by her mother to stay.

Then comes the wedding itself.  I heard from MOH that the ceremony was ok, but afterward Bride and Groom took over an hour to take pictures, during which the guests sat without any food and drink in the overly-warm reception hall!  MOH was only allowed to be in one photo, and Bride specifically tells her own Step-mother of 10 years that she is not be to in any photographs at all because she is "not family."   FOB is obviously upset by this, but is convinced by the gracious step-mother to stay for his daughter's reception.  Finally pictures are through, the happy couple and wedding party are announced to the room, except... you guessed it, MOH.  She proceeds to her seat to at least have something to eat [she's famished at this point], and discovers that her seat at the kids table!  

So, MOH gulps down her overcooked chicken, tries to make her way over to my aunt and on the way sees the FOB and Step-mother leaving the reception with their gift.  Turns out the FOB and Step-mother had been seated at the back of the hall, in front of one of the DJs very large amplifiers and were not visited by Bride at any point during the reception.

MOH and I have laughed many times over Bride's actions.  We vowed not be become Bridezillas ourselves when it came our turn.


My husband and I share a large office and every time a really good story gets sent, I interrupt him to read him the best stories.  We were laughing out loud at this one.  What else can you do?  Kudos to the MOH and cousin who haven't allowed this "treasure" of a bride to ruin their attitudes.   


This past August my cousin B got married in a beautiful ceremony at the Catholic cathedral in her hometown. Because she was not a member of the parish it was a very expensive site, but she'd had her heart set on it since she was 6 years old and had to have it, so they coughed up the thousand dollars.

A few months before the wedding they found out that the cathedral was instigating a new wedding policy the summer of her wedding, and that her wedding plans would change because of it. Why? Because the rules went into effect August 1, and her wedding was on the 2nd (don't you think it would make more sense if it only affected weddings that were BOOKED after August 1?). None of the rule changes were crisis-invoking, but it added a lot to her stress and was overall a hassle.

B arranged to have the priest from the hospital where her Mom worked officiate at the wedding. At the rehearsal the priest was incredibly rude to the large group of family in the pews who were sharing this moment. We're a rather rowdy and talkative bunch and he kept shooting glares over at us, and repeating the rules about flash photography and such. At the dinner he said a long, meandering prayer that didn't seem to have much of a point and was kind of embarrassing for the couple (they've lived together for over a year, and aren't practicing Catholics).

The big kicker came the next day - the wedding day! The wedding progressed beautifully and it seemed that the effort was well worth it for this incredible church. UNTIL.... it was time for the homily. Obviously the priest and couple didn't have a close relationship so we expected your typical "wedding is a blessing of God's love" type thing, but no... the priest starts out talking about how he's gotten to know the couple and how he sees their love and commitment to the church, bla bla bla, and that he has a gift for them. We're all like, "huh? what?" ... this was totally spontaneous and no one - not even the parents, or the couple - knew what it was.

He turns and pulls out from behind the altar this HUGE object wrapped in what looks like yellow tarp cloth and string. B and C are startled and totally unsure of what to do, so they start unwrapping it, which takes several minutes. All this while my Uncle T is behind us whispering,  "Please let it be a tennis racket, please let it be a tennis racket." Is it a tennis racket? No. It is a huge, hideous CRUCIFIX. By now the entire wedding party is muffling their hysterical laughter. The priest drones on and on about how he gives them this to remind them of Christ's sacrifice and the sacrament of marriage, etc, and the entire time B stands there holding this crucifix, which is huge and very heavy. She ends up balancing it against her hip, which from the side looks like it's impaling her. I kid you not, she looked like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. My Mom lost it and almost had to leave the church because she couldn't stop laughing. It was the most awkward and WEIRD moment I've ever seen in a wedding. B told C that she was going to hang it RIGHT OVER THEIR BED when they got home!


It's "revenge of the officiant"!  This is a good example of why churches should not rent out their facilities to non-members.  The bride, groom and their respective families get the boot into Etiquette Hell for using a church solely for its esthetic value with little respect shown for the facility, the religion or its representatives.  The priest undoubtedly had little input into the policies of the particular church, he had no control over the disrespectful family members who made his job much more difficult during the rehearsal so he does the only thing he can the bride and groom a very visual reminder of why this church exists in the first place.  


A dear friend of mine from high school got married at the age of 18 to his high school sweetheart.  I wasn't able to attend, but my mom did and she was a bit unnerved by the experience.  Just a small example of it's tacky-ness . . . they had their  high school's colors as their wedding color palate.  Nice.  

Unfortunately the marriage only lasted about four years and the couple divorced.  She left him for a man she met on the internet and immediately got engaged and began planning a wedding.  She e-mailed out a link to her wedding invitation website on geocities to everyone she knew, including her ex-husband.  The top of the first page had a giant image of the new groom's family crest and a picture of the happy couple dressed in gothic garb.  Underneath it read ,"As you know the costs of a modern wedding can be quite high.  So we have decided that rather than gifts we would like for all of you to help us in creating our fantasy wedding day."  There was a link there that said something to the effect of "Click here to join the scarab guild" or some other such nonsense name for the supposed club they had created for their so-called wedding sponsors.  Underneath were the names of the family members and their level of sponsorship with titles like "Aristocracy" "Peasant" and "Royalty" it said things like "The Smith family -Royalty.  The Jones Family - Peasants"  Then it had links on which to click and there were photos and descriptions of each family and then some little sappy paragraph written about how much their wedding sponsorship meant.  

To top it all off my friend later told me that in the divorce agreement he had given his ex-wife some $15,000 in the divorce agreement as well as some monthly spousal support that he continued to pay well after her "sponsored" wedding . . I guess they didn't want gifts because they had plenty money to buy whatever the heck they needed. 


Woo Hoo!  I want to sponsor this wedding at the "Worm beneath the feet of a Peasant" level!  Sign me up!


This story is about an old co-worker of mine - also a friend, and someone I had known for quite a while before her wedding. She's always been a little... spacey, but while she was planning her wedding, she really got a little out of hand.

In her defense, her mother and father were *no* help - her mother refused to take part in anything, even on the day of her wedding. Anyway, Bride decided she wanted to make her own wedding dress - she has some sewing skills - and designed a rather lovely sheath gown with beading, all to be done by her bridesmaids, her MOH, and herself. The fabric was very pretty - heavy white bridal lace - and the beading was going to be beautiful, but she thought she could do it with their help. She was absolutely hopeless - I kept hearing horror stories from the BMs and the MOH about how she wasn't doing much work at all, and they didn't know if the gown would ever get finished, to the point where I offered to help. So we got together several times and I worked hard on all the beading, doing a good panel and a half of the five-panel sheath (all told, I probably beaded about 4.5 yards of fabric with tiny complicated pearl and sequin designs). In the middle of all this, I found out I wasn't even invited to the wedding. I wasn't *too* offended, until I found out one of the BMs had asked her why I wasn't invited (we're all good friends), and she said "oh, I don't know... I didn't feel like inviting her". Fine - I thought we were pretty good friends; we were both working at this small company, I talked to her every day, we often used to go out together, but fine. Like a masochist, I kept on working at her dress.

She had a bachelorette party - I was invited because the Bride had so few respondents, the attendants wanted to up the numbers - to four of us. We went to dinner, then dancing at a hotel nightclub, where we danced, until we realized she was missing (we weren't neglecting her - we all went out to dance one song, she refused, and by the time the song was done, she was gone from the table), and we found her wandering the halls of the hotel, crying because she assumed the groom was going to do something awful at his bachelor party (he would NEVER do anything remotely suspect - she was just a bit clingy). So instead of having a good time, she made herself miserable, and we did our best to console her, while sighing a little for the demise of our fun evening. But fine.

All this time, I'm friendly, cheerful, helpful... not a word or whisper from me about not being invited, despite our constant contact. It's not my wedding, I'm not organizing it, and I'm *certainly* not going to ask for an invitation - that would seem like I was doing all this work just to wrangle an invite. I *really* didn't mind that much. People kept asking me why I was helping her - I just pointed out that the BMs and MOH were good friends, and I wanted to make their lives easier. Plus, I worked with this girl - it seemed like the nice thing to do.

One week before the wedding - we've put in almost a hundred hours combined on the dress, and it's still not done, because Bride hasn't gotten more than a quarter the way done on her panel (apparently, every time they got together to work, she would turn on the TV, and watch it while she was sewing - mind you, I do this too, but I get the work done. She would sew one bead, watch TV for about ten minutes, sew the next bead, and so on. No wonder they were a little ticked at her - the attendants and I did 90% of the work on the dress that she said she was going to make). So we all get together for one last marathon sewing session, and bead for six hours straight, without lunch. I'm getting a little punchy by this time, and that's my only excuse for what happened next.

At around 4pm, her bridal wreath arrived - she was going to wear a wreath of flowers rather than a traditional headpiece - and I was surprised to see it was dried flowers, rather than silk or fresh, but whatever she wants, it's her wedding. However, when she put it on, I was so tired, I couldn't help giggling hysterically, since with the wreath on her blond hair, and her little round pink cheeks, she looked *exactly* like one of those "Dreamsicles" figurines - the little cherubic angels with dried flower wreaths. Oh, dear - well at least she couldn't uninvite me to the wedding - I hadn't been invited in the first place.

Despite our marathon session, the dress wasn't finished until moments before the ceremony - they were literally sewing her into the thing, because she hadn't put the fastenings in. Apparently, the wedding went as well as could be expected. Happily, they are still married (almost ten years later), and have a beautiful child.

Postscript: Two months later, one of the BMs and I were in Philadelphia's garment district, buying fabric. We found the fabric Bride had chosen for her dress, with the beading already on it - the *exact* pattern we had worked so long to create - for the same price that she paid for the unbeaded fabric. *sigh* At least we got a good story out of the whole thing - and no, I never got any kind of thank you for my work. It's probably my fault for calling her a "Dreamsicle.


My Evil Twin made me find a Dreamsicle Bride and add it to this story.  


There is a lady whom we shall call "Jean," that often hosts tea. She uses fine china for the tea, but for the utensils and water glasses she uses plastic! There are regularly 15 to 30 guests at the tea, but she insists on making the tea sandwiches herself. (So many wealthy people these days are complete cheapskates). Jean is notoriously sparing in the making of her sandwiches, both in the sandwich mixture and quantity of them. Etiquette holds invariably that you should have 6 tea sandwiches per person. (By "tea sandwich" we mean the individual triangle quarters cut from a regular-sized sandwich). She has never served more than 3! Lately she has just been serving 2 tea sandwiches per person! At one tea party she had to have the sandwiches made locally because she didn't have time to make them herself. All of the guests commented on how good the sandwiches were this time. I thought maybe Jean would be a bit embarrassed and take a hint. But Jean had the nerve to say "Oh no, these are horrible. You should taste mine!" She later confided she would *NEVER* have them made out again.

Afternoon tea is traditionally a three course event, consisting of tea sandwiches, scones, and dessert. Jean, of course, considers the scones as dessert. But she never has clotted cream for the scones, a common staple of any traditional tea - especially if you are leaving out a course. At one of her first teas that I attended, she did announce that she would serve "a chocolate mint to refresh yourself," which I took to mean some kind of dessert - but no. Not mints plural, but A mint. Not a large chocolate mint patty, but an individually wrapped chocolate mint like you might find on your pillow at a hotel or on a cruise. Many of the guests held back their laughter and gasps of astonishment when they were served. "Ooh, a mint!"

And yet, if you were to even suggest having tea sandwiches without the crust cut off, she would practically faint at the thought of it detracting from the elegance she believes her teas portray.

Having tea in America is so difficult as it is, because the social etiquette and rules of the event must be studied by us, since we did not learn them firsthand. It's alright if guests don't know that the spoon should be placed on your saucer and not on the table and such other minutiae. But to have a host so clueless, cheap, and tacky - why even bother hosting a tea?

And remember the tacky plastic water cups and utensils? Unbeknownst to the guests, Jean collects them afterwards and washes them for use at her next tea party!!!! She also reuses the butter that's been left out on the tables for hours.


What kind of women continue to accept  invitations to a function they deem to be tacky?  Either go and accept the hospitality graciously or decline the invitation.   For heaven's sake, it's hard enough to get people willing to entertain people and I'm not about to toss a hostess into Etiquette Hell because some guests have delicately snobbish sensitivities.  I don't see the storyteller stepping up to host her rendition of a proper afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea is usually a three course affair but it doesn't have to be.  A wedge of cake or cookies are just as acceptable.  Here's two very good web pages on the etiquette of Afternoon Tea I think everyone will enjoy.  

Etiquette Faux Pas and other misconceptions about Afternoon Tea  By Ellen Easton

A Proper Afternoon Tea 


Just this last Saturday my husband and I attended a wedding for his boss, a man who owns several restaurants in the XXXXXX area and is extremely well-to-do.  He brags about his vacation houses and condos around the world.  We do not have a lot of money (my DH makes $11 after 6 years, $11 in the area at a restaurant that has an average per-person tab of over $150, but he stays because we need the medical benefits for my disability, and I'm embarrassed to say that I accept the disability checks I qualify for because he doesn't make enough to support us with me being unable to work), but we bought the nicest gift we could afford.  The gift was sent beforehand though, not brought. The ceremony was beautiful, the food was incredible, but before the best man gave his speech, the bride and groom had an announcement.  And I quote this from a copy of the wedding video that was sent to each guest as a "keepsake":

Groom: Beloved guests, we would like to take this time to thank you for attending our wedding.


Bride: But we need to bring something important to attention.

G:  We have spent a lot of money on this affair for all of you.  So "Linda" and I feel that the least you all could have done was give us gifts worthy of such an event.

*jaws dropping, uncomfortable silence*

G: This reception alone is running us about $200 for each of you.

B: To make it even, we need gifts that are that much each.  But to be a gift and not just help us break even, we should have gotten something at least $400 from each guest. 

G: So "Bubba" (best man) will now read a list of who still owes us a better gift or cash, and for how much.  Please raise your hands when he says your name.  The ushers will bring you envelopes for you to make a monetary deposit in cash or checks.  If you wish to bring us additional gifts, please inform them of this when they bring your card.

It was about this time we left.  But on the video they actually did this.  And we weren't the only guests to leave before the list.  People were so embarrassed!  Did he really expect $800 from us as a couple?  Does he not realize weddings aren't for the gifts?  This was just what he and many of his coworkers and friends needed to leave.  He had an interview today, and I am happy to say that the pay increase will allow us to more than pay for COBRA until he qualifies for new benefits.  He starts in two weeks. 

Ha ha to his stupid, greedy boss.


I tried, I really tried to get a copy of this wedding video.  



"Star", a friend I had only known for a little less than a year, got married in August of 2002 and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. Gladly I agreed.

Star called me up and tried to get me to go dress shopping with her. Ummmm okay, I told her, but I'm not one to judge dresses (I am blind and use a white cane). Star said she was sorry, that she 'forgot'. I understand, sometimes that happens. She took her mother and later told me all about how beautiful the dress was, and asked me if I was available for a fitting by that weekend. Sure, I wasn't busy, so off I went with the three other 'maids to get the expensive dress fit. No problems there, but it took quite a bit of asking before I was told the dresses were colored a pale yellow. From what I could tell it was an A-line floor-length gown made entirely of chiffon. It rustled nicely, but I am a pale-skinned redhead and I'm told yellow washes me out. Great.

Go on to the night before the wedding. Star pulls me aside and tells me she doesn't want me using my cane during the ceremony. Well okay, if that will satisfy her I'll save it for after. I take the groomsman's arm so he can guide me down the aisle and Star screams at me again. She thinks I'm trying to upstage her. I politely tell her I need something to guide me so I don't veer into one of the pews (my sense of direction isn't that great). Star still acts all huffy so I compromise by holding the groomsman's arm and counting the number of steps it will take from one end of the aisle to the other so I'll at least know if I'm wandering. The rest goes off without a hitch and I make the walk on my own without a problem. Just forty-two steps. I asked if there was going to be anything I should know about in or around the aisle and I was told no, to just go straight ahead, stop and I would be led to my place by the bridesmaid ahead of me ( I was the second in line).

The day of the wedding comes and Star does nothing to help get anything ready except set up piles of paper flowers for me to weave into little wreathes that'll be set up on the tables at the reception. I do that while everyone scurries around trying to find mislaid items. Not once does Star offer to aid them in finding their belongings, and then she has the nerve to throw a hissy fit when we're all late out the door to get our hair and makeup done! Now get this, the wedding is at 1:00 PM and we didn't get to the hair/makeup until 10:15. Star has long hair so it took the hairdresser half an hour to style her hair to her liking and then another twenty minutes to do her makeup. Then she stands aside and yells at the hairdresser to hurry up and by the time the 'maids have their hair done into French Twists and have makeup applied, it's 11:45, or close to it if I remember correctly. Mad dash to get dressed so the others can help Star get her dress ready. After she's dressed I ask her if I can touch her dress and 'see how she looks'. She gets angry and yells at me that 'you'll get it dirty with your grubby hands!'. Ummm what? I hadn't touched anything except for flowers, favors and my lunch (which I'd eaten en-route to hair/nails). I had been very careful to keep my hands clean. I even asked one of the other 'maids if anything was on my hands and she said that my hands were just fine. Whatever, I bit my tongue and smiled sweetly.

And the kicker to the whole thing? At the ceremony, I walked next to the groomsman without holding his arm and counting my steps and following the swish of the dress ahead of me. Nobody warned me or anything....I turned left as soon as I had counted forty-two steps and ran face first into the side of a floral arch set up at the end of the aisle. It fell with a crash. I heard people scramble to pick it up and someone yanked me into place (breaking one of the heels on my shoe in the process!). I was so embarrassed and almost in tears. I had been plainly told there was going to be nothing at the end of the aisle! The rest of the ceremony goes on without a hitch after the crowd is settled down.

After the reception was over, Star called me every name in the book for 'ruining her day' and 'trying to steal her spotlight' and asked me how I could be so stupid as to not hear that an arch was put there at the last minute. Pardon!? Nobody told me there was going to be an arch when I memorized my path down the aisle, nobody mentioned it had been added at the last minute and I was supposed to magically know it was there?! Maybe everyone assumed I knew about it, so I can't really get too upset.

Star still makes it a point to bring up my blunder whenever she talks about her wedding, and I still don't know whose fault it is. Mine for not getting the right info or her for not giving it to me.


I tried contacting this storyteller to get the grants for this story to put it into the next book.  I never did hear from her.  



For five years I had quite a good friendship with a work colleague. We were the same age, both single, spent a lot of time together on the weekends and shared good and bad times. She was always the type of person to want to be the center of attention but when things were good, I just chalked that up to quirkiness.

After about three and a half years of friendship, she started a relationship with a nice guy who basically worshipped her and did everything she told him to. It was at this point that her self-absorption became really difficult to handle as she regaled me and our other friends with hours of stories about how lucky she was and all the presents he bought her, never mind that I was going through a difficult breakup at the time.

They became engaged during a trip to Mexico and when she returned, she asked me to come over to discuss wedding plans. She asked me to be the maid of honor and told me that I should reserve every Sunday for the next six months in order to help her with wedding plans and to shop. She also told me that they would be returning to the same resort in Mexico for the wedding and that I had to take a one-week vacation from work and purchase a ticket to the resort at my expense for $1700. The wedding was to be held in June—not the best time to vacation in Mexico—but I went along with her plans.

She kept true to her demand of wanting my Sundays free and for weeks, dragged me to boring bridal shows, shoe shopping, flower shopping, dress shopping, stationary shopping, etc. At first I liked the idea of a relaxed tropical wedding until I found out she planned to emulate a traditional catholic ceremony—on the beach. Rather than having the attendants wear cool, cotton sundresses and sandals, she made us buy black taffeta and high heels. She herself planned to wear the full regalia complete with a veil even though it was her second wedding.

As the maid of honor, I offered to host the bridal shower for her. She gave me a list of 200 invitees and demanded that they all get invitations even though the majority of the people on the list were not even within driving distance of my house. I made all of the invitations by hand, mailed them all at my own expense and incurred all of the costs of the shower including food, champagne, gifts, etc. At the shower, she acted like a spoiled princess and after opening her gifts, proceeded to thank everyone in the room except for me. My mother, who was there, spoke up and suggested that she might want to show some gratitude for all the work I had done on the shower.

In the weeks leading up to the wedding, she made all of the attendants come to her house every Friday night to assist with something or other related to the wedding. She also expected husbands, boyfriends and dates to come and help as well.

By the time the wedding rolled around, I was starting to get really annoyed with her but I sucked it up and made a pact to be a great maid of honor. We arrived on a Saturday and the wedding was on the Tuesday so she asked that those of us in the bridal party not spend too much time in the sun prior to the wedding in case we got sunburn and ruined the photos. I spent most of the first few days in bed or on the toilet, suffering from Montezuma’s revenge but emerged the day before the wedding to help her with any last-minute details. The night before the wedding, I hosted a girls-only party for her complete with champagne which I had to buy from the hotel bar at $100 a bottle. Again, she forgot to thank me.

On the day of the wedding, I was up at 6 a.m. helping her with stuff and accompanying her to hair appointments, etc. The wedding was at 3 p.m. in the blazing sun on the beach without a canopy. Apparently there were more appropriate time slots available during the week but not on that exact day, which held special significance for the bride and groom so we all had to suffer. She insisted on a full catholic service and had the resort bring in a priest from a nearby village but since he only spoke Spanish, everything had to be translated by a hotel staff member. After the service, the bride and groom pulled out 81/2 x 11 sheets of paper on which they had written their own boring and sickening vows. By this time, we had been standing on a beach in the mid-day sun for over an hour--my taffeta dress was drenched, my bra was digging into me, my makeup was running down my face and my hair was completely frizzy.

When the wedding was finally over, she insisted we all have a drink of champagne although what we desperately needed was cold water, none of which was readily available. Then we were all herded down to the even hotter waterfront for photographs. She told me and the best man to wait off to the side while the photographer took countless photos of her and her new husband. I was gradually feeling sicker and sicker and after about 30 minutes of waiting patiently, I told the best man that I was going to faint and I started to walk towards a restaurant I could see in the distance. Although I tried not to draw any attention to myself, I was overcome by dizziness on the way and fell down while walking away. The best man took pity on me and pulled me into the shade while he ran to the restaurant to get a bottle of cold water. We drank the whole bottle and I was starting to feel a little better when the bride came up and started yelling at me for fainting (believe it or not). I apologized profusely (even though everyone else was telling her to calm down) and when I could stand up again, we trekked back down to the beach to finish the pictures.

All in all, about half of the guests ended up getting heat stroke (diagnosed by the resort physician) but she insisted that we attend the wedding dinner anyway. Because she was too cheap to book a private dinner, her wedding dinner was held in the resort’s buffet cafeteria, complete with sunburned tourists and screaming children. I was too sick to eat anything and, along with other guests, spent a good part of the night in the washroom. After dinner, we went dancing at one of the resort bars and the bride announced that no one could leave the bar before the bride and groom. At 1 a.m. they were still boogying but everyone else was fading fast, basically just sitting on the sidelines drinking water and waiting for the all-clear to go to sleep.

Finally just before 2 a.m. I walked back to my room on blistered feet, ripped off the dreaded taffeta dress and slept the sleep of the dead. For most of the next day, I slept and tried to recover from my heatstroke. I was feeling better by Thursday and decided to try and make the most of what was left of the vacation that I had paid so much for. Presuming that the bride and groom would like a little alone-time, I rented a car with another one of the attendants and we took off for a couple of days. When we returned, the bride admonished me in front of her entire family for ruining her wedding by leaving the resort (after the wedding!!). I tried to explain that I had been at her beckon call for five straight days and I needed a rest and it was my vacation too but she said that I had let her down and she would never be able to get those days back.

I got on the bus to the airport and decided that, with friends like that, who needs enemies? She tried to call me when she came back but I told her calmly that I was not interested in being friends with her anymore. In total, with the trip to Mexico, dress, shoes, shower, gifts, etc, the wedding cost me about $3,000 not to mention a week’s vacation.



One of the woman I work with was planning a big wedding when she became pregnant so she and her fiancé' decided to postpone the wedding due to the fact they would be having new baby expenses, they were buying a condo, she still wanted a fairly extravagant wedding and really couldn't afford it at the time.  

Well, fast forward to about a year later...the wedding is back on, the elegant venue is in place, the baby has her matching white dress.  The wedding went off without a hitch (or so we thought), a good time was had by all and the newlyweds settled into married bliss.  Five months after the event, her cousin announces that the couple has split and are deciding if they should return the gifts.  There is no chance of a reconciliation, she has moved back in with her daughter to her mother's and the condo has been sold.  "What a shame to have to go through a divorce so soon after all that," I tell the sister.  The cousin then explains to me that divorce is not an all an issue here!!  They were never legally married!  He had never gotten a divorce from his first wife so the whole event was a sham!!!  They just wanted a party and the gifts.  This is beyond tacky.   


To start this story, I have to say that I was a chronic slacker in high school.  In a positive light, this episode helped to partially cure me of that for a while.  I didn't do homework in a English class for a few months and my grade was going to drop for it.  My teacher (Mr. J) noticed that while my homework was consistently absent, I held the highest English average in our grade class (Test-wise)

He sat me down and made a proposal.  If I tutored a football player, Mr. J would drop my homework grades off of my average.  I was 17.  I was lazy.  It sounded great.  I'd ace the semester and all I had to do was regurgitate the things I'd learned in class.  "Just make sure he understands what we're going over in class.  Look over his homework and help him correct his mistakes, that's all."  Easy street, right?

Wrong.  Then, I met the kid I was tutoring.  His name was 'Eric,' and he was the QB for the football team.  He was the only DECENT player our school had, so if he got knocked off of the team for failing English, then our team was destined to suck even more... if that was possible.  I had him in my science class, where he constantly misbehaved, going through hell and highwater to irritate everyone around him.  He was occasionally intelligent when he'd ask questions that didn't revolve around recreational drug use.

I wanted my 'A' though.  So, I arranged to meet with him after school (2pm) in the library.  I sat there until 4:30 waiting for him.  He finally showed up, high as a friggin' kite.  I wanted my 'A' so I shrugged it off.  There was a test coming up on "The Scarlet Letter," in his class so I asked him what he knew of the book.  He giggled and told me that he hadn't read it.

Being a slacker, I understood and was prepared for this.  I whipped out my copy of the Cliff Notes and told him to read the synopses for the first quarter of the book.  He looked at me, puzzled, and asked me why I wanted him to do that.  Gritting my teeth, I said, "Because you've got a test on it and if you want to pass then you need to at least be able to fake having read it."  I dared to ask if he had done the homework and he looked straight at me and said, "That's what you're for."  I tersely informed him that my job was to help him, not to do it for him.

He got irritated with me and began demanding that I give him a detailed synopsis of the book.  I pointed to the Cliff Notes and told him that I already had.  Bad move.  He started calling me obscenities, loudly enough for teachers in adjacent classrooms to pop their heads in.  I calmly stood, told him to read the Cliff Notes and do the homework assignments, and left.

At the next session, Eric was only somewhat ridiculously late and I'm pretty sure he wasn't on any illicit substances.  The first thing he told me was that he had still not read the Cliff Notes but HAD done the homework.  I figured some progress was better than no progress so I asked him if he wanted me to look at it.  He said yes.

Now, when Mr. J said I'd be double-checking this kid's work... I don't know, I guess I just assumed he would be working and not writing down derogatory terms and sexual acts (aimed at and involving me) over and over again in the places where the answers should have been.  Call me old-fashioned.  He had a huge grin on his face, like he'd paid me a compliment!  I was dumbstruck.  I didn't know what to say or how to respond.  Then he put his hand on my thigh...  Without another word, I took the paper and stood to leave.  He blocked my way and tried to take the paper back while he was pushing me against a bookshelf.

I'm not sure if this counts as a faux pas, but I punched him, kicked him and ran.  I'm not violent but I didn't know what else to do.  The next day, I was called into the principal's office.  I was given In-School Suspension (ISS) for one week; my parents were furious when they found out why and, luckily, with the threat of a lawsuit, I escaped punishment.  The school never even considered punishing Eric. 

On the bright side, Mr. J figured I'd put forth more than reasonable effort and dropped my homework grades anyway.  Eric failed English and, as far as I know, he probably still hasn't read the book... Oh yeah, and I broke his nose when I hit him.  I got a strange, sick satisfaction watching him walking around and telling everyone it happened when he ran into a door.



My husband and I received a written invitation to a surprise 40th birthday party of a somewhat casual friend. Invitation sent by her husband. The invitation gave the date, time and venue ( a kind of pricey restaurant). We RSVP'd that we'd be happy to attend. We brought a nice b-day gift to give her. About 20 people came...we had a couple of big tables. Menu was pre-selected. A couple of choices for each course. Good time!.....Until....the bill came and was given to "hubby" who pondered over it a bit and then informed us what each person owed for the meal!!!! A lot of awkward glancing around among people and scraping up cash which some folks didn't have enough because no one thought this was a pay your own way thing. Never mentioned. "Hubby" told those cash shy folks they could pay him back as soon as possible. How generous!!! I am of the school that if you invite people to any party you fund it yourself, otherwise make clear that it's "Dutch treat" or potluck (bring a dish to share , etc.). If you can't afford the party that you are inviting folks to, without informing of expected contribution, then don't have the party! Or just make it something you can and cake or cocktails at home or something! I think the b-day gal was embarrassed even. Yuck. Bad form.


People who pull this stunt on surprised guests are evil because they know if they said anything beforehand that guests are to pay for their own meal, the number of people attending would experience an immediate decrease.  So, they hold off until the food is eaten and spring the surprise on their guests.  

"Sarah" and I were friends and enjoyed hanging around together. At this time, I was dating "John". John was interesting, funny, thoughtful and lots of good qualities. Unfortunately, he also had some things he was dealing with and it turned out we weren't compatible, so we moved on. We remained cordial, and warm friendship eventually returned to our relationship.

Some time later, Sarah asked me about John and I gave her my opinion, of both his good and bad qualities. She thought about it, and they began seeing each other. All was great. They coped with John's issues and had a loving, if stormy, relationship.

Years passed and they married and I got engaged. We invited them to the wedding and their gift was that John would do the photography for us. He wasn't a pro, but it was more than good enough for us. Sadly, Sarah was unable to attend at the last minute. She was recovering from surgery and the long term prognosis was poor. John still came (from a goodly distance) and did our photos, although we told him that he shouldn't and we'd cope. Sarah encouraged him to go and we were very grateful to both of them.

After the wedding, we lived in the same city and saw each other often. As Sarah's illness progressed, the three of us often sat and talked, or cried or laughed as need be. Sarah and John decided that they would spend her remaining time pursuing their dream to travel, so they would work hard and save their money, then travel for a few months. On return, they'd start again, so long as her health held out.

By this time, DH and I had moved. Sarah had a job opportunity in that town (John's home town) and we agreed that Sarah and John could share our house while they were saving up money for their next trip. It worked fairly well for everyone. After that, they moved again where Sarah could get the medical care she needed by this time. I visited once to see them and share the news of our pending firstborn. It was the last time I saw her. She left us a few months later.

Fastforward a few months. I was in hospital following the birth when I saw, of all people, John! Sadly, he hadn't coped well after Sarah's loss and had been hospitalized for his own protection. The issues of his past had come back and he wasn't doing well.

He said that he was fearful of the holidays as Sarah loved that time of year and he wasn't sure he could cope with festivities. I suggested that since we were going out of town to show off the firstborn, maybe he'd like to house sit for us. There would be no decorations (since we were to be gone) and it would be a familiar environment. He accepted gladly.

Shortly before we were to go, he told us that he'd met someone - "Ann" (!!!) We were shocked, yet not surprised as he was very troubled at this point. The fact that they'd met while in hospital for similar conditions was very worrisome and we questioned his judgment. Still, when he asked if we'd mind if she came over for Christmas dinner while we were out of town, we agreed. We said very clearly though that we did not want her staying over as we weren't comfortable with a stranger staying overnight in our house - especially given the circumstances!

We left for our flight, thinking all was well. 2 hours later, we returned home, the flight having been cancelled due to weather. We decided to drive and stopped back home to pick up a few items for the road trip - only to find John's "friend" already at the house, with her suitcase, several days before she was coming "for dinner"!

We didn't have time to argue, but agreed to deal with things when we got home.

The day before we were to return home, my father called to break the news that our home had been broken into and John and Ann had left town abruptly. Needless to say, we were horrified and worried the entire way home.

We arrived to find:

a) our home broken into and damaged but only John and Anne's things touched

b) a hysterical, violent message on our machine - from Anne's husband!

c) a phone call from the police, advising us of the break in and possible danger from this man

d) a message from my dad, telling us to contact the police

We were terrified!

Shortly after, the phone rang. It was the police, wanting information as to where John and Anne were, what vehicle they might be driving and where they might be staying. Since we had no information, we said so but said that my father might. So my father got a call from the police and he told them what he knew.

A few hours later, as we sorted things out, we discovered to our sick horror that the calls from the "police" had been Anne's husband, posing as a police officer to try to track them down!

Over the next few weeks, Anne's husband phoned many of John's friends, trying to track them down. He was finally arrested (thank heaven!) and the stalking stopped. His antics didn't though. He'd call one police precinct, pretending to be an officer from another precinct and plead his case - "You should give "Tom" a break on this. I've been working with him, he's really sorry, it was a one  time thing, he's in counseling..." etc etc. It got to the point that phones were tapped and security put in place to deal with Tom!

Eventually, we wound up at trial. Tom pleaded guilty to a lesser charge - one that didn't make him responsible for the damages to our home - and served no jail time. It came up at trial that he'd done erratic things before (no surprise there!) but at least by then he and Anne had truly split and he left her alone. We left there, sadder but wiser.

Two months later, we got a wedding invitation from John and Anne. The same John and Anne whom we had heard from once *since the day we left on our trip* - and who had never apologized for the mess.

We politely declined.