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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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I believe this one files under "faux pas of the year". I have several stories I could tell you, but this one takes the cake. I was in the youth group at my church. They do things that I don't necessarily agree with but I decided that I was there to worship and not impress them, so I tried to tough it out. It reached a breaking point, however, in May of this year. I was turning 21 and had made reservations for 3 table at a Japanese grill (the one where they cook the food in front of you) and invited the entire youth group (we are talking about 40 to 50 people here). On the day of said dinner, I arrive at the restaurant. I wait for over 30 minutes for my guests. Not only did they never call to RSVP, they never even showed up! I had to deal with the catty hostesses and explain the reason why out of 50 people, only two would be attending (my ex-best friend and my cousin). I was so upset I almost burst into tears right at the restaurant. Not only did I get stood up by the entire youth group, neither they nor the youth leaders called to apologize or at least wish me well on my birthday. I still go to that church, but I have very little to do with those people. Pretty crappy for people who want to act like they just love me so much.


Yet another victim of her own self-entitlement and self-honoring.  Etiquette is pretty clear on this issue, i.e. one does not host a party in which one is also the guest of honor, particularly a party which has a strong cultural expectation of giving and receiving gifts.     "Everyone is invited by ME to celebrate ME!  It's all about ME!" 

You didn't mention it but if you expected your guests to pay for the meal (or they presumed they would have to), it is doubly no wonder why they avoided this party in droves.   Something tells me you were not prepared to pay for these meals considering that a typical dinner at a Japanese steak house costs at least $20/person.  Times that by 40 or 50 and your bill would have been over $800.00.   Very few people, whether they are members of a church, synagogue, mosque or coven, are going to shell out money for the privilege of honoring someone intent on making sure they get that honor and attention they believe they deserve.  

They love you enough to not facilitate your ego and further damage your character development into a gracious, humble friend.  


I'm in one of those lunchtime megalines at the local fast food eatery. Seriously, the line's about ten cars deep. Since the local fast food eatery isn't feeling particularly speedy today, it takes about fifteen minutes between getting into line and getting up to the ordering box. When I am second in line to the ordering box a girl I will hence to refer to as Spoiled Entitled Brat Teenager (SEBT) pulls up in shiny new gigantic SUV and takes her place in the back of the line. Her music is loud enough it overpowers my music, and I have to physically yell into the box to get my order heard (and had to do it four times, as the person was having such trouble hearing me- she kept asking me to turn my music down, even after I told her my music was off and it was SEBT's music). 

At this point SEBT decides that she shouldn't have to wait in the drive thru line. So she parks and goes in... OK, I lied, that wouldn't make a good e-Hell story. What she really does is pull out of the waiting line of about eight cars behind me, pulls past them, and tries to use gigantic SUV to bully her way into line behind me! Luckily little Jetta behind me isn't having it, and it doesn't look like she'll be able to use the size of gigantic SUV to bully the next five cars, all Heavy-Duty construction work trucks, three of which involve grill guards and most of which involve large, somewhat angry looking men (I'd be mad, too if SEBT tried to cut in line in front of me, I was furious, and I was the one she was trying to cut behind!). 

So after Jetta won't let her in SEBT has meek-looking friend who is totally underdressed for the weather get out to plead with angry-looking construction guy. She says that they're on break from school and they have to go back (liar- it's a "student improvement day", meaning no school for students). She's in a horrible hurry and could SEBT please cut in. Angry-looking construction guy (ALCG) in passenger seat looks even angrier, and yells towards SEBT that ,"She's not the only one in a f***ing hurry," (his words!) and that there's no way they're getting in without serious damage to gigantic SUV. 

At this point I should explain why I'm happy, besides the idea that ALCG stood up for himself, but also because local eatery is arranged in a giant U-turn due to the fact that it's built on a lake and they forgot to plan for a road to go around to the other side of the building for the drive-thru, and I can witness all of the goings-on between SEBT and others without worrying about disappearing behind the building. I should also mention that the way SEBT was parked conveniently made for the blockage of the exit of the parking lot, not only for the restaurant, but also for the dollar store next to it. So now she's got about five cars wanting to leave that can't go anywhere. A regular person might be intimidated by the whole situation and back up to take their rightful place in line (although she would have lost another two spots by now) but not SEBT! She CAN'T wait and stays put. 

Once ALCG number one tells her no way, the line moves up, so now cold looking passenger of SEBT is waiting at the second truck. SEBT yells at her to ask them, which she does. These guys are nicer in their way of saying no, and friend looks at SEBT like she's terrified and wants to leave. SEBT yells at her to keep going down the line asking, swearing at everyone and screaming that SHE has IMPORTANT things to do, and that SHE CAN'T WAIT THAT LONG FOR FOOD!!! HOW DARE WE MAKE HER WAIT!!! AND LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE WE'RE INCONVENIENCING BY NOT LETTING HER IN!!! DON'T WE KNOW WHO HER FATHER IS?!?!?! (I briefly remember seeing someone looking like her in a recent political ad, smiling and hugging her father running for something-or-other. I need to find it so I can write him a letter. Something about making it illegal to block traffic in parking lots like that...)

Luckily two patrons of fast food eatery notice the commotion outside and come out. They happen to be two of our city's finest, and they look even angrier than angry-looking construction guys. Probably because they need to take time out of their lunch breaks to deal with this brat. Or they were worried about someone spitting in their fries. Either way, they had every right to be angry, and I would have lied on the stand as a witness if they laid a little police brutality on this girl (just kidding...)   

Officer number one tells SEBT she has to move her car. SEBT replies in sweet, innocent little voice that no one is letting her in! Officer number one calmly replies that no one has to let her in, HE TOLD HER THAT LAST TIME 8-O !!! SEBT's done it before! Officer number two goes to his car, and gets out the ticket book, and starts writing. Because the part of the road going that direction is technically considered a one-way street she's got two charges coming- wrong way down a one-way street and obstructing traffic. I can't print everything SEBT said here, in part because it involved too many profane words, and then because I was laughing too hard (greatly confusing the fast food person, sorry sweetie!!!) to catch all of it. All I remember was something about her father and something about losing her license. As I was leaving officer one was directing traffic around SEBT's vehicle, which was now parked because she had gotten out, presumably to work up an assaulting an officer charge. Cold friend did the smart thing and went inside, probably to avoid being an accomplice to this nutter. Some people are just unbelievable!


  Two  friends of ours, a lovely couple named 'Casey' and 'Mindy', were invited to a housewarming party by a friend of Casey's from work. In fact everyone at the workplace was invited, via a large Invite and map on the breakroom wall. Casey and Mindy were new to the area, recent newlyweds, and decided to go to meet some new friends. They were told dinner would be a buffet and mostly just "the grand tour" of the host's new abode, and chit chat over cocktails.   Casey and Mindy arrived, bringing with them a nice bottle of Bordeaux from a local vineyard, and told by the smiling hostess as she took their coats that every one was congregating in the living room, and once everyone was there, they would "get started". Alrighty then! 

Casey left the wine on the gift table, and he and Mindy seated themselves on some folding chairs (2 of about 30) in the front room. There was a man at the front of the room that Casey did not recognize, in a shirt and tie, setting up a DVD player to a large TV facing the "audience". They chatted with the people around them, and soon found out no one else had any idea what was going on...was this some type of "how we found and bought our new home" show?   Were the hosts planning on everyone watching a movie? More and more people filed in, and finally the lights dimmed as Howard (the host and Casey's co-worker) said,   "As you may have guessed, we have owned this home for over 3 years now, and while we never had a housewarming, The REAL reason we have brought you all here together is to tell you about a super business opportunity that my wife and I have recently discovered, called AMWAY."   

Looking immensely pleased with himself, he then introduced his manager, "BOB" who was way up on the Amway ladder and could let these people all follow him down the road to riches beyond imagining. Someone asked if they could have the housewarming part first, as they were not interested in the Amway. "Bob" spoke to all assembled as if they were slightly dense 3 year olds, and promised, no more than 1 HOUR of Amway, and they you will be allowed to make your way over to the buffet.   

My friend Casey and his wife stood instantly and asked for their coats. Several other guests did the same.   On their way out the door, they picked up their bottle of "housewarming wine" and went home and drank it themselves, laughing all the time.   To this day, "Bob" has never apologized for bringing people into his home on false pretenses, but has let it be known how rude his co- workers are, especially since corporate has told him he cannot advertise for any Amway related business on company property. I know Casey and Mindy's actions were probably rude as well. But I can't help but giggle every time I picture him snagging his bottle of wine off the gift table on the way out!   


When I was 22, I was very briefly snagged into Amway and actually participated in getting a co-member of a health club I worked at to come hear an Amway presentation under false pretenses.  She thought she was coming to hear about tax help for her portfolio.  Where ever you are, please forgive me.  My innards were just crawling in disgust over what I was doing.  

Read the discussion on this story on the forum! 

We received the invitation to our son's wedding in the mail today.  Boy, was I hurt and amazed that apparently, he has no parents!  We have knocked ourselves out to make arrangements to attend his wedding (which is 700 miles away in the middle of December), I have been scrambling to finish a wedding quilt for him and his bride, and now we are not even recognized in the invite!  Did we die and no one told us?  Are we disowned?  It quite clearly states the names of the BRIDE'S parents...gee, did he conceive, give birth to, and raise himself all these years?  WTF!!


Who is named on the invitation is determined by who is hosting the wedding and therefore who is issuing the invitation.  Traditionally the bride's parents host the wedding and reception and therefore traditionally are the only ones mentioned on a formal invitation.  It is a courtesy when the groom's parents are included but from a strictly traditional etiquette perspective, it is perfectly correct for only the bride's parents to be mentioned as the inviting hosts.


I "accidentally" ran across your site today (love it!) and had to write about my experience because it involved my son, the GTB.

Pseudo Shower/Wedding or "I'm strictly in this for the gifts."   My son, "Denny" and his wife "Kathy", who both lived in South Carolina, had been separated for over four years. Each having gone their separate ways, my son decided to move to Ohio, near me, and shortly thereafter met "Erin". He and Erin had dated for two years when my son proposed. Denny was still legally married to Kathy, waiting the finalization of their divorce. And yes, Erin was well aware of the situation, and knew Denny was not yet divorced. 

About a year after the proposal I received an invitation to Erin's bridal shower, a week away. hhhmmm.... Denny hadn't mentioned that his divorce had been finalized. My son and I worked different shifts so I didn't get a chance to talk to him until two days before the shower date. I asked if he'd received his divorce papers from Kathy. "No. Why do you ask?" was his response. "Because I received an invitation to Erin's bridal shower this Saturday." Denny was speechless, he didn't know anything about a bridal shower. Kathy decided it was to her advantage to put the divorce hearing as long as possible to retain the medical insurance coverage Denny was required to carry for her. 

I immediately called my future DIL and asked why she was having a bridal shower when the divorce was obviously going to drag on for some time. Erin's reply, "I thought since the divorce was taking so long we would go ahead with a wedding but not get a license. My mom knows a minister who will marry us in like a mock wedding. We'll go to the courthouse and get married after Denny's divorce is final." HUH??? She went on, "My mom bought my dress, rented a hall, ordered the cake and got a caterer. We're getting married in December (it was now June)." I COULD NOT believe what I was hearing. Her mother was going along with this??? This family was the epitome of dysfunction. Erin went on to tell me she'd invited her family, friends and me (thank god all of our family members lived in South Carolina, and wouldn't be attending anyway).

Then it hit me. Erin and my son had just moved in together a month prior. Since Erin had lived with her parents and my son had been staying with me, neither had much in the way of household items except those things donated by me and Erin's family. Erin had made it clear that she didn't like hand-me-down things. So, I guess her solution was to dupe her family and friends into thinking there was going to be a wedding soon so she could have a bridal shower and get the things she'd listed on her registry.

I talked to my son the day before the shower and felt his embarrassment. He couldn't stop her from throwing the pseudo shower, she had her mind made up and the invitations were out. I told Denny about Erin's mock "wedding" plans. My son and I had a long talk about his relationship and what life would be like with a person willing to do something this underhanded.

Since no one from my family would be attending (or sending a gift since they knew a wedding was not possible) and none of my friends had been invited (thank god, again), I decided to go to the shower, empty handed, get a free meal, and see for myself if Erin and her mother would be able to pull this off. There were about 75 people at the shower, including Erin's grandparent's who were well into their late 70's and in failing health. I didn't know anyone except Erin, and had only met her mother once, briefly. Her mother was not a friendly woman, had a very "I'm better than you, high-class" attitude although she and her husband lived just above the poverty level. Erin did greet me at the door and I was whisked away to a table in the corner, where I sat by myself. Luckily the buffet luncheon began so I wasn't going to have to sit through much of the fiasco. As soon as Erin finished eating she began opening her gifts, most of them more expensive items. When she opened the $500 monetary gift from her grandparents I couldn't take anymore and slipped out.

Denny broke his engagement to Erin and moved into his own place. Erin, jobless, was forced to move back in with her parents -- and took her shower gifts with her. Three years have come and gone. Denny is finally dating someone with some sense. He is still waiting for his divorce from Kathy.


Whew!  A story with a happy ending!  The groom to be comes to his senses and dumps the bridezilla harpy!

Having just read about the Canadian custom that you flamed - a ticketed 'social' before a wedding - it occurred to me to point out that the Anglo-Saxon tradition of giving gifts instead of money at weddings is actually the exception rather than the rule. In most cultures, not only is money an acceptable wedding gift, it may be expected. In Chinese weddings, guests give the couple 'lucky money' envelopes. In Eastern Europe, South America and many other places around the world, money dances are expected. In Japan, the amount you give is exactly stipulated and carefully calculated according to your relationship to the bride and groom. Money as a present at a Jewish wedding is more than accepted. In Indonesia, the couple have to sit still for hours while guests pin money to their clothes.

These are all fine traditions - and I think it is important, for etiquette's sake, that they be traditions. There is no breach of etiquette if you are simply doing what is expected of you and has been expected for generations. If your grandmother did it at her wedding, it's probably on the okay side of etiquette. It's the unexpected donations, the obligatory donations, and the name-and-amount donations that cross the line.

Unless you know the bride and groom better than they know themselves, the best gift is almost always money. We just shy away because we don't like the idea of putting a dollar value on our relationships, even if that is the most practical and universally appreciated gift.

The western tradition of giving gifts - particularly household and kitchen items - stemmed from the fact that the couple were going to be moving out and starting a home together. Now, more often than not, they already have all the toasters they need by the time they get married.

Giving a couple a pair of salad servers that they may or may not like, compared to the $30 you spent on them (which they might put towards paying off their mortgage, or their children's' college funds, or a car, or art-nouveau screen-prints at auction, or for cocaine up the nose if that's their penchant) just suggests you know what they need or want better than they do. You're supposed to be demonstrating your support for their brand-new union, not your moral superiority and ability to choose presents, off a list or otherwise.

This is in terms of pure practicality too (which I know etiquette has never cared too much for) but an anonymous cash donation means the couple don't have to try to return gifts they hate (and there will be some), no one will expect thank-you notes, and guests can be as cheap as their conscience allows with no ill-will. Also guests won't come to your house and try to spot the china and tulle toilet-roll doll then act miffed when it's not in pride of place.

In short, while I think plenty of people go off the rails trying to grub cash for their weddings/marriages (and open themselves up for roasting in the process), there's no need to point fingers at perfectly acceptable, voluntary-contribution traditions which help couples throw a nice party for friends and family (which I daresay they might enjoy themselves for about two minutes among the panic and stress and aunts) without starting their marriages at the social services office surrounded by gilt picture-frames.


 Money as a gift is never a problem **IF* the initiative to give comes from the giver, not from the recipient.  Unfortunately, the prospect of receiving cash gifts is too much temptation for people and they yield to directing their friends, family and guests into giving it.  


Recently we attended a wedding for my fiancé's cousin... distant cousin. When we received the invitation, he had to call his mother to figure out which of the cousins she was the daughter of, as he had not seen her for several years. This should have been our first clue that something wasn't quite right...
Because we are getting married in a few months, we have been taking "notes" on what we did and did not like at the past few weddings we've been to, so as not to offend our guests, or wind up in the etiquette hell hall of fame.  The ceremony was lovely, but the bride, groom, and entire wedding party disappeared immediately after the wedding (no receiving line), and then proceeded to take pictures at the alter while everyone stood around and watched.
After waiting for a good 45 minutes for the bride and groom to make some sort of appearance, with no results, we (along with several other guests) left for the reception.  When we got to the reception, we found our the back corner of the room behind a wall, so that we couldn't actually see anything that was going on from our seats. Part of this could be explained by a poor room set up by the reception site, but I still made the mental note in my head that nothing like this would happen at our wedding.
The bride and groom finally arrived, proceeded to sit down, then went to get their food and eat. They went on to do the traditional dances and garter and flower tossing, cake cutting, etc. The most offensive part of the wedding was that the bride and groom never walked around to the tables to thank their guests for coming to the wedding. They visited 2 tables (her parents and his parents) and then went on with the rest of their evening. In the 5 hours that we were at the wedding and the reception, they never once even said hi. We had driven over an hour to get this wedding where my fiancé barely knew the bride and groom, and I had never met them or even knew the father of the bride.
Fast forward 4 months later. We still have not received a thank you note for the wedding gift we brought. I asked around and was told that you have a year to write your thank you notes, although I thought that I had seen on your site that they should be written as soon as possible afterwards, but at least within a month. While I realize that the period of time following the wedding is hectic, and they had about 200 guests (about the same number we are having), isn't it proper etiquette to make time for something as simple as a thank you note?


My two all-time "favorite" faux pas regarding weddings:  failure to circulate and lack of prompt gratitude for gifts given.   There are so many positive benefits of circulating through the guests and greeting people yet it is the most common faux pas I see.  

Writer, you are correct that the "1 year to write thank you notes" is a heinous myth.  I see this one in real life as well and it drives me batty at times trying to stamp out this false rumor.  

I was a bridesmaid in my best friend's wedding.  I will admit that we had drifted apart somewhat since I moved far away after college graduation, but we still remained close enough that she asked me to be a bridesmaid.   

  The wedding location was about a 20 hour drive from where I lived, but I didn't mind.  I sent $100 to the maid of honor to help cover the costs of the bridal shower since I could not attend (she never even thanked me, although the check was cashed immediately).  I did receive a thank you note for the shower gift that I sent via the bride's parents, who I was very close to.   For the wedding, the bride told me that the wedding party and their guests would be provided with lodging throughout the weekend, which I thought was really nice.  However, the week before the wedding, she emailed me to say that the lodging fell through and I needed to find a hotel.  Unfortunately there was some big event in the nearest town that weekend, and I was lucky to find a hotel room at all, on such short notice.  The rate was nearly $200 per night, which was overpriced for that town.  

Anyway, my boyfriend and I drove for two days to get there, with a few hundred dollars worth of gifts in the car, including wedding gifts, a bachelorette party gift, and a honeymoon gift that were never acknowledged.   When we arrived in town, I couldn't reach her by cell phone.  We headed to the chapel a little early for the rehearsal and waited and waited and waited.  We checked out the reception site meanwhile, which wasn't really set up yet.  Finally they all showed up for the rehearsal over an hour late.  My boyfriend was asked to play the ceremony music, which was on a CD in a boom box, since music had not been arranged.  He generously agreed.   I found out at the rehearsal dinner that the bride and the other bridesmaids had gotten portraits done about two months earlier.  I never even knew about that.  I guess the bride figured I wouldn't have been able to travel that distance, but I would have appreciated an invitation nonetheless.    

The next morning, the girls picked me up to go get our hair and makeup done.  The bride had printed directions to the place (which incidentally was 70 miles away), but luckily I knew the area pretty well so I got us there on time.  The place was not very nice, and it turned out that they didn't take credit cards.  Luckily I keep emergency cash tucked away in my wallet.   We ended up being late to the ceremony because the bride had miscalculated the time that it would take to get back to get ready.  The aisle runner was rolled up backward, so one of the ushers and I knelt down near the altar and quickly unrolled and re-rolled it while everyone watched and waited, especially since the ceremony should have started at least 30 minutes earlier.  

The rest of the ceremony went off fine, and we headed to the reception.   The caterers arrived and the wedding party was instructed to cork the champagne and wine bottles.  I was mortified when I saw the caterers (who were wearing yellow logo t-shirts, PLASTIC SURGICAL gloves, jeans, and sun visors) carrying in tin foil pans covered with foil.  The bride told them that the wedding party would be cleaning up, so they were free to leave.  I think my jaw hit the floor.  The wedding party was instructed to walk around with a bottle of wine in one hand and champagne in the other and fill everyone's glasses.  That was all right with me.  Then we went up to get our food.  It was cold, tough pot roast and roasted potatoes, and cold dinner rolls.  I couldn't eat much besides the rolls.    

Right after the eating finished and the dancing began, we were instructed to begin cleanup.  The wedding party walked around with trash bags, picking up the plastic plates, cups, and utensils and throwing them away.  During all of this, one of the bride's grandmothers followed us around, telling us to keep the plastic ware since they intended to reuse it.  Most of us pretended not to hear her.  Most of the reception was spent filling trash bags.  Then we were told to collapse the tables and chairs and move them to one wall since the guy would be there to pick them up the next morning.  Finally the reception ended.  The limo to take the newlyweds away was an hour late, but the DJ and his scantily-clad "assistant" (read: tank top and short shorts) had already left.  So we all sat around and chatted.    

My boyfriend and I went to Wendy's on our way back to the hotel since we were starving.  He was so angry about the entire situation that he could barely speak.  He thought we were treated horribly.  He is still one of my best friends, but I have never had the heart to tell him that we never received acknowledgement or a thank-you for all the gifts.    

A few months later, I was at the home of the maid of honor's mother, for whom I often dogsit.  She suggested we watch the gift-opening party portion of the wedding video, since I had had to leave the next day after the wedding and couldn't attend the party.  We watched the bride and groom opening gifts, and then I saw my picture frames being opened.  There was a muffled comment from the bride to the groom and they both made a weird face and laughed.  The maid of honor's mother quickly turned off the TV. and changed the subject.  I will never know what was said about the gifts, but all I can say is that the frames were on the registry, so if they didn't like them, it's their own fault.   Amazingly, she is still one of my best friends, and will be a bridesmaid in my upcoming wedding.  My parents made me promise not to let her help plan anything though!


Why, why, why?  I know love can cover a multitude of sins in others but holy pistols, you are getting used up one side, down the other, all around the middle and over the top by this "best friend".  

I started working at a company two years ago as the receptionist and owner's personal assistant. I became pretty friendly with the owner's granddaughter who worked in a cubicle near my desk.  We went to lunch and happy hour, and chatted frequently about her impending divorce and other things.  We talked on the phone often, I knew her two young sons, and she even drove me home from work for a week while my car was on the fritz. 

  Finally the divorce was final and I learned that she had become engaged to a former boyfriend.  I was so happy for her as I thought she would finally have a chance at true wedded bliss.  I left the company at the end of that year for a better opportunity, but we still kept in touch.  Imagine my surprise when she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids!  Needless to say I was honored as it would only be myself and her best friend, the MOH, standing up for her.  We made plans to look at dresses and work on the wedding arrangements.  During the same time, my then boyfriend returned home from college and was staying with his grandmother and working.  The future groom then generously offered to sublet his apartment to my honey and I as he would be moving into his future bride's house along with throwing in the dining room furniture and offering to pay the rent and utilities for a month until we got settled.  Well, obviously we were ecstatic and very pleased with their generosity.    

Then suddenly all contact ceased. No calls, no e-mails, and NO apartment.  All contact initiated by me went unanswered.  Not only was I calling to check on the status of the move, but also on the welfare of my buddy and her two adorable kids. We were devastated as we had made substantial investment in buying furniture and buying a storage unit for his things that had been shipped from his college apartment 500 miles away.  I had also chosen not to renew my lease and would be out on my duff two weeks from our anticipated move-in date.  A YEAR AND 4 MONTHS passed and I still did not hear from either one of them.    

I recently went back to my old place of employment to say hello to my former coworkers, and while my so-called friend does not work there anymore, our mutual friends had a disturbing explanation for her strange behavior.   Her grandfather, who was financing the entire wedding made it perfectly clear to her that I was not to be included in the wedding festivities, as a guest or otherwise, as I was not the same race as their family and "no N*****s would be in this wedding".  This conversation also took place in the front hall of the office in earshot of all of my former coworkers so everyone knew about it.    

So apparently I was good enough to schlep coffee and papers, answer his phone, read his mail and pay his bills, not to mention endure half-hour phone calls form his ill-tempered wife, who despite 10 years in this country refuses to conduct a conversation completely in English (thank God I speak fluent Spanish), and be subject to lecherous stares, ogling and inappropriate comments about my *ahem* hindquarters (his word, not mine) but God forbid I should have the audacity to think I could come and stand up in support of my friend as an EQUAL!!!  

By the way, this is also the man who has yet to correctly call me by my very common and easy to pronounce name (which happens to rhyme with his granddaughter's).  It hurts me to this day that she never even bothered to tell me herself and she still will not answer my calls TWO YEARS LATER.  Hopefully none of the people reading this will have to be subjected to such hurtful things.  


 The pursuit of the picture perfect wedding is certainly not limited to excluding attendants on the basis of weight, height or hair color.   Count your blessings that you have disassociated yourself from such shallow people.

 My husband and I went to an amusement park during the off season hoping to avoid the crowds.  We did, but we also avoided the crowd controllers; there was nobody watching the lines for the rides, and some people took advantage of this to smoke illegally.  We ended up next to one of these lovely people, a kid who couldn't have been more than sixteen.  I asked him to put it out, pointing to the four visible "No Smoking" signs. No good.  I told him he was bothering my asthmatic husband.  The kid shrugged. 

So I reached over and crushed his cigarette in my bare hand.  Not exactly Miss Manners, but I was willing to risk being burned as penance.

The kid gave me a hurt look like I just took away his
favorite treat; he obviously didn't have any other smokes, so he just stood there looking dejected. However, a woman thirty feet ahead of us in line started shrieking at me.  She didn't know me, she didn't know the kid, but apparently what I did was a personal offence to her.  So for the next several minutes, as we wound back and forth through the waiting-maze, she told me at the top of her lungs how horrible it was that I violated this kid’s personal rights and damaged his property.  

I was frankly amused that a complete stranger would berate me for stopping someone from breaking multiple laws, so I gave mild, straightforward answers, which only enraged her further.  Finally, she lit a cigarette, blew a cloud of smoke in my face, and shouted out her assessment of me in the foulest language she could manage.

I gave her a smile, and said calmly, “Well, you have a *good* day, now.”  I figured, with that attitude, she probably didn’t get that many of them. 
After I got off the ride, I saw the woman taking very animatedly to a security guy, and about laughed myself sick trying to figure what she had to complain about!


Unfortunately, while everyone in this story is guilty of a faux pas, you get the honor of being singled out for your behavior.  While the amusement park does have a "No Smoking" policy, it is not within your sphere of responsibility to enforce it nor to dish out punishment.  Obviously one faux pas does not justify another and in this case, you actually went farther than the teen did with his smoking because you escalated an incident by abruptly invading his personal space.  You were very fortunate the teen was as docile as he was and offered no resistance but what if he had been of the same attitude as the woman farther in the line?  You already had an escalated scene and had the teen responded like the other woman, things could have gotten really ugly.  Better to have asked him to put it out and then appealed to the park security if he did not.  


In another story from the "Oh, my god, will stores and advertisers stop at nothing?!?" category, I saw in a local area shopping/tip guide for pregnant women a box of Baby Shower Themes that included the Grandmother Shower, which according to them is "quickly gaining popularity" and "showers the Grandma-to-be so her home is prepared for Baby's first visit and many more after!" [exclamation point theirs]  

Wow.  I'm stunned.  Not only are we required these days to throw a huge "Jack and Jill" baby shower at a rented hall for the mom-and-dad-to-be, but also a shower at the office AND shower(s) for the grandmother(s)-to-be.  Will it never end???


I think I need to be showered with aspirin, a heating pad, a comfy pad to fall on and other niceties to prepare me for bad stories of greedy faux pas.  


In Jan my DH (then FH) and I were traveling through IL to get to my cousin's wedding from our college. It was raining when we left, which should have been a sign that travel was going to be bad, but I really wanted to go, so we go under the idea that if the weather gets bad we'll find somewhere to stop for the night. Her wedding is on a Friday, so we have to leave after my morning class. The weather turned worse as we headed north, and we got into an accident. I was taken to the hospital for a minor concussion, and we had to hitch a ride in the back of a police cruiser to get to a local hotel. The hospital was swamped with people getting into accidents, and what had been freezing rain turned to snow, and by the time we got out of the hospital to go to the hotel there were several inches of snow on the ground. Not like we were going to call someone to come get us, even with the college only 30 miles from where we crashed.

Anyways, my cousin's gift is in the car, sitting directly where the impact occurred. Of course, I had to buy something crystal, which I saved up months for, and it was smashed to bits. Not my biggest worry, with my DH freaking out about what is now a no-fault accident that happened in a car he borrowed from his mother. I called my family as soon as I got out of the hospital to say I was OK and that I was going to stay the night and find a ride when the weather got bad, and when I got to the hospital I phoned again saying we were there OK. Apparently, many people didn't attend the wedding as the weather was worse up north, but some did show. Most people who didn't called the bride's family, and mailed their gift ASAP.

Since I thought my family, who went to the wedding, would say why I wasn't there, I didn't bother calling the bride. My family said I wasn't going to be able to come, but failed to give a reason for fear of freaking out some other family members. They knew I'd be getting phone calls all night if they said anything, so they just said I decided to stay home due to the weather.

A few days after the wedding I get an e-mail from my cousin saying I was rude for not calling and telling that I wasn't coming, and demanding to know where her gift was (I'm not kidding.) I e-mailed her back telling her what had happened, including her gift, and that I'd get a replacement as soon as I got the money. She e-mailed me again saying my injury was not an excuse, I should have called, and that she wanted her gift NOW, she even says etiquette states that you have 1 month after the wedding to give the gift (not true!!) She says I wasted her family's money by not showing, and it was so much per person, etc, etc. No one else I talked to who didn't go got this stupid wasting money e-mail.

I was real tempted to send her the broken bits of crystal (I kept them for a friend who wanted to use them in an art project) with a nice card, of course, but I let it go. Things have been tight, and I haven't saved up enough to replace the gift, extra money is going into savings in case my DH and I have a bad month, since I'm not working til I'm done with my student teaching in Dec. I was going to use anything left after I got a job to buy a gift and send it, I heard you have up to a year after the wedding to give a gift, and I figured better late than never.

Well, I had my wedding, and it was beautiful. My cousin and her family were invited but didn't attend, nor did they reply to the invite in the positive or negative. I didn't hear a peep from them until I got this e-mail from my cousin just a few minutes ago. I'll keep most of it out, just print the fun parts for you:

"My family and I couldn't come to your wedding, we were busy. We decided not to send you and Matt..." NOT my DH's name... "a wedding gift because we didn't get one from you. We're using the money to replace the crystal [sic] you wrecked... we were going to use it for a nice dinner at our house, but you never sent it... its really rude not to send a gift, but thank you for the crystal now... hope you and Matt are happy."

Whew!!! I'm glad I don't have to send them a wedding gift anymore. Or speak to them ever again.


Winner of the Ehell Spit BBQ Award of the February 2007 Update!

I recently went shopping for a wedding dress with my next door neighbor. She mentioned earlier that she was not well known for having good taste, but it was still a bit shocking when she announced to me (giggling) that her wedding colors were going to be fuchsia and orange! If I am invited, I don’t think I’ll go.


Fuchsia and orange are the hot colors this wedding season.  You would decline an invitation because the colors would offend the delicate photo sensors in your retinas?  

OK, this might be an oversensitive reaction on my part, but hey...    

2 weeks before I started a new job, I was at a family party.  My cousin (we'll call her "Rachel"), who is several years older than I, bumped into me at a family party with the friendly greeting, "I hear you have a new job."     

A little background here.  I was 23 at the time.  I'd left home at 18 to move in with my then-boyfriend, in a tiny, mould-covered bedsit on a rough council estate.  I worked constantly, full-time, for 2 years in unskilled minimum-wage jobs, whilst my ex ("Bert") would repeatedly waltz into a new job, stick it for a couple of months till he was "bored", and walk out - to be unemployed for a further period of months, and not able to claim benefit, because my £4 an hour was considered sufficient to keep us both.  Additionally, Bert was a paranoid alcoholic, and repeatedly battered me (and I mean harshly bruised and battered, not just "the odd slap") right through our relationship.

  I grimly clung on to my tedious, badly-paid employment until I succeeded into applying to university.  I had to take out the maximum student loan available (my wonderful parents supported me to the hilt, but could not afford to give me money beyond a few pounds a month - that was not their fault: they had another daughter in Higher Education, a son just about to go, and yet another child at home), and I worked long hours in a pub on top of my full-time course (and also, of course, full-time in the holidays back at home with Bert).      

At the beginning of my 3rd year, I finally found the courage to split from Bert, moving out of our bedsit and into my student accommodation permanently (thank God for a kind and decent landlord!).  I came out with a First Class Honors Degree (whoopee!), carried on working in the pub, and a few months later managed to get a job at a local publishers!  Not a manager's or executive's, but a decent reliable better-paid job in a friendly office, which I was thrilled to accept.   We are a working-class family (her mother and mine were daughters of a domestic servant and a welder).  Rachel's mother and father, however, were financially rather better off than mine - she'd been privately (and expensively) educated, financially supported through university, and the year before had married a very well-off chap indeed, with a hugely overblown and lavish wedding at a remote castle (though to her credit, she didn't marry him for his wallet.  But she was still pretty damn well-off now, money-wise).    

So, back at the party: I waxed lyrical about how pleased I was with the new position. Rachel (who knew all the above, and whose mother had actually counseled me at the time when I was leaving my unspeakable ex) smiled kindly and said...   "Is it nice to be standing on your own two feet at last, then?"    Exactly what you want to hear when you're still raw from 5 years of financial, physical and emotional struggle!  What made things even worse was that it was spoken without an ounce of intentional malice.  Just pure bloody willful thoughtlessness.   


You will do yourself a world of good if you wouldn't take kindly meant comments and turn them into heinous insults.  The faux pas here is yours because what your cousin said to you doesn't even begin to come close to be offensive...except to the terminally sensitive and easily offended.  

I went to the bridal shower recently of my DH's cousin's fiancée. On their registry they has an everyday dish set that was about $120. Walking around a different store, I found the same dinner set on clearance at about $50. Thinking I was getting something that the couple wanted, I thought I really lucked out and bought it. (This is how I buy many gifts for showers/weddings, you can usually find things cheaper elsewhere, and it is the same stuff). Went through the shower routine, got the obligatory excited "thank you" during the shower and thought that was that.

However, then I got a phone call from the bride's mother. They said that she wanted to return the gift to the store, and needed the gift receipt to do so. I asked why she wanted to return it, since it was on her registry, and was told that the bride registered for that dinner set because it was more expensive than the one she wanted, and that she would return the more expensive set and get the cheaper set and store credit, but she needed the receipt. I explained that I got the set from store X, not store Y, because I thought that's what they wanted and I could get it for a price I could afford. The mother said that was very selfish of me and hung up.

Later, bridezilla calls and leaves me a message saying where she's registered in no uncertain terms, and says that there's a reason brides register at certain stores. It took all my energy not to call her back and tell her yeah, so they can get what they WANT and NEED for their house, TO KEEP.

When I played message for DH, he agreed that he didn’t want to get involved with this mess, but because he made non-refundable hotel reservations he wanted to know if we could go up and spend time with his mother, stepfather, and grandparents. I agreed under the stipulation that if he changed his mind he wouldn't think twice about leaving me at the hotel when he goes to the wedding, and that he will spend no money that is mine or ours on a wedding gift, but he will not attach my name to any gift.

DH's mother called earlier. DH has been working nights, so I took the call. She asked if I had gotten the wedding invite yet, and if we were still planning on going. I explained everything that happened, and she was horrified. She wasn't able to go to the shower, but she sent a gift with a receipt that she had saved up a long time for (she's busy paying off medical expenses and such, so she did have to save for about 6 months to get the gift she wanted). She was really upset about the thought of her time and money wasted, and she called up her brother's wife (future MIL of bridezilla) and asked how cousin Richie and bridezilla liked the gift. Brother's wife, who's house has the gifts stored, goes looking for cousin, and can't find the gift anywhere in her house, where they’re "storing" the gifts until Richie and bridezilla move into their new house. 

My MIL is now very upset herself, and wishes she hadn't accepted invite. She says she'll go to wedding but bring no gift, but she asked me to please not tell her mother (who's bedridden from a stroke) about what happened, because my grandmother in law worked hard to be able to go out in a wheelchair to specially pick out a gift for bridezilla, and to hear that it was just for returns would really upset her. I don't blame her.

Bridezilla found out that DH and I aren't coming to the wedding, and found out why (because of the whole shower fiasco). She also found out that my SIL isn't coming for the same reason (she actually told Richie’s friend that she doesn't have the money to spend on a sham gift.) Also, even though MIL and I swore we weren't going to tell my grandmother in law, somehow she found out and called her son (Richie's father) to say that she's horrified and completely upset that they would do that to the family, and that she's decided not to come "due to her health."

This, of course, sent bridezilla into a fit (mainly because GIL bought the best shower gift, money wise, so she probably got a good return on that one). She's now insisting that "no one from THAT part of the family" come (meaning my mother, stepfather, and sister in laws and kids, grandmother/fatherIL, and uncle/aunt that know the situation and won't buy a present, and of course DH and I). She says that there's no point in us coming if we are going to "destroy tradition" and not bring gifts (I know where we stand with her now!) We know this because bridezilla's mother (that charming lady) called and asked that we don't come, and asked us to pass it along! MIL called her brother and asked what's up, and he says of course we're ALL invited, in fact he'd be hurt if we don't come. There needs to be some more communication in this family.

DH got this e-mail this morning from his cousin:

"Hello, everyone, I have some sad news about my upcoming wedding. After some long consideration I have decided to cancel the wedding. Some things have come to my attention in the last day, and I find them horrible. I found that *bridezilla* has used the guests who were generous enough to send us gifts to get money, and has treated our friends and family horribly. I'm very sorry to all of you who were treated this way, and I assure you that you will get your shower or wedding gifts back, or get the equivalent of what it's worth. I wish I had learned of this earlier, because I feel bad canceling the wedding with just a month to go, however I don't think I can go through marrying a person who is willing to treat those who were supposed to be closest to us in such a manner. I apologize to all those who made travel arrangements, and have set up a family reunion at (place and time omitted). I hope to see you there, and again, I'm very sorry to all of you. Love to all of you, Richie"

I'm sad for Richie because he's obviously upset about this, and I wouldn't wish anyone to find out that the person they love is such a bridezilla. However I'm happy he realized that he was going to make a mistake and got out before it was too late. I think the e-mail speaks for the class of the groom in this situation, I've heard etiquette dictates that he's supposed to call everyone to tell them it's off, but I think after making such a painful decision I know it took a lot to write that e-mail, I wouldn't expect him to go through the pain of calling everyone (I noticed that several people are excluded from said e-mail, namely his parents, grandparents, and bridezilla, though bridezilla's mother got the e-mail!) I'm excited to go to the reunion, as is DH, MIL, and SIL, and we will do what we can to support Richie in this.

I just want to know if he's making bridezilla pay for all those gifts she returned, or if he's doing it himself. I also wonder if I'm going to get my dinner set back or if she sold it on e-Bay or something yet.


YEA FOR RICHIE!  Two such stories in one update!  Yes, it's a trend!


Back in 1990, when I was 19, my best friend got engaged. She asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding, saying it would mean so much to her. I was ecstatic! She even asked that my father videotape the event. She took me to be fitted for my dress and I paid the seamstress $150. Everything was going well. My friend was Mennonite and the groom was Catholic. Since they were being married in a Catholic church, she had to become Catholic. I had absolutely no problem with this whatsoever, except that, because of my own beliefs, I explained to her that I would not be able to take part in Mass. I said that, to save her any kind of embarrassment, I would make sure no one noticed and that I would do everything except actually eat a wafer or drink wine. She said she had no problem with that at all and that all that mattered to her was that I was there. About a week later, I came home from work to find a letter from her in the mail. She said she found another girl to take my place (a girl she couldn't stand and did not consider a friend, no less) and enclosed a check for $150 for the dress. I was so hurt that I have not spoken to her since. Nice friend.


Ooo, firing a bridesmaid by letter is so evil!  Ladies, have the ovarian fortitude to at least say it in person.    

Page Last Updated July 30, 2007