Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: circlekiller on December 11, 2013, 08:31:03 AM

Title: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: circlekiller on December 11, 2013, 08:31:03 AM
I'm in a sticky situation and not sure how I should have responded.  I work in the legal field and our holiday party is approaching.  The event is on the same night as my brother's holiday party.  My brother works in a blue-collar, predominately male industry and as such, they are holding their party at a "guys" place.  My party, otoh, will be held at one of the area's most elite country clubs and dress is black-tie.   I was talking to my brother and I mentioned I was going solo this year as my +1 is hosting a charity event the same night.  My plan was to just put in an appearance at my work event, then head over to his event.

My brother came up with this "brilliant" idea that he would go to his event with his bff, since it would be more fun to go to this type of place with another guy. He wanted me to take my SIL to my event (my guess is so he wouldn't feel guilty about taking his friend instead of her) and had told her about it before asking me.  So he came by last night and told me this.  He put me in a bad spot and I'm not sure my response was the best.

A little background, I'm frankly embarrassed to be seen out in public with my SIL.  She's a good person, but she dresses horribly.  Like so bad, men have come up to her and propositioned her thinking she had 'services' for sale.  This happened in Wally World (that she told me about indignantly) and another time in Target (that I witnessed).  Even when she's not letting it all out, she'll wear jeans with holes in butt area (no underwear), torn shirts, she always looks sloppy and trashy.  It's the same with her hair and makeup.  Her hair is always a mess and she cakes on the makeup, complete with either bright red or super dark (sometimes black) lipstick.  Over the years, I've tried as tactfully as possible (as has my mom) to subtly show her different styles.  Several times we've gone to MAC and had our makeup professionally, or when we are shopping, tried to encourage her to try different (more age-appropriate) clothes on, etc.  My brother has, on several occasions, just pitched some of the worst articles of clothing.  In fact, one time I was over there and she came out in said butt jeans and he just went over, grabbed one of the holes and finished ripping out the butt so they could no longer be worn.  I've known SIL for about 15 years, and have since accepted that's just how she wants to look.  Not my spouse, so not my problem.

However, there is no way in Hades I would ever take her to a black-tie event, especially with work colleagues.  Not to mention, my SIL has had a drinking problem in the past and both the work event and charity event have open bars.  So when my brother brought up that he had invited SIL on my behalf, I hemmed and hawed that it probably wasn't the best idea considering her struggles with alcohol in the (recent) past.  He then tried to argue with me that she's "been good lately" and I should give her another chance.  He just wouldn't let up, even though I tried to make a point that just because she was doing good, didn't mean she should be put in a situation like that.  He kept arguing and finally I said I didn't want to hurt either his or her feelings, but I was concerned she didn't have anything appropriate to wear.  He got huffy and said something like, "fine, don't take her then" and left.  I felt really bad and sent him a text that I really didn't want to hurt either him or her and to please just tell her I had already asked someone else.  Had I not been taken by surprise, I would have just said that from the start but he caught me off-guard.

I feel bad and my brother is now being cool towards me.  Is there a better way to have handled? I know this will come up again and next time I want to be prepared.  Thanks e-hellions. 
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Betelnut on December 11, 2013, 08:34:19 AM
I would blame your work and say that it is a professional event (which it is).  No one but spouses or SO are invited.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: cwm on December 11, 2013, 08:39:36 AM
I would blame your work and say that it is a professional event (which it is).  No one but spouses or SO are invited.

Or you could go with "Sorry, that won't be possible. I've made alternate plans." He doesn't have to know that your alternate plans are to go alone.

The problem was that you weren't firm upfront. You didn't start with a No, you started with a But. Basically, your initial argument was "I'd take her, but..." giving him room to counter everything you said. And the more reasons you bring up, the more he can defend her and get it into his head that you would take her if all these conditions were met.

Have fun at your holiday party, if nothing else!
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: SCMagnolia on December 11, 2013, 08:44:32 AM
Can you say something along the lines of "oh, I appreciate your suggestion, but I'm afraid she really wouldn't have a good time.  There's always a lot of shop talk and I'm sure she'd find that heart-stoppingly boring."

Or tell him that you're going to go to your party just to make an appearance, because after all, it IS for work and you gotta do what you gotta do, but that you were planning to skip out early and meet up with friends/go home and clean the litter box/spend the rest of the night contemplating navel lint, etc etc.... 

I think it was rather ballsy of him to suggest she go with you to what is likely a very conservative event, especially given the fact that he KNOWS how she will likely present herself.  And I have a feeling that is precisely the reason he is trying to pawn her off on you and not take her to HIS Christmas party.  I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that going to a "guys" place with his BFF would be more fun.  I think it has a whole lot to do with the fact that he knows how his co-workers will react to her being trampily dressed. 

Which makes me wonder why he thinks YOUR co-workers would be a more fitting crowd....   

Say no.  Stick to your guns and your original plan and DO NOT feel guilty.  This is a work party and there are some things you just CAN NOT do unless you're in business to commit career suicide.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: SamiHami on December 11, 2013, 08:47:37 AM
Pretty nervy of your brother to just assume he can decide who you are going to take without even asking you first. This would have been a great opportunity to use "Sorry, but that just won't be possible," and possibly a reminder that he doesn't get to decide things like that for other people. He can ask, but he cannot demand.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: NyaChan on December 11, 2013, 08:48:29 AM
Yeah, telling him that it was about her drinking, well no its about her clothes and so on was probably not a good idea.  You had a much better reason that was more polite to use - this is a work event and very formal and the plus one was meant for introduce a spouse or significant other to the firm, not to just bring a companion.  You could have even gone as simple as, "Oh no, that would come off as weird at my office to bring a relative." or  "The plus ones are supposed to be for spouses or long-term partners."

Since you've already had the conversation and revealed close to the real reason, I don't know what you can do except to either wait for your brother to thaw or to apologize and say you didn't mean to offend.  Then you can explain the more polite reason why you can't take her.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: YummyMummy66 on December 11, 2013, 09:02:07 AM
At this point, there is not much you can do.  You have apologized.  I would not do so again.

This is your work Christma party.  It is a black tie event. 

You know how she dresses and how she drinks. 

This is a disaster in the making.

The only reason your brother is upset is because he now has to back out of the invitation that he made to his wife on your behalf because he did not want to take his wife to his Christmas party, but rather his best friend. 

Hmmm...I have to wonder why he would rather take his best friend than his wife to his work party?   Could it be for the same reasons that you have?   I am thinking so.

Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: z_squared82 on December 11, 2013, 09:08:23 AM
Should it happen again, I also say blame work. My friend usually takes one of us friends to her company Christmas party. My friends have no taken to looking at me like I should take one of them to my company Christmas party (since Iím now single). I flat out told them it would be inappropriate for me to bring anyone other than a significant other. We have such a small firm, it would just be awkward to be the only single person who brought a friend (the only other two single people never bring anyone). So Iíll be going stag.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: circlekiller on December 11, 2013, 09:30:59 AM
Thanks ladies, I don't want to lie about not being able to bring another person other than a significant other but I do like the "I've made other plans" line.  It just caught me completely off-guard.  Yes, there have been incidents with her behavior at his events in the past.  She's is touchy-feely when she's been drinking which has lead to multiple arguments with them in the past.  I remember one night she showed up at my house when I had three other friends over.  They had gotten in a fight because she had been drinking and was trying to give one of my brother's friend a back massage.  Said friend asked her to stop because it was making him uncomfortable.  She didn't and friend ended up leaving (and telling my brother why) which led to said fight.  So she's shows up because she wanted to blow off steam I guess and I'm the closest option (only person she knows that lives in walking distance).  She's relaying this story, slurry drunk, and demonstrating on one of my friends and my friend turns around and says she finds that inappropriate as well.  When the other two people agreed with her, and I said something to the affect that they've had the same argument before so maybe she should keep her hands to her herself, she flounced out of my house.

Another time I was going out to a nightclub event that she really wanted to go to as well.  Very reluctantly I allowed her to come with me.  She proceeded to get ridiculously annihilated and spent the majority of the evening at the bar talking to an ex-boyfriend.  After about two hours of this, I said it was time to go.  Then she doesn't understand why I don't want to take her with me anywhere, and I don't want to say anything to my brother because I certainly do not want to be in the middle of their relationship.  I try to keep my distance as much as possible from the entire situation.  My brother has tried to run the guilt trip of how she doesn't have a lot of friends and she's stuck at home all the time (she doesn't work), but I'm beyond caring.  As to the no friends situation, when he brings that up, lately I've just been honest and said I can understand why.  My spine has gotten stronger so the "but she's family" doesn't work on me anymore.  I'm sick of that entire situation.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: YummyMummy66 on December 11, 2013, 09:52:37 AM
I was thinking while in the shower, (do some of my best thinking that way, lol) and I think your brother found the perfect excuse not to take her to his Christmas party by inviting her to yours.

Because it does not matter whether you are blue collar or white collar, her state of dress, her makeup you describe and over abundance of drinking, etc., any work related party would like at her in the same way. 

And your brother has to wonder why she has no friends?   Does she wonder about this or even care? 

I could get past the dress to a point, (if her butt cheeks were showing thru jeans at my house, she would be asked to leave and come back with appropriate clothing), and the makeup.  But, the way her drinking gets out of hand and the way she behaves is not acceptable.  And it seems that she does not get that by when coming to your home, she did not hear what she wanted to hear, that she was right and her husand and friend were wrong. 

It is not up to you to address these problems with your SIL, nor is it up to you to help her get friends.  That is for her husband to talk over with her. 
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: yokozbornak on December 11, 2013, 10:02:18 AM
It sounds like your brother is trying to pawn his problem off on you, and he's mad it didn't work.  He will get over it or die mad.  I am sure he's worried that she's going to get drunk and hit on his co-workers so this was his attempt to pre-empt the situation. I would tell him to deal with his own marital problems and leave you out of it.  He told his wife about your party first because he figured he had backed you into a corner and you wouldn't say no.  Don't feel guilty about hurting his feelings.  He was trying to manipulate the situation and it backfired on him.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: MurPl1 on December 11, 2013, 10:03:00 AM
I'm actually wondering why your description of your brother being blue collar and your assumption that a male-dominated business would have their event at a "guys" place.  Honestly, that has no bearing on your question and is actually very condescending.

My husband has been in construction for 30+ years and never has the holiday party been anywhere but a banquet hall or hotel.  Now that we own a construction business, much smaller, the parties have been held at a steak house.  (white table cloth NOT peanut shells on the floor).

I handled the holiday parties for a manufacturing company of 125 people, all but 15 were men.  Again, held at banquet halls and hotels.

And I cannot figure out for the life of me what a "guys" place is.  That says strip club to me.  If it's not, then what on earth could it possibly be?

Honestly, I have to suspect your tone in telling your brother may have come off as judgmental of him as well as his wife.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: yokozbornak on December 11, 2013, 10:10:21 AM
I'm actually wondering why your description of your brother being blue collar and your assumption that a male-dominated business would have their event at a "guys" place.  Honestly, that has no bearing on your question and is actually very condescending.

My husband has been in construction for 30+ years and never has the holiday party been anywhere but a banquet hall or hotel.  Now that we own a construction business, much smaller, the parties have been held at a steak house.  (white table cloth NOT peanut shells on the floor).

I handled the holiday parties for a manufacturing company of 125 people, all but 15 were men.  Again, held at banquet halls and hotels.

And I cannot figure out for the life of me what a "guys" place is.  That says strip club to me.  If it's not, then what on earth could it possibly be?

Honestly, I have to suspect your tone in telling your brother may have come off as judgmental of him as well as his wife.

I don't thinks he is making an assumption about it being held at a "guy's place" because he is in a male dominated industry since she seems to know where it's actually being held.  I was imagining a place like Dave & Buster's or even a sports bar.  They don't cater exclusively me to men, but I know a lot of guys who go there to hang out with their buddies while my female friends and I wouldn't really consider going there for a night out.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Zizi-K on December 11, 2013, 10:18:35 AM
I'm surprised you even treated his suggestion seriously. It's a work party for goodness' sake and it would be weird to take anyone but an SO. I would have treated it like a joke. You allowed your brothers guilt trip to work. Shake it off and firmly put the kibosh on his ridiculous suggestion.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Kaypeep on December 11, 2013, 10:20:19 AM
"I feel bad and my brother is now being cool towards me.  Is there a better way to have handled? I know this will come up again and next time I want to be prepared.  Thanks e-hellions. "

The best way to handle any unexpected request is to say "I'm not sure.  Let me check and get back to you."  This buys you time to prepare the best and most appropriate answer.  So practice saying that, and you'll be more prepared for next time.

As for your brother, if he brings up this issue and tries to make you feel badly, I would say something along the lines of "I find it ironic that you're trying to make me feel badly for not bringing your wife to MY holiday party, one which she wasn't invited to in the first place, whereas you seem to have no problem not bringing her to your own holiday party, which she WAS invited to.  I think the egg on the face here is yours, brother, and not mine."
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Deetee on December 11, 2013, 10:22:37 AM
Two choices.

1) Say no and your SIL has some hurt feelings and your BIL is cranky.

2) Say yes and you will bring an unmitigated disaster to your work party.

I vote for 1)
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: circlekiller on December 11, 2013, 10:31:26 AM
To MurPl1, please don't take offense.  I have no issues with any field one choose to be in.  I mention it because in comparison to my events, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.  In the past, they have been held at sports bars and D&B's and are much more casual, in both dress and atmosphere (last year it was held at a popular biker bar in my area).  There are no women at his company.  My work events are very formal and definitely have a more reserved atmosphere.  This year his event is being held at hoo-hoo-hooters so it's definitely (IMHO) somewhere I consider to be guy-centric and not somewhere where most men would bring S/O for an event I would think.  His co-workers are nice guys but they tend to get "filed with the Christmas spirit" (or some spirit, lol) and can get boisterous.  Hope that make sense.

Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: m2kbug on December 11, 2013, 10:32:39 AM
I think at this point I would really just try to avoid the topic with your brother.  He is well aware of the problems with his wife, her manner of dress, her behavior, but you're the one catching flack for it.  His plan backfired, and I suspect, like others, that this was his way of hopefully getting out of dragging his wife to his Christmas party and pawning her off on you.  I think if the topic presents itself again, if you can't deflect it, simply tell him it was wrong of him to make arrangements and invite his wife without clearing it with you first.  You can tell him this Christmas party at work was more of a professional/business event than a social event, and it would not be appropriate to bring along your buddies anyway.  You could state the obvious problems when she starts drinking.  It's not like it's a secret, but I think your best best is to try to stay out it as best as possible.

For the future, I think the best thing would just be to say, "Sorry, I already made other arrangements," or "this is for employees and their spouses only." (and significant others)
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: JoieGirl7 on December 11, 2013, 10:38:56 AM
I think there s a commercial about stuffing a candy bar in your mouth to keep from saying anything while giving one time to think.

Some good suggestions about not offering excuses and just sayinf that it won't be possible or you've made other plans.

Why are you not "cool" to him?  He was very rude to you trying to push his wife on you as a date.  If she was good company, then you seek her out.  They don't get it.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: nyoprinces on December 11, 2013, 10:45:29 AM
If you hadn't already mentioned her mode of dress, etc., I don't think it would be lying to say that it would be inappropriate for you to bring a SIL to your party. Even if it's not explicitly forbidden, I think most people would find it odd for someone to bring a non-SO to a company party.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: carol1412 on December 11, 2013, 11:39:39 AM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Hillia on December 11, 2013, 11:43:05 AM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

Well, she's been given some pretty direct feedback which was unwelcome. 
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: DavidH on December 11, 2013, 11:43:17 AM
Guy's place:  Sports bar, some biker bars, Dave and Busters, go kart track, that kind of thing.  Not guys only, but more likely to appeal to a guy than a woman for a party. 
Woman's place:  Nail salon, spa, afternoon tea restaurant.  Not women only, but few guys would choose them for a get together.

Yes, those are stereotypes, but leaving aside adult entertainment, those would be my first thoughts on the matter.

I think the problem was that your message was a politely stated, she drinks too much, gets inappropriate, and dresses badly.  All of which may be true, but there is really no way to tell someone that and have it go over well.

A better plan in the future would be to avoid anything that could be seen as a personal criticism.  Objections along the lines of, it is really a spouses and SO's only event, I'm not planning on staying very long, it wouldn't be appropriate to being someone who wasn't a spouse are better since it cannot be taken as a reflection on her personally. 

As an aside, if you want to make it up to them/her, why not invite them for an evening out at a different time and make some excuse along the lines of, I was so surprised when you asked about the company party I didn't know what to say, but we haven't seen each other for a while, let's go to XYZ venue together on XX date.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: weeblewobble on December 11, 2013, 11:43:28 AM
Please stop chasing your doofus brother's approval.  His behavior/"coolness" is the epitome of "doesn't have a leg to stand on."  HE decided that to absolve HIMSELF of guilt for doing what HE wants to, HE would slough HIS wife on you.  And not only that, to cement HIS plan, HE invited HIS wife without checking with you first, leaving you in a horribly awkward position.  And now, HE is cold to you?

Do you notice which pronouns I'm emphasizing here?  HE is the problem.  Not you.  Let him stay cool.  Let him sit on an iceblock. He doesn't have the right to get angry with anyone just because his stupid self serving plan was foiled.

You cannot take someone who has no idea how to behave appropriately to a work function. End of story.  Your only mistake was JADE-ing with him.

You might consider notifying security at the club that your SIL is not on the invite list because I wouldn't put it past your brother not to tell her she was uninvited.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: carol1412 on December 11, 2013, 11:48:10 AM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

Well, she's been given some pretty direct feedback which was unwelcome.

Depends on how it was presented - if it was done as criticism "you look awful, here put this on and you'll at least be covered!", then yes it was probably unwelcome. If it's done with love "this color looks fabulous on you. Please come out to dinner with me and we'll show you off", then it may be accepted better. I just don't get any feeling of love between OP and her SIL. Nor between OP's brother and his wife. I just think that's sad.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: doodlemor on December 11, 2013, 11:49:58 AM

Why are you not "cool" to him?  He was very rude to you trying to push his wife on you as a date.  If she was good company, then you seek her out.  They don't get it.

Abso-bingo-lutely!  Your brother is trying to intimidate you because he knows that he is in the wrong.  Ignore him.  It is not incumbent upon you to fix his problems.

And yes, notify security at the club as weeblewobble says.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: weeblewobble on December 11, 2013, 11:55:16 AM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

I know this is going to sound mean, but I don't feel sorry for her.  Her behavior is leading to her isolation.  And you can't say, "Well, maybe she doesn't realize how badly she's behaving" because she's been told/demonstrated to repeatedly that what she's doing is unacceptable. (The friend telling her to stop massaging him, the OP's friends agreeing that the behavior was inappropriate, etc.)  She just doesn't care.  As long as it's more important to her to behave as she wishes than to behave appropriately, she will be lonely.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: cwm on December 11, 2013, 12:08:56 PM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

I know this is going to sound mean, but I don't feel sorry for her.  Her behavior is leading to her isolation.  And you can't say, "Well, maybe she doesn't realize how badly she's behaving" because she's been told/demonstrated to repeatedly that what she's doing is unacceptable. (The friend telling her to stop massaging him, the OP's friends agreeing that the behavior was inappropriate, etc.)  She just doesn't care.  As long as it's more important to her to behave as she wishes than to behave appropriately, she will be lonely.

A million times this! She's been given feedback on her behavior and makes the conscious choice to ignore it.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: SCMagnolia on December 11, 2013, 12:17:55 PM
Quote
His co-workers are nice guys but they tend to get "filed with the Christmas spirit" (or some spirit, lol) and can get boisterous.

Sounds like she would fit in perfectly....  BUT...  I'm guessing your brother doesn't want to deal with her getting falling-down drunk, hitting on co-workers, or worrying about whether her hiney is going to stay in those jeans for the entire night. 

At any rate, she is HIS problem.  Not yours.   He's just mad because you won't make her your problem.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: LadyL on December 11, 2013, 12:19:45 PM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

I know this is going to sound mean, but I don't feel sorry for her.  Her behavior is leading to her isolation.  And you can't say, "Well, maybe she doesn't realize how badly she's behaving" because she's been told/demonstrated to repeatedly that what she's doing is unacceptable. (The friend telling her to stop massaging him, the OP's friends agreeing that the behavior was inappropriate, etc.)  She just doesn't care.  As long as it's more important to her to behave as she wishes than to behave appropriately, she will be lonely.

A million times this! She's been given feedback on her behavior and makes the conscious choice to ignore it.

Some people are just terribly lacking in self awareness. It often extends to other social deficits as well such as not understanding/respecting interpersonal boundaries (which also sounds like an issue here).
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Mergatroyd on December 11, 2013, 12:26:22 PM
I'm a SAHM, and I feel no desire to attend any Christmas or otherwise functions. I'm too busy to be sitting alone twiddling my thumbs. One should not assume that SAHM's are desperate to go out.

In my reading of the thread, I came to the conclusion (not necessarily correct) that BIL doesn't want her to attend his party because she'll get friendly with the men. He doesn't want to tell her that, so he came up with this other idea.

Question: Did either the OP or the BIL actually ASK the wife if she WANTS to attend?

I'm going to guess no. She'd probably have fun at his party. She might get mistaken for a waitress, but at least she'll be in the kind of place where it's not frowned upon to flash some flesh. Sure, she'll hit on his coworkers, get trashed, and probably end the night in a screaming match, but it sounds like that is her normal.
OP's party? She's got to know that she'd be miserable.

Personally, I would tell BIL, "Sure, she can come, but we're only going for an hour, she has to wear a dress of my chosing from X store and YOU are paying for it. Oh by the way, we'll be getting our hair and makeup done at Y salon prior to the event, and you'll also be expected to pay for that. Furthermore, If she has more than two drinks in that hour we are there, we will be leaving immediately."
Seeing as he'll also have to pay a babysitter, it would be a high price for a boys night. How desperate is he?

OP, you don't have to make things easy for your Bro. I also agree with PP that bro should stew in his own pot and you don't have to do anything. Her name was not on your invite.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: EMuir on December 11, 2013, 12:52:10 PM
Of course your brother was miffed, he had found the perfect solution for himself and you rained all over his selfish parade!  I wouldn't ever bring the subject up again and next time you see him just act like all is normal, and you've forgiven him for his boorish request.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 11, 2013, 01:15:50 PM
I think politeness doesn't need to be quite so formal between siblings.

If my brother had suggested something similar to me, I think I'd have had a hard time not coming out with, 'Are you on crack?  Why on earth would I want to bring your wife to my formal Christmas party?  Take her to your own dingdangity party.'

And as someone else said, he'll either get over it or die mad.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 11, 2013, 01:19:11 PM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

Well, she's been given some pretty direct feedback which was unwelcome.

Depends on how it was presented - if it was done as criticism "you look awful, here put this on and you'll at least be covered!", then yes it was probably unwelcome. If it's done with love "this color looks fabulous on you. Please come out to dinner with me and we'll show you off", then it may be accepted better. I just don't get any feeling of love between OP and her SIL. Nor between OP's brother and his wife. I just think that's sad.

From circlekiller's first post: Over the years, I've tried as tactfully as possible (as has my mom) to subtly show her different styles.  Several times we've gone to MAC and had our makeup professionally, or when we are shopping, tried to encourage her to try different (more age-appropriate) clothes on, etc.

I don't know what else circlekiller can do.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: EllenS on December 11, 2013, 01:27:06 PM
OP, is it really the culture at your job that you can bring anyone to a black-tie company party?

This would be seen as mooching, and a huge no-no at any of the professional firms I have worked at.

"I'm afraid that won't be possible. It would be professionally inappropriate for me to bring SIL to a work event."

You need not specify WHY it is inappropriate.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Amara on December 11, 2013, 01:43:33 PM
I would advise NOT taking her regardless of any parameters that the OP might set because anything what is at risk is not the OP's possible embarrassment but her professional reputation with her colleagues.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Yvaine on December 11, 2013, 01:56:23 PM
OP, is it really the culture at your job that you can bring anyone to a black-tie company party?

This would be seen as mooching, and a huge no-no at any of the professional firms I have worked at.

"I'm afraid that won't be possible. It would be professionally inappropriate for me to bring SIL to a work event."

You need not specify WHY it is inappropriate.

And, OP, this could be your white lie to get you out of this. You've already objected on other grounds...can you say you changed your mind and asked, and were shot down? (note: don't really ask!)
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: gramma dishes on December 11, 2013, 02:00:16 PM
Since your plans were right from the very beginning to stay only a short while at your company's event and then move on to the person who would have been your +1's charity event, what would your brother have expected you to do?  Take his wife to both your own thing and then also drag her with you to your SO's event?

I think this would be the perfect place for, "Oh, no.  Sorry.  I've already made other plans" (totally true) with no additional information necessary.

I wouldn't even acknowledge that you realize your brother is being cool toward you.  If you act like you notice, it might reaffirm his feeling that he's made you feel guilty.  You have no reason to feel guilty about not going along with his unfortunate 'escape plan'.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Goosey on December 11, 2013, 02:04:51 PM
I would say don't do anything else at this point. You've apologized and it's within his rights to back off from the relationship in support of his spouse.

I would just caution you to keep in mind that your brother fell in love with her for a reason - her confidence and personality (as reflected in the way she dresses and does her makeup) is probably one of those reasons. So, critisizing those is not a good way to keep on good terms with your brother if that's something you're concerned about.

In the future, just have a few short phrases on hand to keep her from joining your events
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 11, 2013, 02:12:37 PM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom

I'm a SAHM, and I feel no desire to attend any Christmas or otherwise functions. I'm too busy to be sitting alone twiddling my thumbs. One should not assume that SAHM's are desperate to go out.

I must be blind, but I just reviewed circlekiller's posts.  Where does she state SIL is a SAHM?  All I read is that she's home all day because she doesn't work.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 11, 2013, 02:24:39 PM
Frankly, I'd be mad that he had the nerve to extend an invite without asking me in the first place (I've had this happen to me before -- friends in my teen years inviting people to my house for a party...before asking me if I'd have a party!).

He's redirecting away from him that what he did was totally rude in the first place and should be addressed (I would) -- "Why did you invite someone to my work party in the first place without asking me first?"  DH (unintentionally) distracts with tangents ALL.THE.TIME! (this is the way he talks)  He did this the other day, but I called him on it too late in the exchange.  A few minutes later, he did it again, and, this time, I called him on it immediately as he was trying to argue a point that wasn't part of the argument in the first place.

Anyway, your brother is already mad, and, frankly, he doesn't have a right to blame you for his screw-up.  I'd let him stew and leave it as he was the one to put you in the awkward position of having to answer him without being prepared for a more diplomatic response (I would be fuming that he put me in this position).  Seriously, he caused this problem; he needs to fix it.  The alternative sounds like it definitely would've compromised your standing with your company (bringing along your SIL).  By focusing on why you won't bring your SIL, your brother detracts from the fact that he shouldn't have extended that invitation to her in the first place without your expressed permission.  Don't stumble over yourself trying to apologize.  You weren't wrong in saying no or being forced to give the reason for the no that he didn't want to hear.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Clockwork Banana on December 11, 2013, 02:51:53 PM
Well, it is too late to suggest what you should have said or not, given that you were put on the spot and went with the honest route - her lack of decorum, both in dress, behavior and alcohol consumption. It is pretty easy for all of us to be Monday morning quarterbacks and come up with a myriad of reasons or excuses you should have stated for not bringing her along.  I know that I personally would probably be less than tactful if put in the same position.

IMO, your brother is being cool, because whether or not he agrees with his wife's behavior, she IS his wife, so he feels the need to defend her.  You dissed her, so he is going to take it personally.

I would just let it go.  Do not try to 'fix' things.  Your brother will hopefully let it drop himself and things will naturally evolve until your relationship is back on an even keel.  However, if he does bring it up again, or presses the issue, than maybe it is time to have that honest conversation.  You just have to tread that fine line between being concerned about an extended family member and coming across as the witchy SIL who is dumping on her bro's wife.  Hard to do.

Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on December 11, 2013, 02:54:27 PM
I would advise NOT taking her regardless of any parameters that the OP might set because anything what is at risk is not the OP's possible embarrassment but her professional reputation with her colleagues.

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Deetee on December 11, 2013, 02:55:07 PM
"Sorry Bro, I'm not going to babysit your alcoholic wife for you."

Maybe he'll get mad enough that he'll cool off even more.

Sometimes when someone is mad, it's because you did exactly the right thing.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: bloo on December 11, 2013, 03:34:52 PM
Two choices.

1) Say no and your SIL has some hurt feelings and your BIL is cranky.

2) Say yes and you will bring an unmitigated disaster to your work party.

I vote for 1)

Based on the OP and updated info, I'd just like to expand on DeeTee's perfect post to add this:

Please try not to feel too bad. #1 is the much better option than if you went with #2. They'll either get over it or they die hurt or mad. I'm sure they'll get over it. If you still feel the need to feel badly about it, you certainly have my permission, just understand that everyone feeling a little bad is better than option #2.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: circlekiller on December 11, 2013, 03:44:14 PM
Thanks everyone.  I know it's too late this time to say anything, but as this is not the first time my brother has pushed me to include her, I was looking for phrases for the next time.  My brother actually met my SIL through me.  When I met her, I was a teenager.  As I've gotten older, her behavior, her dress, her maturity, nothing has changed.  When I talk to her, its like talking to a teenager.  I've seen her pitch fits like a toddler.  I just lead a very different life, I work, I'm into fitness, we just have nothing in common. Plus, there have been several times her behavior has been completely unacceptable, and while my brother may forgive and forget, when it affects other family members (like driving blitzed out of her mind with my niece in the car, in which she hit and damaged property and then drove off), I'm not as quick to just sweep it under the rug as he is.  Then I'm the villain because I refuse to take her anywhere alcohol is involved.  After that incident, it was about a year before I would even speak to her again and only because she had stopped drinking. 

If it wasn't for the fact she was my brother's wife, she would have long since faded away.  As for brother, he will get over it and hopefully before the slew of family/holiday events coming up.  I just do my best to try and stay away from the entire situation but my brother does his best to involve me in it.   ::)
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: sammycat on December 11, 2013, 04:20:53 PM
I can't help feeling a bit sorry for your SIL - stay at home mom, so not much adult interaction during the day. Her husband doesn't want to go out with her, her sister-in-law doesn't want anything to do with her. She needs somebody to pay attention to her and just as kids sometimes do - negative attention is better than none at all.  I agree that your brother shouldn't have foisted her off on you without asking, but still have to wonder what kind of pain she's going through...

I know this is going to sound mean, but I don't feel sorry for her.  Her behavior is leading to her isolation.  And you can't say, "Well, maybe she doesn't realize how badly she's behaving" because she's been told/demonstrated to repeatedly that what she's doing is unacceptable. (The friend telling her to stop massaging him, the OP's friends agreeing that the behavior was inappropriate, etc.)  She just doesn't care.  As long as it's more important to her to behave as she wishes than to behave appropriately, she will be lonely.

I don't feel sorry for her either. Plenty of people spend the day at home alone/could be lonely and don't turn into alcoholics who behave and dress inappropriately in public.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: *inviteseller on December 11, 2013, 06:49:30 PM
Many moons ago, I had a long term temp job in an attorney's office.  While not the top firm in the least, I do know that these events are classy and also, for many top firm attorney's who have to do alot of client entertaining, spouses are seen as an asset.  I think showing up with your SIL, trashy or not would seem like you just brought along someone for the free food/booze.  The fact though that she is basically, such a hot mess her own husband doesn't want her at HIS holiday party speaks volumes.  Quit apologizing to your brother.  You did nothing wrong.  He made an (incorrect) assumption and invited his wife to your business function which is not even in the realm of polite.  He isn't mad you said what you did..he is mad he can't palm her off on you, IMO.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: sammycat on December 11, 2013, 07:00:15 PM
Many moons ago, I had a long term temp job in an attorney's office.  While not the top firm in the least, I do know that these events are classy and also, for many top firm attorney's who have to do alot of client entertaining, spouses are seen as an asset.  I think showing up with your SIL, trashy or not would seem like you just brought along someone for the free food/booze.  The fact though that she is basically, such a hot mess her own husband doesn't want her at HIS holiday party speaks volumes.  Quit apologizing to your brother.  You did nothing wrong.  He made an (incorrect) assumption and invited his wife to your business function which is not even in the realm of polite.  He isn't mad you said what you did..he is mad he can't palm her off on you, IMO.

I agree.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: katycoo on December 11, 2013, 07:30:08 PM
Thanks ladies, I don't want to lie about not being able to bring another person other than a significant other but I do like the "I've made other plans" line. 

"It woudln't be appropriate for me to bring SIL.  I expect the other Plus 1s to be partners or significant others."

Its not a lie.  You're not saying you wouldn't be allowed, but based on what you've said, it absolutely wouldn't be appropriate.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: gramma dishes on December 11, 2013, 08:02:06 PM
Thanks ladies, I don't want to lie about not being able to bring another person other than a significant other but I do like the "I've made other plans" line. 

"It woudln't be appropriate for me to bring SIL.  I expect The firm expects  Plus 1s to be partners or significant others."

Its not a lie.  You're not saying you wouldn't be allowed, but based on what you've said, it absolutely wouldn't be appropriate.

Or you could even change that just ever so slightly.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: cheyne on December 11, 2013, 08:44:02 PM

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.

This makes no sense to me, CDL, what was the guy supposed to do?  He is married to the exotic dancer, was he supposed to leave her at home?  What the heck could management say to him as he brought his wife to the party, not some random woman?  Was she banned from company parties for life? 

I don't think much of your co-workers if they have continued to gossip over something this silly for 15 years, IMO they need to get a life.

*I am not saying you were gossiping or had anything to do with this at all, it just seems so odd to me.*
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: jedikaiti on December 11, 2013, 08:49:03 PM

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.

This makes no sense to me, CDL, what was the guy supposed to do?  He is married to the exotic dancer, was he supposed to leave her at home?  What the heck could management say to him as he brought his wife to the party, not some random woman?  Was she banned from company parties for life? 

I don't think much of your co-workers if they have continued to gossip over something this silly for 15 years, IMO they need to get a life.

*I am not saying you were gossiping or had anything to do with this at all, it just seems so odd to me.*

They probably explained the need to instruct her on appropriate dress and behavior at office functions, and warned him about the likely professional consequences of the incident were to be repeated, at theirs or any other company.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: citadelle on December 11, 2013, 08:58:07 PM

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.

This makes no sense to me, CDL, what was the guy supposed to do?  He is married to the exotic dancer, was he supposed to leave her at home?  What the heck could management say to him as he brought his wife to the party, not some random woman?  Was she banned from company parties for life? 

I don't think much of your co-workers if they have continued to gossip over something this silly for 15 years, IMO they need to get a life.

*I am not saying you were gossiping or had anything to do with this at all, it just seems so odd to me.*

They probably explained the need to instruct her on appropriate dress and behavior at office functions, and warned him about the likely professional consequences of the incident were to be repeated, at theirs or any other company.

If there was a dress code, explicit or implied, she should have followed it. If it is just that her profession and perceived flirtatiousness were titallating, I find that kind of small and sad.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Emmy on December 11, 2013, 08:59:36 PM

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.

This makes no sense to me, CDL, what was the guy supposed to do?  He is married to the exotic dancer, was he supposed to leave her at home?  What the heck could management say to him as he brought his wife to the party, not some random woman?  Was she banned from company parties for life? 

I don't think much of your co-workers if they have continued to gossip over something this silly for 15 years, IMO they need to get a life.

*I am not saying you were gossiping or had anything to do with this at all, it just seems so odd to me.*

I think the point is that when somebody bring a guest that acts inappropriately to work party, it is remembered, often for many years and may reflect upon the worker.  The same thing happened at my work.  The wife of a co-worker got really drunk one year at the holiday party and that incident was brought up at every holiday party for years.  I do think CDL's co-worker should have left his wife at home if she was going to dress and act provocative at his work holiday party.

Even if SIL was an angel at the party, charming, appropriately dressed and made up, the OP would spend a lot of mental energy before the event worrying about it.  (And from the description, it sounds as if there is a much greater probability of her dressing and acting inappropriate).  Her brother foisted this on her and I think she should say 'no' and try not to feel bad.  It may be too late this time, but next time OP can say, "that won't be possible" without offering other excuses. 
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: *inviteseller on December 11, 2013, 09:08:40 PM

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.

This makes no sense to me, CDL, what was the guy supposed to do?  He is married to the exotic dancer, was he supposed to leave her at home?  What the heck could management say to him as he brought his wife to the party, not some random woman?  Was she banned from company parties for life? 

I don't think much of your co-workers if they have continued to gossip over something this silly for 15 years, IMO they need to get a life.

*I am not saying you were gossiping or had anything to do with this at all, it just seems so odd to me.*


It wouldn't have been a big deal that he married an exotic dancer if she comported herself in a proper manner in a corporate setting instead of dressing provocatively and hitting on his co workers.  It is never a good thing if your spouse embarrasses you professionally and in some fields, it can be a career killer.  If John and Bob are both up for a lucrative promotion that consists of dinners and outings with clients the boss is not going to pick John if his wife can't hold her alcohol or treats his co workers with disrespect or is too flirty when Bob's wife knows how to dress properly for events, can hold a conversation, and has impeccable manners towards everyone from the janitor to the CEO.  And to keep from being accused of sexism..this stands true for Mary & Joan if Mary's husband drinks too much, gets loud, tells off color jokes but Joan's husband is mannered, a good conversationalist and friendly. 
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 11, 2013, 09:29:35 PM

A male coworker married an exotic dancer and brought her to a company dinner.  She was dressed very revealingly and flirted with other men.  The next day management had a talk with him.  The incident provoked a lot of gossip and resulted in the man losing respect from his coworkers.  That was 15 years ago, and it still gets brought up every holiday season.

Stick to your guns.  Your brother is in the wrong, and as has already been said, he can get over it or die mad.

This makes no sense to me, CDL, what was the guy supposed to do?  He is married to the exotic dancer, was he supposed to leave her at home?  What the heck could management say to him as he brought his wife to the party, not some random woman?  Was she banned from company parties for life? 

I don't think much of your co-workers if they have continued to gossip over something this silly for 15 years, IMO they need to get a life.

*I am not saying you were gossiping or had anything to do with this at all, it just seems so odd to me.*


It wouldn't have been a big deal that he married an exotic dancer if she comported herself in a proper manner in a corporate setting instead of dressing provocatively and hitting on his co workers.  It is never a good thing if your spouse embarrasses you professionally and in some fields, it can be a career killer.  If John and Bob are both up for a lucrative promotion that consists of dinners and outings with clients the boss is not going to pick John if his wife can't hold her alcohol or treats his co workers with disrespect or is too flirty when Bob's wife knows how to dress properly for events, can hold a conversation, and has impeccable manners towards everyone from the janitor to the CEO.  And to keep from being accused of sexism..this stands true for Mary & Joan if Mary's husband drinks too much, gets loud, tells off color jokes but Joan's husband is mannered, a good conversationalist and friendly.

Like it or not, this often is the way the world works.  If you have two individuals vying for the same promotion and they are equal in everything, the powers-that-be have to figure out how to select one over the other and, like it or not, inappropriate spouse behavior could be the deciding factor if things like client meetings that include spouses have to be taken into consideration.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on December 11, 2013, 09:55:46 PM
More about the exotic dancer wife . . .

No one would've thought twice if she had dressed and acted appropriately.  She was wearing a bright red dress, with her enormous bazoongas hanging out; the dress was slit to hip level, and she was purposely flashing a lot of leg.  She was brazenly flirting with men as if she were at her place of business rather than ours.  She was making enough of a scene that it was a disruption.

There were conservative high level executives present, and I think the decision to discuss the matter with her husband came from the top.

The responsibility really lies with the husband.  The wife may not have been to a professional function before and not known what to expect.  He should've provided some guidance, as well as reining her in once there.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: LeveeWoman on December 11, 2013, 11:46:03 PM
More about the exotic dancer wife . . .

No one would've thought twice if she had dressed and acted appropriately.  She was wearing a bright red dress, with her enormous bazoongas hanging out; the dress was slit to hip level, and she was purposely flashing a lot of leg.  She was brazenly flirting with men as if she were at her place of business rather than ours.  She was making enough of a scene that it was a disruption.

There were conservative high level executives present, and I think the decision to discuss the matter with her husband came from the top.

The responsibility really lies with the husband.  The wife may not have been to a professional function before and not known what to expect.  He should've provided some guidance, as well as reining her in once there.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: TootsNYC on December 12, 2013, 10:10:18 AM


Like it or not, this often is the way the world works.  If you have two individuals vying for the same promotion and they are equal in everything, the powers-that-be have to figure out how to select one over the other and, like it or not, inappropriate spouse behavior could be the deciding factor if things like client meetings that include spouses have to be taken into consideration.

I think it absolutely is appropriate for the world to judge you by your choice of spouse.
Or by your choice of friends.

The key word is choice.

I don't think it's fair to judge someone by the behavior of the people they don't -choose- to be around.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Yvaine on December 12, 2013, 10:17:10 AM
More about the exotic dancer wife . . .

No one would've thought twice if she had dressed and acted appropriately.  She was wearing a bright red dress, with her enormous bazoongas hanging out; the dress was slit to hip level, and she was purposely flashing a lot of leg.  She was brazenly flirting with men as if she were at her place of business rather than ours.  She was making enough of a scene that it was a disruption.

There were conservative high level executives present, and I think the decision to discuss the matter with her husband came from the top.

The responsibility really lies with the husband.  The wife may not have been to a professional function before and not known what to expect.  He should've provided some guidance, as well as reining her in once there.

Yeah, from her perspective she probably thought "I'm dressed formally, and being friendly." Her husband should have tipped her off as to how women normally dress for such events, but he may have been too tickled at the idea of showing her off.  ::)
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: English1 on December 12, 2013, 10:33:13 AM
OP - your brother is just mad as now he has to take her to his works do, instead of dumping her off on you.

Next time don't try to argue/explain, just say 'no, that won't be possible'.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 10:37:12 AM
I don't think it's unreasonable - from a professional perspective - to link someone's career advancement/prospects to the behavior of a SO (or even a Plus-One) at work events.

If your SO is such a hot mess that they can't keep it together and behave appropriately at a work event (whether through ignorance, illness, addiction or just being flaky), then sooner or later that is going to create chaos in your working life.  And if you were bringing people who behave inappropriately who are not even your SO, just a date or a family member, that would show a profound lack of judgement, or boundaries.

Leadership/high-responsibility positions + personal chaos/distraction = bad for the bottom line.

So, good for OP for saying "no" and hopefully this will pay off in improved family boundaries - and work prospects - in the future.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: rose red on December 12, 2013, 10:54:45 AM
Like many have said, like it or not, we are judge by our behavior and by the company we keep.  It doesn't matter if you are white collar or blue collar, at a fancy hotel reception room or a cheap buffet.  I once worked at a grocery store and the Christmas party was held in the break room.  Sure we laughed and joked, be we still behaved respectfully because we still have to face each other at work the next day.

Just because the OP's brother want to have a good time without his own wife doesn't mean he can force someone else to "date" and entertain her.  He's basically saying "Hey, I want to have fun.  I don't care if you don't have fun at your party.  You don't matter.  Take my wife and babysit her.  She doesn't matter either."  Does the wife even want to attend a fancy schmancy party full of strangers?  I'm very interested in what she wants.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: VorFemme on December 12, 2013, 11:20:23 AM
I have a SIL (and an ex-SIL) who dress rather revealingly, from the point of view of someone who grew up in a preacher's household - that doesn't always mean red satin slit up to oh-my-goodness and down to good-gracious-she-fell-out-of-her-dress.  Or with sheer panels showing a stripe of naked body from shoulder to ankle, front & back (what the Thor co-star wore just recently comes to mind).

I have to say, that "dressing up" to go out should take a little more effort and more clothing than going to the beach or going out to a strip club (whether to work or watch the male Chippendale dancers for a "hen night").

Too many younger women (and too many older ones) seem to think that only skin tight clothes showing lots of skin are attractive.  I've seen "waterfall dresses" (the fabric skims over the body from the outside curves, concealing some things, hugging the body here or there briefly as the woman moved, but not appearing painted on - it was leaving some mysteries to be discovered by a hypothetical potential lover that not everyone at the event got to see while "she" was still dressed & walking in or dancing).

As opposed to enough red satin to make a skimpy nightie for a hot night...
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 12, 2013, 01:45:01 PM


Like it or not, this often is the way the world works.  If you have two individuals vying for the same promotion and they are equal in everything, the powers-that-be have to figure out how to select one over the other and, like it or not, inappropriate spouse behavior could be the deciding factor if things like client meetings that include spouses have to be taken into consideration.

I think it absolutely is appropriate for the world to judge you by your choice of spouse.
Or by your choice of friends.

The key word is choice.

I don't think it's fair to judge someone by the behavior of the people they don't -choose- to be around.

Oh, I'm not saying it's fair.  I'm not even saying that this is *my* hiring practice or that of my current employer.  However, I can think of one industry where I worked (commercial real estate) where I could totally see this coming into play (lots of client meetings including spouses, millions of dollars at stake).
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: TootsNYC on December 12, 2013, 01:52:05 PM


Like it or not, this often is the way the world works.  If you have two individuals vying for the same promotion and they are equal in everything, the powers-that-be have to figure out how to select one over the other and, like it or not, inappropriate spouse behavior could be the deciding factor if things like client meetings that include spouses have to be taken into consideration.

I think it absolutely is appropriate for the world to judge you by your choice of spouse.
Or by your choice of friends.

The key word is choice.

I don't think it's fair to judge someone by the behavior of the people they don't -choose- to be around.

Oh, I'm not saying it's fair.  I'm not even saying that this is *my* hiring practice or that of my current employer.  However, I can think of one industry where I worked (commercial real estate) where I could totally see this coming into play (lots of client meetings including spouses, millions of dollars at stake).


By my statement I meant:
   -don't judge a child by his parents, unless he chooses to involve them very deeply in his life (i.e., DO judge him if he brings them to a work function, judge him; but if they call the office unprompted, cut him some black)

-don't judge a person because he's related to criminal cousins (but DO judge him if he invites them over all the time)

So, at any work party, if he brings someone with him, by all means DO judge him by that association. Or by his lack of spine in saying "no, Mom, you can't come to my company party."
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: FauxFoodist on December 12, 2013, 02:11:53 PM


Like it or not, this often is the way the world works.  If you have two individuals vying for the same promotion and they are equal in everything, the powers-that-be have to figure out how to select one over the other and, like it or not, inappropriate spouse behavior could be the deciding factor if things like client meetings that include spouses have to be taken into consideration.

I think it absolutely is appropriate for the world to judge you by your choice of spouse.
Or by your choice of friends.

The key word is choice.

I don't think it's fair to judge someone by the behavior of the people they don't -choose- to be around.

Oh, I'm not saying it's fair.  I'm not even saying that this is *my* hiring practice or that of my current employer.  However, I can think of one industry where I worked (commercial real estate) where I could totally see this coming into play (lots of client meetings including spouses, millions of dollars at stake).


By my statement I meant:
   -don't judge a child by his parents, unless he chooses to involve them very deeply in his life (i.e., DO judge him if he brings them to a work function, judge him; but if they call the office unprompted, cut him some black)

-don't judge a person because he's related to criminal cousins (but DO judge him if he invites them over all the time)

So, at any work party, if he brings someone with him, by all means DO judge him by that association. Or by his lack of spine in saying "no, Mom, you can't come to my company party."

Ah, apologies for misunderstanding.  Although you *do* bring up an interesting point here

   -don't judge a child by his parents

At one of the real estate companies where I used to work, we did have a broker who was very popular and was quite well-connected...but he also has famous parents because one is in prison for killing the other one (a few TV movies were even made about the case).  There was a lot of water-cooler gossip when he joined the company, but no one held his parents against him (AFAIK as he did quite well in the industry).

Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 13, 2013, 02:00:25 PM
I know in the military, the soldier/sailor/airman/marine, etc's spouse or date to company events can have an impact on his career.  DH served in the Marines for 5 years and in the four years we were married and the two times I had the chance to attend the ball, I did my best to dress in a classy way and behave myself, knowing my behavior could come back on him. 

I don't recall seeing many women who did act up but then the first time I left the ballroom as soon as it was polite to as I wasn't feeling well due to being pregnant with our first, so if anything happened after that, I've no idea.  The second time we stuck around long enough for me to get dh to do one slow dance with me then we went home since my mother was watching both the older boys and the youngest was just a couple weeks old.
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: Sophia on December 13, 2013, 02:16:30 PM
But, really, do people take their SIL's to company parties?  Let us pretend the SIL was the type that would blend in and not cause trouble.  Who brings their SIL to someone else's party?  Who wants to go to the company party of where your SIL works? 
Title: Re: How to say, "You can't come because of how you look."
Post by: bloo on December 14, 2013, 09:08:48 AM
But, really, do people take their SIL's to company parties?  Let us pretend the SIL was the type that would blend in and not cause trouble.  Who brings their SIL to someone else's party?  Who wants to go to the company party of where your SIL works?

Yeah, unless SIL was in the industry or an industry related to it, I don't see why SIL would want to go or why OP would want her there.