Author Topic: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219  (Read 27694 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #300 on: January 09, 2014, 12:43:57 PM »
snip

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.
[/quote]

Why? I'm 48. I have an uncle, if he were still alive, would be 112. My only living aunt is 89. My sister in law is 39. She has an aunt who just turned 92. And we don't really know if this Larry's aunt or great-aunt.   

Dr. F.

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #301 on: January 09, 2014, 12:45:16 PM »
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

OK, so let's pretend that it was that Larry's wife died, etc., as you suggest.

Larry would still be in the wrong. Period. Aunt still was not required to invite the new GF.

I don't care about Larry's morals. His behavior is atrocious. The only relevant information is the "recent girlfriend," which, as I said before does NOT invoke the social unit rule. You may not like the social unit rule, but it is widely accepted in etiquette. It might have been nice and inclusive for Aunt to invite the GF, but it was not rude of her not to.

Also, the OP is only a friend of the family. Dissecting her words as indicating anything about the attitude of the family is pointless.

perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #302 on: January 09, 2014, 12:47:46 PM »
I've tried putting myself in each of the major player's positions here.  The Aunt's, Larry's father's and brother's, Larry's, the 'new' girlfriend's and I still come to the conclusion that Larry was absolutely disrespectful to the Aunt and that he knew ahead of time that he was going to be.  That makes what he did all the more despicable.

Yep.  And the family was also disrespectful to Larry.  In my opinion, pointedly disrespectful so that they could feel morally superior by actively condemning Larry for moving on after divorce.

how were they disrespectful of larry?  he was issued an invitation and had 2 choices,  he made up a third and caused the upset.

As several of us have said multiple times, and the OP has yet to clarify, it matters to me whether the "no GF/BFs" rule affected only Larry.  I get the sense it did, based on the language chosen to describe Larry.  It shouldn't matter that he is "recently" divorced, or anything other than the fact he was not married or living with his GF at Thanksgiving.  The information about Larry's relationship history was provided to the OP, and by the OP, for some reason, and the words chosen painted a pretty clear picture of "don't we all disapprove of Larry and think his relationships are meaningless therefore let's make that clear to him?"

This is what I see in the op

" Larry recently divorced from his third wife, and he really wanted to bring his new girlfriend to Thanksgiving dinner. ". Seems like a statement of fact to me. I don't see any word choice that says they feel morally superior or that they feel he shouldn't move on from his divorce.

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

OK, so let's pretend that it was that Larry's wife died, etc., as you suggest.

Larry would still be in the wrong. Period. Aunt still was not required to invite the new GF.

I don't care about Larry's morals. His behavior is atrocious. The only relevant information is the "recent girlfriend," which, as I said before does NOT invoke the social unit rule. You may not like the social unit rule, but it is widely accepted in etiquette. It might have been nice and inclusive for Aunt to invite the GF, but it was not rude of her not to.

Also, the OP is only a friend of the family. Dissecting her words as indicating anything about the attitude of the family is pointless.

I don't think anyone's dissecting the OP's words, simply because it was Larry's cousin who included them in the telling of the tale. They're the family's words, not the OP's, and I think they're telling.

TootsNYC

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #303 on: January 09, 2014, 12:50:01 PM »


Whichever way you slice it, the divorces are irrelevant. The fact that they are mentioned is telling.

and they were mentioned by someone who actually -knows- Larry (Larry's cousin, the OP's friend, who was telling her the story). That cousin thinks it's relevant to the situation.

If Larry had lost his first wife to cancer after 25 years, etc., etc., I think it's not that likely that the cousin who knows him in real life would have been counting how many marriages it was. I think the fact that the cousin included this info about Larry, when telling the OP of the situation, indicates the cousin's attitude toward Larry (whom he knows in real life) and Larry's current relationship.

I also think the fact that the cousin specified the girlfriend was new, and the fact that both Larry's cousin *and* Larry's dad thought it was reasonable to exclude her, tell us something. These are the people who are close to the situation. They have real info, and we are only making up stuff.

From the third-hand account available to us, people who know Larry *first hand* think he was really out of line. I trust them.

Teenyweeny

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #304 on: January 09, 2014, 12:50:27 PM »
snip

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

Why? I'm 48. I have an uncle, if he were still alive, would be 112. My only living aunt is 89. My sister in law is 39. She has an aunt who just turned 92. And we don't really know if this Larry's aunt or great-aunt.
[/quote]

Well, because most people's aunts are of a similar age to their parents, who tend to be around 20-40 years older than their children. Of course, there can be older half-siblings and so on, but then, I did say 'almost certain'.



Jones

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #305 on: January 09, 2014, 12:51:34 PM »
Well. Auntie certainly isn't a Margo, when Claudia shows up unexpected.

No one doubts that Larry was rude, I think. But Auntie and the cousins weren't exactly gracious, either.

perpetua

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #306 on: January 09, 2014, 12:53:26 PM »


Whichever way you slice it, the divorces are irrelevant. The fact that they are mentioned is telling.

and they were mentioned by someone who actually -knows- Larry (Larry's cousin, the OP's friend, who was telling her the story). That cousin thinks it's relevant to the situation.

If Larry had lost his first wife to cancer after 25 years, etc., etc., I think it's not that likely that the cousin who knows him in real life would have been counting how many marriages it was. I think the fact that the cousin included this info about Larry, when telling the OP of the situation, indicates the cousin's attitude toward Larry (whom he knows in real life) and Larry's current relationship.

I also think the fact that the cousin specified the girlfriend was new, and the fact that both Larry's cousin *and* Larry's dad thought it was reasonable to exclude her, tell us something. These are the people who are close to the situation. They have real info, and we are only making up stuff.

From the third-hand account available to us, people who know Larry *first hand* think he was really out of line. I trust them.

I would be inclined to 'trust them', had I not been in a situation myself where a family was *so* hung up on divorces being a terrible thing. My ex was almost disowned by his family after his divorce, simply because he'd got one. There are families out there like that, so, without confirmation one way or the other, I'm not going to assume that they don't feel like that about Larry.

wolfie

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #307 on: January 09, 2014, 12:57:23 PM »
snip

It's extraneous info. It's loaded. Nobody says "Larry's wife of 30 years died five years ago, and he really wants to bring his GF of 6 months to Thanksgiving dinner". The 'three divorces' and 'recent  GF' are added details that are meant to make one clutch one's pearls in horror, or at least make one think of Larry as a reprobate of some kind. Those details aren't there to make you feel sympathy toward Larry, that's for sure.

And, at the risk of becoming tedious, it's almost certain that Larry is somewhere in the 50-70 age range. Four serious relationships in 30-50 years is hardly playing the field.

Why? I'm 48. I have an uncle, if he were still alive, would be 112. My only living aunt is 89. My sister in law is 39. She has an aunt who just turned 92. And we don't really know if this Larry's aunt or great-aunt.

Well, because most people's aunts are of a similar age to their parents, who tend to be around 20-40 years older than their children. Of course, there can be older half-siblings and so on, but then, I did say 'almost certain'.
[/quote]

And lots of families refer to people as Aunts even if they are great aunts. Plus this is OP's friend's aunt - we don't know what the exact familial relationship between the aunt and Larry is. Could be his great aunt, his grandmother (doubtful) or his aunt.

TurtleDove

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #308 on: January 09, 2014, 01:09:02 PM »
All the comments about how this family knows Larry and that's why they don't want to recognize his GF as important prove my point. The family has judged Larry, unfavorably, and it is important to the family to make their judgment and disapproval clear. That, to me, is rude. It also makes it probable that the exclusion of Larry's GF was personal.

gollymolly2

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #309 on: January 09, 2014, 01:09:16 PM »
I have no idea whether Larry's romantic post factored into the family's or OP's feelings.

But speaking only for myself, I could understand if it was a factor, and I don't think it's about pearl-clutching or being judgmental about divorce.

Under the social unit rule, Aunt was only obligated to invite spouses/fiancees/live-ins. Anyone beyond that is in her discretion. Maybe if Uncle Larry hadn't dated anyone in a while, the family would be really glad he had companionship/seemed happy and would invite her along. Or maybe if theyd met her and really liked her and felt she was like family or whatever, they'd want her to be there.  Or whatever.

But sometimes we have people in our lives who exhaust us with their revolving door of romantic partners. And there's nothing wrong with dating lots of people or whatever. But in some cases, you'll have to accept that with each successive partner you bring to the family, and each successive wedding you have, your family members and friends may be less eager to form attachments to your new partners. 

I actually coincidentally have an uncle who has been divorced three times  People get divorced. It happens. Actually, I think most of my uncles have been divorced once, now that I think about it. So it's not a case of us feeling like divorce is a failing of some sort.  But with this particular uncle, it is harder to muster any feeling of "welcome to the family" for his new girlfriends for a while - it takes some time. It's not that we don't love or respect the uncle, and it's not like were not nice to the girlfriends, it just takes longer to think of them as long-term parts of the family.

So, to me at least,  IF the family took into account Larry's past relationships in deciding whether his girlfriend was welcome at a family-only party, then I don't see anything wrong with that.

TurtleDove

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #310 on: January 09, 2014, 01:12:29 PM »
Yep. So the family should admit that this is a personal judgment of Larry, and not a situation of "no GF/BFs."

gollymolly2

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #311 on: January 09, 2014, 01:14:40 PM »
Yep. So the family should admit that this is a personal judgment of Larry, and not a situation of "no GF/BFs."

Well I have no idea if thats how the family feels or if that's what motivated them.

I'm just saying if it was a motivating factor, I don't think it was rude or unreasonable.

wolfie

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #312 on: January 09, 2014, 01:15:05 PM »
Yep. So the family should admit that this is a personal judgment of Larry, and not a situation of "no GF/BFs."

How do you know that? We don't know what the other guest's romantic situations were like. For all we know 10 other people left their GF/BF at home too. We just know that the family felt that Larry had not been seeing his GF long enough that she was considered part of the family. A few dates does not make someone "the one".

snappylt

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #313 on: January 09, 2014, 01:15:25 PM »
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

bolding above is mine


Hmmmmm,

OP here. I repeated a story told me by an old friend whom I see maybe five or six times a year. I thought his story brought up some interesting etiquette questions.

I've never even met the rest of my friend's family, let alone been rude to them myself!  Did you intend to say that my friend was rude, not me?

     SnappyLT


(Edited to correct the addressee.)
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 02:55:00 PM by snappylt »

snappylt

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Re: The SPECIFICALLY not-invited guest - UPDATE #219
« Reply #314 on: January 09, 2014, 01:30:32 PM »
Hmmmmm wrote:

"I'm honestly trying to understand those who feel some sympathy for Larry."

The unspoken portions of snappylt's post are enough to (pardon the pun) make some people say "Hmmmmm."  The reason why there's room to feel sympathy for Larry is because, although it's pretty plain that he was rude, the family dynamic shows signs that Larry's being subjected to troublesome treatment and while that doesn't excuse his actions, it may explain them.  They excluded his GF to begin with, and although it's been asked several times, snappylt hasn't told us whether the "family only" restriction ended up excluding anyone else.  His elderly aunt chewed him out like a child, at the party, in such a way as to humiliate Larry's GF who may very well have been an innocent bystander to the whole thing (and since there's nothing in snappylt's posts to indicate that she willingly participated in upsetting the party it's rude to presume it of her).  For her own part, snappylt responded to the whole situation by ignoring them both, which is again very rude to Larry's GF without proof that she was willfully rude.  So all in all, it seems that a lot of etiquette balls got dropped, so there's room to read the situation such that Larry's family doesn't get any more pass than Larry himself.


Twik wrote:

"The fact that he arrived with an uninvited guest tells *me* that Larry doesn't particularly worry about "getting it in the head" or disturbing the family.."

It could also be seen as someone who's tired of being kicked around by the family and simply chose a spectacularly bad way to address it.

Virg

This is where I'm at with my sympathy for Larry.

The more I think about it, the more I also think that stipulating something as restrictive as 'No partners' for an event like Thanksgiving is rude in and of itself. If not technically rude by the etiquette book, then inadvisable and likely to create problems for people, which isn't a nice thing to do. If Aunt couldn't host everyone who would ordinarily be welcomed to such an event then she should have passed hosting duties to someone who could. I think she was selfish.

I agree with all of this. Look, no one, absolutely no one, has argued that Larry was anything other than rude to bring an uninvited guest. However, I also don't buy the, "oh poor frail old lady who only wanted her family with her at her last Thanksgiving and everyone was so horrible to her" side either. While she has a right to invite whomever she wishes, I think she erred here. It is very insulting to be pointedly told that your SO isn't welcome, especially at a holiday dinner.

And since we're citing the idea that retaliatory rudeness is not OK (and I agree), I think the aunt was rude to Larry and the rest of the guests by publicly berating him, and incredibly rude to the GF by complaining about her while she could hear. Then, everyone just goes about the dinner but some completely ignore the two of them? What a childish reaction. If their presence was so disturbing they should have been asked to leave (though if I were the GF I would have already run out in tears), not allowed to stay but then be treated like second class citizens.

(And I still must know if that rule actually affected anyone but Larry! Please ask if you can, OP?)

bolding mine immediately above

OP here again.

I only see my friend every month or two, so it will be a while before I ask him.

My friend did not mention anyone else being upset, but there could have been others who were.  When he first told me the story, my friend referred to the woman as "Larry's new girlfriend" but I have no idea how long they had been a couple.

I do not know how other people there behaved that day.  I know my friend said he sat at another table and didn't speak to Larry or the girlfriend, but I didn't think to ask how other people behaved.

From my own point of view, I felt sorry for the girlfriend.  I don't know whether or not she knew Larry had been told not to bring her.  I assume that she didn't know - but I am only assuming that because I can't imagine her coming if she had known the hostess said she wasn't welcome.  (Then again, I cannot imagine Larry bringing her after the hostess said not to, either, so I'm over my head in this one.)

I didn't like the thought of the hostess being upset within earshot of the girlfriend.  I think it would have been far more polite for the hostess to have done one of two things: either 1.) welcome the girlfriend graciously, or 2.) turn her away at the door, gently but firmly.

But then again, I wasn't there and these people are not my family!

« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 01:42:03 PM by snappylt »