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  • November 20, 2017, 03:24:05 PM

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Author Topic: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral  (Read 7268 times)

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Venix

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How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« on: June 30, 2017, 08:52:52 AM »
 I have a story to add to this forum, to which my response has been 'Complete Silence'. I have literally blanked this person from my life.

Rewind to 5 years ago when I met my Husband's extended family for the first time one Christmas. I made an effort to be polite and nice to everyone, and I thought everything went well. I met one of Hubby's cousins who (at the time) was a bit of a 'Hells Angel' Motorcycle-gang-wannabe type (dressed like it, but didn't have a bike or belong to a group). This was an adult man in his 40's who struggled to hold down a job, had a bit of a drug issue but didn't care. He was happy living his life in whatever way he chose.

I found him intimidating, and he made me a bit nervous. I tend to gabble a bit when I'm nervous but I thought overall I'd made a positive introduction to him.

When I saw him at family events over the next couple of years, I was always polite, despite finding him incredibly intimidating. I thought we got on relatively well (considering he's a rarely-seen cousin of my husband's). He seemed friendly enough to me so I was good with that. We didn't exactly speak often, nor for any great length. We literally just chatted in passing really.

Fast forward to a year or so ago and my Husband's Father passed away due to complications with a long-term illness.

My Husband and his family were devastated, so myself and my Sister-in-Law (we both 'married in') rallied 'round and, as was appropriate, joined MIL, BIL and Husband in the front row as 'immediate family'.

In the intervening time between when I had last seen 'Hells Angel Cousin' and the funeral, he had met a woman and married in a private ceremony to which no-one but his immediate Aunts (inc MIL) were invited.

It just so happened that to support Husband, my own family attended the funeral of FIL, and it just so happened that they were sat in the row in front of Hells Angel Cousin and his new wife.

The following was relayed to me privately after the ceremony:

Apparently, New Wife had asked Hells Angel Cousin who everyone was, specifically the immediate family of the deceased. Hells Angel Cousin proceeded to tell this woman (who none of us bar MIL had ever met), that Husband and BIL were his cousins, MIL was his Aunt, and SIL was BIL's wife. When she asked about me, he apparently said "Oh, that's Ven, (Hubby's) partner. She's a bit of a motormouth."

He did not feel the need to add descriptive qualifiers to any of the OTHER introductions. Just me. At my FIL's funeral. Loud enough for my own family (and all those around them) to hear. He humiliated me in front of assembled relations - most of whom I had never met as many had travelled a long way to attend FIL's funeral.

I chose to take no action at the wake, but a few weeks later when my Husband was feeling less raw, I relayed the story and informed him in no uncertain terms that Hells Angel Cousin is not, nor will ever be, welcome at any of our events.

I don't know if I'm 'giving him the cut direct' or simply Ghosting him out of our lives, but I've chosen not to respond to his rudeness and am treating it with silent contempt.

I told MIL about it and she told her sister (Hells Angels' mother) who apparently agreed with me that her son was out of order.

So now we pretend he doesn't exist.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 08:55:11 AM by Venix »

TurtleDove

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2017, 09:17:45 AM »
I am sorry that you felt humiliated by his comment. While I don't know him, obviously, I think it is possible (probable?) that he did not mean anything negative by his comment and that he will be quite confused as to why he is being given the cut direct. I know his comment would not have registered even a little bit to me (whether it was said about me, or said about someone I care about)! Without awareness of some malicious intention or backstory, I don't see it as a negative descriptor.

Hillia

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 09:18:43 AM »
That seems like a bit of an overreaction.  Yeah, not the best thing to describe someone as, but he was a) speaking to his wife, not random strangers, so he didn't think i his comment would become common knowledge b) at his uncle's funeral, so presumably under some amount of stress.  It's pretty common to say things to one's spouse that you wouldn't say to the general public.  You admit yourself that you tend to chatter, so the comment wasn't entirely unfounded.  I imagine other family members have had the same experience with you and might even have commented on it to their spouses in private.  Basically, his private comment was overheard by others and relayed to you, and you chose the nuclear option of publicly beratng him and then doing a cut direct.

Wonder if he'd do the same to you if he heard about your rather dismissive description of him as a "wannabe biker" to a group of total strangers?

Harriet Jones

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 09:24:55 AM »
While the comment was rude, is it *so* rude you need to go the 'direct cut' route?  At most, I'd go for 'coolly polite' if you happen to be in the same place.  It sounds like your paths don't intersect that much anyway.

Zizi-K

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 09:26:16 AM »
This also seems like an overreaction to me. Would you have minded as much if he said, "that's Ven, she's a bit loquacious."? Who knows why he added on the comment. Funerals make a lot of people uncomfortable and nervous, and he may have just been filling the void to tamp down his own emotions. Who knows? I give people wide berth in situations like that.

Venix

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 09:33:28 AM »
... you chose the nuclear option of publicly beratng him and then doing a cut direct.

Wonder if he'd do the same to you if he heard about your rather dismissive description of him as a "wannabe biker" to a group of total strangers?

I didn't berate him at all. I haven't said anything about it to him in front of anyone. I discussed it privately with my Husband

'Motormouth' is a pejorative insult here in the UK. It's not a friendly, jovial descriptor. It's an extremely rude way to describe someone. Perhaps there is cognitive dissonance here, but it's not a kind way to speak about anyone. He wasn't close to his uncle, or indeed even bothered by his death. He was there to chauffeur his mother.

Furthermore, he did not apply unflattering or rude descriptors to anyone else - not Hubby, not BIL or SIL. Just me. There was no contextual reason why he should need to make that description in front of assembled funeral guests. 'Oh, that is Ven, COUSIN's wife/partner' would have been sufficient.

When I introduced him to my family prior to the service while we were all milling around outside the crematorium I introduced him as "This is X, Hubby's cousin and MIL's nephew." (His wife was nowhere to be seen at this point - I don't know if she was late or what. I was somewhat preoccupied with Hubby and MIL's well-being at the time).

It was unnecessary and completely uncalled for.

But as I say, I have not made any public reference to his rudeness, I have simply disengaged from associating with him. I doubt very much if he cares.

Dazi

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 09:38:50 AM »
If one of my friends told me this story, I'd seriously tell them they need to get over themselves. You blew a totally innocuous comment way out of proportion, IMO. It sounds to me that you just don't like this man, and that's your right to not like someone, but to give someone the cut direct over being described as a bit of a motormouth, which you yourself admit, is ridiculous. 
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TurtleDove

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 09:41:37 AM »
Furthermore, he did not apply unflattering or rude descriptors to anyone else - not Hubby, not BIL or SIL. Just me.

How do you know this? Is it possible that whoever overheard this person's private conversation with his wife only focused on the part about you because you are the only person they actually knew?

You can of course handle this however you prefer. I just agree with the other posters that in my opinion your reaction is way over the top.

#borecore

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 09:58:30 AM »
That sounds like an absurd overreaction to me, but it's your relationship to manage.

Hillia

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 10:08:29 AM »
I'm sorry, I misread your description of talking to your husband as talking to Cousin.  I see now that you did not say anything directly to him.

But as for the "unnecessary" nature of his comment, again, you spent a lot of time describing him to us as "intimidating" etc... We'll never meet the man or interact with him, and the description added nothing to the story, so why is his private comment to his wife, who would be interacting with you, any worse than yours to us?  Let it go, it's not a big deal.

VorFemme

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 10:31:44 AM »
The OP mentioned in a later post that "motormouth" is a bit more of an cut in the UK than it is in the USA.  I don't know how the equivalent term in other languages would go over - but some technically equivalent terms from language to language are weighted differently semantically.

So, what I might have heard in the USA was a description of someone who is rather chatty...I'm not sure what else is going on semantically - but she does say that it is "pejorative" - which means to me that it is very much not a nice thing to say.

I remember a Spanish teacher in high school (some years ago in the 20th Century) telling someone that he could call a girl a "chick" (young chicken) in the USA without any problems - but calling a girl the Spanish equivalent in Mexico or South America was likely to get her brothers to beat him up or her to haul off and slap him...as it was not the kind of thing that anyone wanted to be called or have their sister called (I have no memory of what the term might be - it's been a long, long time since my last Spanish class and I've lost most of it).

I've run into similar "this term is innocent in meaning or at least can be said in public without anyone washing your mouth out with soap" but "that term will get you threatened with anything from your mouth being washed out with soap to sailors gasping in shock at your potty mouth".

While I would not have cut contact with a cousin who did the same thing to me at a funeral - I would certainly have never gone out of my way to chat with him after that...

Or perhaps he is just one of those people who don't see any reason to use two sentences when one or two words are "enough"?  Because they are the opposite of "chatty".
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 03:15:35 PM by VorFemme »
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#borecore

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2017, 10:49:46 AM »
Accepting the OP's interpretation of motormouth as a real  insult, I don't know if I would have cut off a family member who called me "a real wise**"  -- the likely equivalent "slur" against my character from a distant relative -- in the same circumstances. Worse than motormouth in the US, but nothing illegal or really anything your family doesn't have the information to address already.

It's truly not going to make your immediate family suddenly think you're a bad person if they didn't already.

Add me, also, to the chorus of people really confused by the hypocrisy of going on at some length about the speaker's wardrobe-as-shorthand-for-personality (though I'm still not sure I get biker gear = scary, without the actual biker gang connection).

Mustard

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2017, 10:50:51 AM »
I'm also in the UK and, while the term 'motormouth' isn't exactly polite, I don't think it worthy of your reaction.  If you look up dictionary definitions, it mostly says something along the lines of 'someone who talks incessantly' - and you did say you have a tendency to gabble when nervous.  Why did the people who over-heard his remark to his wife (eavesdropping?) relate the story to you anyway?

FauxFoodist

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2017, 11:07:02 AM »
I have a story to add to this forum, to which my response has been 'Complete Silence'. I have literally blanked this person from my life.

Rewind to 5 years ago when I met my Husband's extended family for the first time one Christmas. I made an effort to be polite and nice to everyone, and I thought everything went well. I met one of Hubby's cousins who (at the time) was a bit of a 'Hells Angel' Motorcycle-gang-wannabe type (dressed like it, but didn't have a bike or belong to a group). This was an adult man in his 40's who struggled to hold down a job, had a bit of a drug issue but didn't care. He was happy living his life in whatever way he chose.

I found him intimidating, and he made me a bit nervous. I tend to gabble a bit when I'm nervous but I thought overall I'd made a positive introduction to him.

When I saw him at family events over the next couple of years, I was always polite, despite finding him incredibly intimidating. I thought we got on relatively well (considering he's a rarely-seen cousin of my husband's). He seemed friendly enough to me so I was good with that. We didn't exactly speak often, nor for any great length. We literally just chatted in passing really.

Fast forward to a year or so ago and my Husband's Father passed away due to complications with a long-term illness.

My Husband and his family were devastated, so myself and my Sister-in-Law (we both 'married in') rallied 'round and, as was appropriate, joined MIL, BIL and Husband in the front row as 'immediate family'.

In the intervening time between when I had last seen 'Hells Angel Cousin' and the funeral, he had met a woman and married in a private ceremony to which no-one but his immediate Aunts (inc MIL) were invited.

It just so happened that to support Husband, my own family attended the funeral of FIL, and it just so happened that they were sat in the row in front of Hells Angel Cousin and his new wife.

The following was relayed to me privately after the ceremony:

Apparently, New Wife had asked Hells Angel Cousin who everyone was, specifically the immediate family of the deceased. Hells Angel Cousin proceeded to tell this woman (who none of us bar MIL had ever met), that Husband and BIL were his cousins, MIL was his Aunt, and SIL was BIL's wife. When she asked about me, he apparently said "Oh, that's Ven, (Hubby's) partner. She's a bit of a motormouth."

He did not feel the need to add descriptive qualifiers to any of the OTHER introductions. Just me. At my FIL's funeral. Loud enough for my own family (and all those around them) to hear. He humiliated me in front of assembled relations - most of whom I had never met as many had travelled a long way to attend FIL's funeral.

I chose to take no action at the wake, but a few weeks later when my Husband was feeling less raw, I relayed the story and informed him in no uncertain terms that Hells Angel Cousin is not, nor will ever be, welcome at any of our events.

I don't know if I'm 'giving him the cut direct' or simply Ghosting him out of our lives, but I've chosen not to respond to his rudeness and am treating it with silent contempt.

I told MIL about it and she told her sister (Hells Angels' mother) who apparently agreed with me that her son was out of order.

So now we pretend he doesn't exist.

I agree with others that this was a huge overreaction on your part.  However, if "motormouth" is as pejorative in the UK as you state it is, I guess I can understand why you want nothing to do with a guy who you despised to begin with.  Because it really seems you did/do.  Your description of him, which is far worse in the US than what you said he called you (according to your family), adds nothing to your story, other than to indicate how much you look down on him.  I wouldn't be surprised if your low opinion of him was quite clear to him whenever he interacted with you.  You say he seemed "friendly enough" to you when you interacted so you were "good with that" yet your description of him has an incredibly negative slant (why would how he's dressed make a difference other than your prejudicial view as you stated he was "friendly enough").  As PPs pointed out, you fault him for calling you a motormouth, yet you don't see the irony of calling him a former Hell's Angel wannabe who had a drug problem and other unsavory bits.  There's no purpose to this description of him in your story, other than to paint as negative a picture of him as you can, to make him out to be a villain.  All you had to say was your DH has a cousin you don't know very well but the few times you interacted with him at family events for a few years, you were always polite to him and never had any conflict.  Also, I am wondering if you stated this opinion of him to anyone in your life because, if you did, it's possible it got back to him just as him calling you a motormouth got back to you.  If someone who barely knew me ran off at the mouth about my appearance and gossiped about my problems and how I led my life, I wouldn't have a very good opinion of that person, either, which is also why I'm taken aback by how negatively you admit you look at him yet also admit he was "friendly enough."

Perfect Circle

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Re: How NOT to introduce people at a Funeral
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2017, 11:07:30 AM »
I'm also in the UK and, while the term 'motormouth' isn't exactly polite, I don't think it worthy of your reaction.  If you look up dictionary definitions, it mostly says something along the lines of 'someone who talks incessantly' - and you did say you have a tendency to gabble when nervous.  Why did the people who over-heard his remark to his wife (eavesdropping?) relate the story to you anyway?

I agree. I am in the UK and definitely don't consider motormouth to be a serious insult.

I also think passing that information to you is pretty cruel. And I hate to also say that I think your reaction is pretty severe to something you heard secondhand.
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