Friday, January 23, 2009

Unwanted Advice - January 23, 2009 ("The World Is a New Place--It Just Smells Like the Old One") Edition

DEAR AMY: My grown son's girlfriend dresses in a very bizarre, clownish manner, layering mismatched, oversize rainbow-colored clothes over herself. Her attire is not just funky, but it is beyond the pale in terms of strangeness and embarrasses me in front of friends and family.

I understand that her manner of dress should not reflect on me, but sometimes she seems quite dirty, and I am tempted to say something to her about it.

Would it be my place to say something to this young woman, who seems to have captured my son's heart?

I believe I have made her feel welcome at family gatherings, but I feel the clothes are just too crazy for words!
Your thoughts on this, please.



Here’s an idea: worry about your own damn clothes. Do you pay for this girl’s wardrobe? Are you responsible for another grown woman’s hygiene? I believe the answer to both questions is “no.”

Mad props to you for making her feel so “welcome” at family gatherings, but that’s really the least you can do if your son really cares for this woman—and if he’s an adult, one can assume he’s able to make rational relationship choices that you should honor. If you’re so embarrassed by what she wears, then don’t dress that way yourself. Beyond that, it’s none of your freakin’ beeswax.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter and future son-in-law are being married this summer. They are both vegans, and are planning a vegan dinner for their reception. I thought it was a very cool way of showing what different types of vegan dishes could be planned, but I'm getting grief from my husband. He thinks it is "selfish" of them not to offer a meat dish. I couldn't disagree more.

I told him I think they are right, but that I'd write to you and ask your opinion. It will have no effect on their reception, but I'd like to quiet things down on the home front.



You are right, and so are they. Tell hubby to stuff a sock in it. Frankly, I think this sounds like a pretty cool idea, and while it’s normally good manners to offer an alternative for the carnivores, this is a wedding dinner, and since most people do tend to eat meat, it would probably be way too expensive to offer separate menus for that many folks.

And after all, it is supposed to be her special day, which is all about her, so she’s entitled to “showcase her beliefs” and introduce vegan dishes to her guests. (They’re surprisingly tasty.) And I don’t think it’s going to kill anybody to go for a few hours without meat.

If your husband is that bent out of shape, tell him he can stop at Burger King on the way home. He can even keep the paper crown.

DEAR ELLIE: My co-worker has two DUI charges and can't get to work. I offered to pick him up once, and when we arrived at work, he said, "I'll see you at 5 a.m. tomorrow." He took it as a long-term plan. He takes me away from family time, as I get up early to pick him up and come home late to drop him off.

At work he drives me nuts. He insults my family and makes me the butt of his jokes. He complains about the high price of gas he has to pay and drinks beer in my car against my will. I know I should stand up for myself, but he needs a ride.



So let’s recap: the guy’s had not one, but two DUIs, he drinks in your car when you’ve asked him not to, you have to get up earlier than usual to pick him up, and he insults you and your family at work.

What, exactly, do you need help with here? If you know you should stand up for yourself, then do it, and tell this loser to stick his thumb out somewhere else. And remind him that he hasn’t been paying for the “high price of gas,” you have. (And he should have been offering to share that expense all along—but you probably didn’t insist on that, either, did you, no-nuts?)

Tell him to buy a fucking bicycle. And warn him that if he keeps that shit up at work, you’re reporting it to HR and letting them deal with it—he may not need a ride anywhere soon.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Let’s say that you’re throwing an informal social gathering. You put together the guest list and invite around 20 people.

Somehow, by mistake, an additional person gets an invitation. The person is a casual acquaintance of yours. You neither like nor dislike him, it’s just “someone you know.” He has not made any unwarranted assumptions — he did get an invitation, and has contacted you back and said, “Sounds like fun, I’ll be there.”

What would you do? Would you (a) call him and civilly cancel the invitation; (b) drop hints that you didn’t really want him there (don’t return his phone calls, etc.) and hope he gets the idea; (c) put another chair by the pool and buy one extra person’s worth of food, drinks, etc.; or (d) some other option (if so, what)?

My friend who recently found herself in that situation, went for choice (b) and admitted this to me. (He did get the hint and didn’t attend.) I’ve been trying to explain to her why the correct answers are (c) and “treat him like any other guest— be friendly, thank him for coming, make him feel welcome, etc.” — and why it was rather generous of him to laugh the whole thing off and not even show a little mild annoyance.

But so far, I’ve been unable to convince her — maybe you can do better?


I doubt it, since you’ve already told this flake exactly what I would have told her, and if she didn’t listen to you, she’s sure as hell not going to listen to me.

I have to wonder why you’re friends with such a mean and stingy person. It’s not the “unwelcome guest’s” fault that she stupidly sent him an invitation when she didn’t want him there. It’s inexcusable to renege on the invitation and make him doubly uncomfortable by intimating that he’s not welcome when she’d already essentially told him he was. That makes her look both snotty and dim-witted.

Ironically, this guy most likely didn’t really want to attend, because they’re not particularly friendly, and was probably only accepting so as not to create hard feelings. He was no doubt relieved when he saw an “out” and eagerly jumped for it, which was why he wasn't at all annoyed.

This does not excuse your “friend’s” bitchiness, and I hope her party was a dud.

DEAR MARGO: When I was in college, I had a good friend, "Leslie," who flitted from one man to another, never breaking up with one until another was waiting in the wings. I knew this about her personality, but always hoped she'd find "the one."
Years ago, I went on a blind date with a guy named "Matt," and though we had a nice time, we didn't make a connection. Two weeks later Leslie came buzzing around about a new guy she just met but couldn't start dating until she'd broken up with "Steve."

She made short work of breaking up with Steve and then started dating the new guy. The guy was Matt! Fast-forward a month, and she tells me Matt proposed! She asked me to be her maid of honor for their wedding that would take place one month later. I asked what the rush was, and she said, "It just feels right." My gut told me this was wrong, so I told her I couldn't support her rushing into marriage, and asked her to wait a few months so they could get to know each other better.

As you might expect, she got angry, called me judgmental and said I was just jealous because it hadn't worked out between Matt and me. She was right about the first part, not the second. I called her many times to get her to talk to me again, but she refused.

Now, 12 years later, I run into a mutual friend who tells me Leslie and Matt are still happily married. I'd like to reach out to her and become friends again, with apologies for being so judgmental, but I fear she'd still be angry with me. Any thoughts on whether (and how) to offer the olive branch?



However her marriage has turned out, she sounds like a pretty dreadful person, although she’s apparently changed. Or might I assume “Matt” is financially secure, which is why he ended up being “the one?” No, that would be mean of me, wouldn’t it. Tough shit—I’m going to assume it anyway (it’s one thing to go from boyfriend to boyfriend, but to wait until she has Mr. Next lined up before she dumps Mr. Current? I smell a mercenary).

I’m not sure why you want to reach out to her again, but frankly I don’t give much for your chances. Granted, you and “Matt” didn’t have a serious relationship, but you were the last person to date him before she got her claws into hired the appraiser to go through his house began dating him. Therefore, as far as she’s concerned, she’s still married to The One That Got Away From You, so any overture from you would probably seem like a threat to her—and if her personality’s even remotely the same as in college, “Matt” has probably repented in plenty of leisure after his hasty marriage, and she might be feeling insecure about losing him, no matter what your “mutual friend” says.

Also, people like “Leslie” often turn out to be bitterly jealous later, realizing that, as once they did to others, so could be done to them, and the shoe could so easily fit on the other foot. It’s its own punishment, really.

On a side note, it’s heartwarming that you were so concerned about her that you “always hoped she’d find ‘the one.’” I wonder if you were as concerned with the feelings of the numerous others that she was shitting on as she dug for her pot of gold. On second thought, they all probably made very lucky escapes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Dear Amy letter you were right on. If the girl is such a skank then the son must be an idiot. Otherwise, I think the mother-in-law to be just might be the one who is the persnickity piece of proturberant phlegm.
I think these wedding dinners have gotten way out of hand. We are not attending to get a full stomach but to celebrate the union of two people in love. What happened to cake and ice cream?
In the Miss Manners letter I can't for the life of me understand how a person sends an invitation to someone they hardly know. Did they sleep walk and look up the address and fill out the card and envelope while in a comatose state? I suspect they actually hated this person and wanted to make him feel ostracized and humiliate him in front of their friends. What a great plan! Not!
In the Dear Ellie letter I'm afraid I'm guilty of a similar offense. A co-worker once lost his license for DUI and I went miles out of my way to accomadate him. I got up two hours early and drove him all over town after work. Why, all the sane folks are asking. Because I was in love with him and still wet behind the ears. Fate hadn't yet kicked my Ass. This was the first time because as soon as he got his license back he dropped me like yesterday's news. It still hurts but a good lesson learned. ed

5:20 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Who among us has not given too much because we're in love? (However unfruitfully and unrequitedly) This guy was just plain stupid. Maybe it's just me, but when somebody inconveniences me, disrespects my property and makes fun of my family, I have NO problem kicking them to the curb. And then backing over them.

I didn't USED to be that way, mind you...getting older has definitely made me a crotchety motherfucker.

5:56 PM  

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