Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I’m in a childhood friend’s wedding in August. I love her, but she’s a micromanager and a bit of a self-centered, spoiled brat. (Friends!) Her maid of honor has already been sending out thousands of emails, including a spreadsheet, and one that provided a bit of a Bridesmaid Manifesto for our obligations.
On this list is the financial burden of both the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Is it the new norm to expect bridesmaids to pay for those parties? And what if I won’t even be in attendance, because I live in another part of the country, and it will be all I can do to pay to get to the wedding itself? When I mentioned this to the MOH, she basically told me off and now I want to quit the wedding. That could be Question Part B. How do you quit a wedding?
One Angry Bridesmaid
Dear Angry Bridesmaid,
Wow. I’ve read about outrageously demanding brides, and I’ve tortured myself through an episode or two of Bridezillas, but it still comes as a shock that people are this out of their fucking minds as soon as they get an engagement ring on their finger. And in your situation, you’ve got a Maid of Honor who has not only drunk the Kool Aid, but is mixing it and throwing it in your face. Weddings should be fun! Not an opportunity to make your closest friends feel like slaves to your every demand. Gross.
Look, every bride to be does something a little cray-cray, and as her close friend we are obligated to kind of deal with it, assuming she will do the same for us someday. But what you’re describing here is batshit insanity. I’ve never heard of bridesmaids having to pay for parties they aren’t able to attend. Who does that? Still, even though my gut reaction after reading your question is to tell the bride and her 2nd lieutenant to shove that spreadsheet where the sun don’t shine, I think you actually have a few options for how to handle this from here:
1. Call the bride directly. Why are you even arguing about this with the Maid of Honor? She may have been appointed V.P. of Communications by the bride, but so the fuck what. The bride is your childhood friend. Call her and tell her you are so honored (barf) to even be nominated for the role of bridesmaid, but that give the stringent requirements, you don’t want to take away from the most special time in her life (barf-ity barf barf barf), and while you are so looking forward to being there for the wedding itself, you think it would be best for all involved if you respectfully step away from the role of bridesmaid. And then buy her a kick-ass gift.
2. Call the bride’s mother. You were childhood friends, so I’m guessing you know the mom pretty well, too. Think about it, if this is what she’s doing to her bridesmaids, imagine how awful she must be treating her mom right about now. Her mom could use a friend.
3. Tell the bride that you’ve thought it through, and you would be delighted to participate fully as a bridesmaid, provided she signs a contract which states that if the marriage lasts less than five years, you will be reimbursed for every cent you spent as a member of the wedding party.
Obviously, the first option is really the way to go. I hope it all works out, and that you can still be a bridesmaid, but no matter what she says, you will never wear that dress again. Never.
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Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My fiancé’s sister is getting married soon and I really really really do not want to go. His family is pretty dysfunctional (mine is as well, which is why we are eloping). He hasn’t talked to his mom in over 10 years (and has no plans to). She will be there. His dad only talks to him after he calls him several times. His sister only talks to him 4 or 5 times a year.
The rest of his family thinks he should marry someone within his religion (which I am not). He was asked very late in the process to be a usher, and it is all going to be very awkward for me. Should I suck it up, or find a better excuse?
There Isn’t Enough Xanax To Get Through This Wedding
Dear There Isn’t Enough Xanax,
I do not envy you, lady. Weddings can be problematic. Especially when there are lots of tense family dynamics. I feel your anguish. Which is why it hurts me to tell you that I think you should go.
Oh my gosh, did you just throw a frying pan at me?!
Hear me out…
I think it’s impressive that your fiancé wants to attend the wedding. Yes, he only talks to his sister 4 or 5 times a year but we often regret the things we don’t do the most so it’s worth showing up.
And I’m guessing your fiancé could really use your support at this shindig. He’s going to have to face a mother he hasn’t talked to in 10 years and a distant father. That man needs you by his side! So don’t think about all his messed up, judgmental relatives, think about him. It’s one night and you just can’t make him go alone.
I think it’s ridiculous when families get upset over someone marrying outside their religion. That is between you and your husband. You two will decide what faith to practice and how to raise your children. End of story. They should be happy that he found someone to share his life with that he loves and respects.
In regards to the wedding, this is why they created wine. A few glasses (although not too much because you don’t want to end up doing the Philadelphia Chicken dance with his estranged mom) could get you through the night.
Stay by his side, be friendly and cordial and then get the heck out of there. I know you can do it.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years now. We’ve had some bumps and hard times, but we love each other and our relationship is great. The only thing that bothers me is that we’re not married and I’m not sure when we’re going to get married. He says he wants to get married, but he hasn’t made anything official, and he doesn’t talk about it much. Am I overanalyzing this?
Tired of Being a Single Lady
I remember being in your shoes. I was 23 and living with my boyfriend of three years, and I was starting to get antsy. Sure, marriage seemed like a given, but I absolutely hated the fact that I was supposed to sit around and wait for him to officially propose. The way I saw it, we were partners in crime, and every decision we made about our apartment we made together, so why did he get to make this all-important decision all on his own? I made this very argument to him, and told him that I thought we should pick a date of engagement in the near future, and make a plan together for how we would celebrate it. This was in August. I believe we tentatively agreed upon a date in November, and we were each going to start thinking of a grand plan of fancy dinner and a night in a hotel or something to mark the occasion. P.S. On September 18th he beckoned me out on the balcony of our apartment, got down on one knee, and proposed with a family ring. I’m still kinda mad he didn’t stick to our plan.
That was 19 years ago. Man, I’m old!
I know someone who gave an ultimatum and got the ring. I also know someone who broke up with her boyfriend because he hadn’t proposed, and after a month he realized he couldn’t live without her and they got engaged. I know someone whose girlfriend called off their engagement, and it broke him for many months. And, one of the most beautiful/amazing/fun weddings I’ve ever been to? That couple is now divorced. [Cue Debbie Downer waaah-waaah]
So, what’s the lesson? It is hard to cede control, to make yourself vulnerable and stand in front of another person and tell him what you want and/or need, and risk having him tell you he can’t or won’t give it to you. Marriage is a long haul. This is just the beginning. If he’s the right one, then having a conversation with him about your future plans shouldn’t be an issue. You may not get the answer you want, but better to find that out now. Or, you know, channel your inner Gloria Steinem, turn the tables and propose to him!
Whatever you decide, you should go forward knowing that the man you desperately want to marry today will be the man who consistently leaves his dirty underwear hanging on the bathroom towel rack ten years from now.
Best of luck,
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
Are there any Halloween costumes for women that aren’t “slutty?” I’m a married woman in my 40’s and want something fun, but not sleazy. Help!
No Fishnets Please
Dear No Fishnets Please,
You’re a married woman in your 40’s who doesn’t want to look slutty? Then obviously you don’t live on my street, baby, BOOM! In your face, moms with cleavage! You’re not so hot, you Bunco losers!
Anyway, you came to the right person with this question because I’m known for dressing in TOTALLY unsexy Halloween costumes. Like the time in college I went as “a Grateful Dead ticket scalper,” and the time in my 20’s I went as “an older Grateful Dead ticket scalper,” and the time in my 30’s when I went as…well, you get the idea. Let’s just say that Mrs. Aarons used to own a few tie-dye and hemp shirts.
But fear not, my little prude, because I have many other ideas for you! In fact, there’s a whole world of costumes out there besides Skanky Kitty. Like this one:
Photo via Crushable.com
Can you feel that steam heat? Simply put on a bowling shirt, a newsboy cap, a neck pillow and a wrist brace and suddenly you’re Melissa McCarthy from Bridesmaids! Hilarious, right? (Just don’t poop in the sink because that’s what we in the image consulting business call “overkill.”)
Or how about this unsexy costume?
Yeah, that’s right: a Wal-Mart Greeter! Except you wouldn’t be an old white guy with a $5 haircut. Just slap on a blue polyester vest, some stupid propaganda buttons and yell, “Good mornin’!” to everyone you see and you’ll be the hit of the party! Trust me, your weird neighbor Gary won’t even think you’re hot. Especially if you take the extra step of smelling like day-old bread and Gold Bond Powder. Gross!
(Also, it should be noted that when I Googled “Wal-Mart employee image,” 99% of the results were mug shots. All I’m saying is that that shit don’t happen at Target.)
Speaking of shit, here’s a costume I found at SpicyLegs.com, whose slogan is “Sexy Made Easy.” Yes, right next to Sexy Marge Simpson was this baby:
Get it? “Holy Shit.” It’s a piece of…with angel…and a crossssss….anyway, it’s not slutty, so you’ll definitely have your modesty in this costume. What you won’t have is friends, dignity, class or wit, but life is all about the give and take, my man. So hold your head high while everyone else is holding their noses.
If none of those work, just let me know. I have a few hemp skirts I can send you.
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
So I found myself in a popular big department store today, bridal demand list, er, I mean “registry” in hand. And for the first time, I was genuinely resentful of all the crap on it. I remember getting married at 25 years old, setting up a household with a young man. But this couple are both over 45, have each lived on their own their whole lives, and have been living together for at least a year. They each make plenty of money, am I *really* obligated to feel happy getting them brand new cookware when mine’s falling apart?
What’s the going rate for late-in-life wedding gifts?
I’ll answer your question, but first I will have to extract the virtual knife that you’ve plunged into my soul by referring to people who are 45 as being “late in life.” Maybe it’s because I’m 45 years young myself that I find this near analogy of wedding gifts to the wares that were packed off with the Pharaohs at their funeral so that they can be used in the afterlife particularly distressing.
But it’s not about me.
It’s about this couple, who have decided, actuarial tables be damned, to marry at 45. And now, just because they are starting a new life together as a married couple, they have the nerve to request new cookware. Seriously, the nerve. Do these geriatrics even still have teeth?! Wouldn’t it make more sense to register for a lifetime supple of Depends and just be done with it?
But here’s the thing: younger people don’t have a monopoly on love and happiness and marriage. If someone meets her soulmate later in life, who is anyone else to deny her that joy? And for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, gifts are a part of the marriage celebration. It’s just tradition. You are not obligated to get any specific item, but you are obligated to get them something. If you feel that you cannot in good conscience give a Le Creuset pot, then find something that is more affordable and that you can give without any hard feelings attached.
Because at the end of the day, it’s about celebrating the couple starting their lives together.
But if they pull this “we’re renewing our vows” crap a few years later, it’s totally fine to buy them a bottle of wine.
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