Nutty, Insecure Wedding-Goer
Dear Margo: This past March I was married in a destination wedding. My husband’s parents divorced four years ago, and his dad remarried last year. Anyway, during our reception this past June, while taking wedding pictures with the family and bridal party, my father-in-law’s new wife, “Nancy,” became incredibly upset and started yelling “this is bulls**t” (mind you, there are little kids around) and throwing a fit because my husband wanted a picture of the two of us, his parents (not standing next to each other) and his two brothers — basically, his family. She said we were disrespecting her for taking that photo.
We talked with our photographer about all of the photos we wanted taken before the wedding date, and we also consulted etiquette websites for guidance and found that what we wanted was legit. My father-in-law and Nancy were in other pictures, though neither of them smiled in any of them.
During the reception, Nancy voiced her not-so-nice opinion about me. My husband and I wrote a letter to his father and Nancy explaining how hurt we were with their actions at our wedding. My f-i-l called and apologized, while Nancy stated that we were the ones who were wrong and sent word that she would not apologize or even talk to us, for that matter. My f-i-l told us Nancy has been yelling at him constantly since the wedding because “he allowed us to take the picture she didn’t want taken.”
My husband is sad because his relationship with his dad has been compromised. I can see that Nancy has self-esteem and jealousy issues, but I am shocked at her behavior. I guess I am asking: Did we do something wrong? — Shocked in Green Bay
Dear Shocked: What can I say? The woman has no manners, no sense and a whopping case of insecurity. If she weren’t in any pictures, she might have something to complain about, but this was not the case. Consider it a gift from the gods that Nancy will not talk to you. And I have a hunch that your husband and his father will be just fine … when Nancy is not around. Also, if her behavior continues like this, Nancy may not be around. — Margo, forwardly
What, Exactly, Constitutes a Good Time?
Dear Margo: I am approaching my 21st birthday. While this is a milestone for many people, I find this birthday filling me with dread. Unlike the majority of my friends, I do not drink alcohol. Several things influenced this decision, including my work teaching teens the risks and consequences of underage substance use. It was also painful during my childhood to watch my father battle alcoholism and, eventually, rehab. And I have an addictive personality and try to avoid anything I feel could be trouble.
This decision has been a struggle because the social scene of my university consists largely of drinking. Until this point, I have always had a bunch of excuses, one of them being, “Sorry, but I don’t want to drink until I’m 21.” However, my roommate recently informed me that she and some friends are planning a 21st birthday bash for me at which I’m expected to get quite intoxicated. While I appreciate their “good intentions,” the thought of this get-together fills me with dread.
I have no problem with others consuming alcohol, but it’s not something I want to do. Is there a polite way to inform these people that they are welcome to get drunk at my party, but it’s not what I choose to do? I also do not choose to spend my birthday in an alcohol-induced haze. — Haley
Dear Hale: You do not owe your pals a night of being blotto just because that’s their idea of a good time. I would plainly say, should anyone inquire, that you don’t care for the taste of alcohol and have decided to be an abstainer. If anyone is gauche enough to push you as to why — or why not — simply repeat that you choose not to drink. You can do a “bottoms up” or make a toast just as easily with water, soda or juice.
Peer pressure to drink is just an unfortunate exemplar of herd mentality, and I’ve never figured out why non-drinkers are a “challenge” to those who do. Oh, well. Props to you for your decision — and happy birthday! — Margo, individually
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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