Demanding handwritten thank-you notes in a world of viral emails

About yesterday’s post?

Oh, it’s real, all right. This is not a hoax.

Shine tells us:

When Withers received the email (Bourne sent it three times to be sure) she did what anyone would do: she forwarded it to a few friends to share in the shock. What was the alternative —respond with a ‘frowny’ face? But instead of simply offering advice, some anonymous friend got pro-active and forwarded Bourne’s e-attack, launching a viral sensation in a matter of hours. Now everyone in the Western Hemisphere has laid eyes on Bourne’s email.

In a way, it’s the ultimate revenge on a mother-in-law who needed to be put in her place after such power-mongering. But it’s not going to make for smooth wedding. Bourne has been labeled the mother-in-law from hell by media outlets and Withers’ father Alan has fueled the fire  by publicly calling Bourne “Miss fancy pants.” Now parents on both sides of the couple are feuding and nobody’s manners are in check. Suggestion for Heidi and Freddie, her groom: elope.

I think calling her “Miss fancy pants” is way too gentle, personally.

Anyway. I agree with Shine’s suggestion: elope. Fuck the glamorous wedding ceremony, fuck the pretty white gown that’ll cost a thousand-some pounds and that you’ll only wear once, fuck the rehearsal dinner, fuck the catered reception, fuck the bridesmaid and best man politics. Heidi and Freddie should run off to some remote coastal town and get married at the courthouse. They can hold a post-marriage party for their friends after the dust settles, but leave the parents out of it. Mrs. My Stepson Deserves Better has already shown that no good will come of having her at the festivities, and Heidi’s father would have been much classier just to point out that sorry, his daughter was foolish enough to be born to parents who couldn’t save up for their daughters’ weddings and still keep the lights on through her childhood. So sorry he’s out of work now and can’t put up any bread for the event!

As to the question of whether Mrs. Bourne’s email is forgivable, well, that depends on how she behaves herself in the future. Simply coming to the wedding and maintaining a “dignified silence” is weak tea. If Heidi and Freddie must insist on having the big lavish wedding that everyone seems to think is necessary, then his stepmother would show a lot more class if she just stayed home. I was just using the hypoglycemic/celiac idea as a hypothetical, but now I’m hearing that Ms. Withers is diabetic, which means that Mrs. Bourne’s scolding her for her eating habits is not just brittle but dangerously insensitive. She could start by apologizing for not being ready to accommodate Heidi’s nutritional needs, for one, and not ever make that mistake again. Here’s a pretty simple tip on hospitality: if a guest says she’s hungry, get her something to eat. If said guest has diabetes, and says she needs to eat only certain types of food, and certain amounts, within a certain time-frame, you’d best meet her needs and don’t act like it’s a chore. Even if you haven’t been told your guest has diabetes, it should not be such a terrible imposition on your generosity to see that any guest isn’t shaking with hunger.

For such a posh, privileged woman, however, she doesn’t seem to know much about class. She doesn’t know much about showing flexibility, generosity and warmth to a guest. She seems to think that all the onus is on the guest to make the family visit run smoothly. You would think that a woman who so prides herself on her conduct and comportment would have a better understanding of the concept of “hospitality.” You would think that with all her harping over thank-you notes, she might remember that emails can get passed to friends, who might pass them on to other people. And I don’t fault Heidi for sharing the email, either: I’m sure she just wanted to say to her friends, “OMG look at how she’s treating me!” so they could comfort her and assure her it’s not fair, and someone paid it forward and it got out of control. You would think that with her pearl-clutching over Heidi’s “drawing attention to herself” (whatever that means), she would know well enough to make her complaints to Freddie in private and trust him to advise his fiancee. You would think that if she felt so “insulted” by whatever joke Heidi made at the pub, she would know better than to sneer at Heidi’s parents for not having a few ten-thousand pounds sitting around. If she really hopes to be forgiven for this incident, what she’ll need to learn first is self-awareness.

There’s still the question, however, of how Freddie is handling himself with all this. I realize that parents can be intimidating and that Mrs. Bourne seems like more trouble than it’s worth to argue with her, but, with the expectation of a happy marriage? Lines will need to be drawn.