Get your indignation handy

Because you're going to need it.

So I have this friend. To preserve her privacy we'll call her Chessica. She is in her mid-twenties, very cute, very nice, and very single. Her younger sister has just become unofficially engaged. This is the time when people buy dresses and plan weddings and schedule venues but are not actually engaged because there is no ring.

I have no patience for those people. If he asks and she says yes, you're engaged. So quit being all coy about it.

Anyway, I believe I have already discussed how it's sometimes traumatic for us older sisters to have our younger sisters get married first. Yes, you have to just suck it up and get over it, but the length and severity of the process is different for everyone. So, Chessica is doing her best to have a good attitude & be happy for her sister & help out with the preparations.

Apparently, though, younger sis is not so much bothered about wedding preparations and so Mom is feeling like she needs to get a handle on everything nowrightnow! So she calls on responsible, reliable Chessica for assistance.

(Note: How happy am I now that my wedding wasn't the first one? Very. Because that mess was crazy and now mine won't be. As much. Plus I'll being hiring out for all services and will make everyone sign contracts with their own blood.)

Now we come to the extra fun. Here is Chess, trying to have a good attitude and not take her younger sister's impending nuptials as a sign that she is doomed to spinsterhood and cats. Mom calls up and tells her that a local bridal shop is having a sale, but that the Bride-to-be is too busy to go try on dresses. So what they've decided would be best is if Mom and Chessica go to the bridal shop. C can try on the dresses and Mom will take pictures for Sis to approve.


Now . . .


See . . .

[still pausing]

YEAH. If my mom ever approached me with such an idea (not that she ever, ever would, because my mom is sane), I don't even know how I would respond. There would be explosions and balls of flame and faces melting off, though. My sister Jenny says her response would include the words of "Go to hell" somewhere in there for sure.

I mean, really. Going to try on wedding dresses is supposed to be this big fun deal--when you're the bride. Otherwise you're just this sad body double thinking, "Have I just jinxed myself?" as you look toward a future of other acts of surrogacy, like when the bride doesn't want to show up for her own engagement pictures and asks you to be the stand-in and she'll just Photoshop her face on later, or when she decides that she doesn't want to get stretch marks so how about you just carry her children, or possibly when she has a "headache" she'll call up and ask you to just come over and . . . you get my point.

And yes, Little Miss Bridezilla, I am talking about you. It was your idea to have Chessica try on dresses for you since you were too busy making out with your fiance or whatever, and then when your mom called to say that C refused because she wasn't comfortable with that and it might be hard for her, you responded with, "Why should that be hard for her?"

Also? The bride is 23. I was expecting her to be 19 when I heard about the crap she's trying to pull.

So the best bit hasn't even happened yet. A few days later C's parents came over to talk to her. She thought they were going to apologize for being insensitive. Instead, they told her that they were very concerned about her attitude and didn't see why she was making such a big deal out of everything and her sister can totally see that C isn't happy enough for her and is worried that C is going to sabotage her wedding with such a bad attitude.

Shunned. All of them.

Because "being happy for your sister" clearly means "doing the bride's work for her" and other humiliating services that will require therapy afterwards. I think C should just boycott the whole thing and spend the wedding day lounging on a Hawaiian beach somewhere drinking slushy fruit drinks brought to her by hot smooth-skinned men with great shoulders. No AK-47s needed.


Kristeee said... [reply]

Oh. my. I would be devastated - I'd seriously have broken down and sobbed at my parents. Aside from the whole insanity that is Chess' situation (deep condolences to her, that's awful), I have serious beef about how some people decide how you're supposed to be "supportive", and give you crap if you don't fit their mold.

Self-indulgent example: My SIL is pregnant and was really upset at first (her first pregnancy was really traumatic and she was scared spitless), so I didn't say a whole lot and talked with her about other things for the first few months. Turns out I'm not supportive and am jealous of her being pregnant, or so I hear. I'm glad I know about these things. I thought I was being supportive in not talking to her as if she were nothing but an incubator, especially when she didn't want to be one. Shows what I know.

Cicada said... [reply]

Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously.

If had to try on dresses, I cry the entire time.

Reading this makes me 1) glad that I don't have a sister and 2) glad that my parents are sensitive, right-thinking, and caring.

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

"There would be explosions and balls of flame and faces melting off, though."

So it would be pretty much like the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Also, I have to admit that I was one of those stupid "unofficially engaged" people. *hangs head in shame* I don't know if it's the hormones that make you think the ring is what makes it official, but I think that if you've booked the sealing room in the temple and bought a wedding dress, that's really about as official as you can get.

At least I recognize the folly of my youth and repent of my ways. That counts for something, right?

lilcis said... [reply]

OH MY HELL! That is just awful. AWFUL! Poor Chessica (btw, I keep reading that as Chest-ica). She needs to tell her parents and sister that she will in no way help with any further planning of this wedding. They can just tell her where to show up and what dress to wear. Seriously people.

Nerd Goddess said... [reply]

I don't even want to think about how angry that makes me. I may be the youngest of all the girls in my family, but if I'm EVER that insensitive when it comes time for my wedding, may any or all of my older sisters whallop me across the head with a bat.

lilcis said... [reply]

When I was in high school my sister got married (at the ripe old age of 19). I traveled to San Francisco with her, my mom and aunt to pick out her wedding dress. And guess what - they wanted me to try on the dresses too so that when I got married I could just wear hers. Excuse me? Forget the fact that I was in HIGH SCHOOL and marriage was not even on my radar. Forget that we have COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STYLES. No way was I EVER going to wear a hand-me-down wedding dress was ugly as sin.

I hated everything about my sister's wedding. Firstly, she wanted her colors to be burgundy and forest green. But when we were in San Francisco we found these 'lovely' purple taffeta dresses with white lace pilgrim flaps and puff sleeves. So those became her bridesmaid dresses. Did she change her colors? Nope. The table clothes were still green and burgundy, and the groomsmen wore green slacks with white shirts and flowered ties. UGLY! And way more casual than our fancy taffeta dresses. Then, the food was catered by MY GRANDPARENTS. That's right, my grandparents and aunt spent the entire reception in the kitchen. The menu? Taco salad.

There's more, but this comment is already too long. Let's just say that I promised myself that my wedding reception would be nothing like the rushed hack job that was my sister's. Thankfully, it wasn't.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

My indignation is so fired up. The thing I hate about this too is how involved the mom is. Um, it's not her wedding. If the daughter doesn't have time to try on dresses, maybe she really does't have time to get married. Seriously. If you can't even plan your own wedding, you shouldn't get married. If I were the fiance I would be running scared--this is setting the stage for way too much parental overinvolvement down the road.

I think I'm going to be like my mom and live 2000 miles away from my kids so I can just show up the day before the wedding and smile in all the pictures.

amyjane said... [reply]

What the crap? Are you making this up or exaggerating in any way? You know, for literary effect? Please say you are cause if not...some mom's just suck. How could they even think that would be OK? On what planet? There are just some things that everyone smart knows are not OK.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Kristeee, I think there were tears. And also, what the heck is up with your SIL? I mean, aside from hormones and general craziness. Also I hate it when people have odd secret expectations and then when you don't meet them they decide you're jealous. Because we just walk around being jealous of everyone, all the time!

Cicada, yes. You are very lucky in so many ways. Of course, I'm hearing from friends in your situation that the SILs turn out to be more than they bargained for.

Squirrel boy, I have a hard time judging you because you're just so darned nice. So no worries.

Lilcis, I KNOW!!!! Also, you just about killed me with the story of your sister's wedding. Please please please tell me that was in the late 80s or early 90s. My eyes just got bigger and bigger while I read that.

Nerd goddess, you are right. There should be bats. Lots of lots of bats.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Foxyj, WORD. You are saying all my thoughts for me.

Amyjane, I swear in this case I'm not exaggerating. In fact, I forgot to tell you that the mom has started asking Chessica for wedding ideas--like ideas that she had for her own wedding. I told her she'd better keep those to herself. That's like baby names, that is.

Tusk said... [reply]

I am LIVID!! What the heck do those insensitive, blinking asshat skankbags think they're trying to pull!? GAH!!


Shunning is very much an option.

Scully said... [reply]

And I thought it was bad when my brother hung up on me for refusing to be a bridesmaid for his 19 year-old child bride. At least my parents were on my side. I think the Schrute Shun should be employed by your friend. Also, perhaps it is time for my friend and Esperanza and I to open that Old Maid Commune (complete with platinum selling band) we planned in high school. Maybe we could take over an abandoned leper colony in Hawaii.

Jenny said... [reply]

We should give Chessica a list of horrible awful wedding ideas to give to her mother. That would be so cool.
I'm thinking a farm/hoe down theme with a nice luncheon at Chuck O Rama, and maybe some hay bales set up for photos. They could have lots of after dinner mints. I know a really crappy wedding photographer we can recommend also. She did my friends wedding and it was horrible.

(Which is where my mother in law's sister in law convinved her we should have our luncheon. Needless to say, she wasn't invited, and I didn't have my luncheon there. Freaks.)

I hope poor Chessica survives the rest of her life with these freaky relatives.

Jenny said... [reply]

I meant that Chuck O Rama is where she wanted us to have the luncheon. That didn't come out right the first time.

Wodin said... [reply]

Even though you don't know me, I thought you were talking about me at first. Until you got to the part about the wedding dresses. Ugh. I mean, yeah, my sister who is 6 years younger than I am is getting married before I am, but at least she has the sense to purchase her own wedding dress and not be a jerk about things.

"Chessica" should smile politely and pick the ugliest damn dress there is. I mean, with long lacey sleeves and a horrible waist-line.

kristen said... [reply]

What the crap? ok, I was totally thinking along the lines of Jenny; so when I read her comments, I laughed out loud.

I think this girl should do all of the following:
a) try on skanky wedding dresses for her sister and mother
b) show up to the wedding with some Harley Davidson tattoed (sp?) multiple body piercing boy
c) suggest she be the DJ and play songs from the Wedding Singer (i.e. Love Stinks)

Panini said... [reply]

poor C -- that's ridiculous and heartless. I can't believe they were extra mean to her on top of it. good for her for refusing!

Edgy said... [reply]

I am likely the one person who is grateful you have posted this tale of woe. My aunt got married Saturday, and my sister is getting married Friday. I have had issues with these weddings on a number of fronts. But at least things aren't as bad as what Chessica's dealing with.

Lady Steed said... [reply]

Oh my goodness, that is so so so horrible.

Who doesn't have time to try on wedding dresses? For their own freaking wedding?! If you don't want to do the dress thing then you obviously should just forgo the whole formal wedding thing and elope.

If Chess protests and does not attend, I bet sis. will probably whine that Chess's absence will mess up the completeness of the family pictures,in which case Chess can just tell them to photoshop her face onto a bridesmaid's.

Squirrel Boy: It only counts for something if you pass this realization on to your children. Rock and metal do not a commitment make.

Anonymous said... [reply]

POOR GIRL! She needs to set some boundaries really quickly. First one is: no planning for "almost engagements". If it's almost, then it's not yet, and if it's not yet, then it's not worth the $8.95 for the bridal magazine!

My dh and I have birthdays only a few days apart, so we tend to throw a big party for ourselves and invite all the family over. Mostly, we just like watching our cute nieces and nephews eat cake. Last year, my MIL asked me too add my brother-in-law's name (her daughter's husband - his bday is pretty close too) to the cake so "he wouldn't feel left out". Uh, no. I won't be doing that.

How come when we're trying to be nice to one person, we have to squish out someone else??

Miss Hass said... [reply]

I feel sick inside. How could parents do that?

I've been there with the whole younger sibling thing (granted, they were brothers, but they were two weeks apart and they both married 18-year-olds, so I think it kind of evens out?).

Anyway, my mom allowed me to be incredibly UNinvolved. I think she asked me about whether there would be enough food at the reception. It was perfect.

I didn't hate anybody, so I bought each set of newlyweds Calphalon pans as a wedding gift.

So, moral: Don't ask force anyone to be involved with your wedding and you get a rocking present and no one hates anyone.

Carly said... [reply]

I have total sympathy! I'm the oldest and both my younger sister and younger brother are married. It was really hard when my sis got married, at 19 (I'm 4 years older). I cried a lot. I always thought I'd be first. But I got over it, and seriously, I'm glad I'm still single.

But parents can sometimes make things worse without realizing they are being super insensitive.

Like when I was in Alaska for my brother's wedding (he got married second) and I was talking to my mom about how I really wanted to get a mini cooper, or a little purse dog, and I asked her, Didn't she think I'd be cute in a mini cooper with a purse dog? And she said to me, "You'd be cuter pushing a stroller with a ring on your finger!" Yeah, that was harsh, and I told her so. Sometimes there's nothing you can do to make people understand how you feel and you just have to do what's best for yourself.

We feel for ya, Chessica.

Lindsay said... [reply]

Oh. Wow. WOW. I'm pretty much completely horrified. Poor Chessica!

Also, the whole "unofficially engaged" business -- what is up with that? Either you're getting married or your not.

Usually Happy said... [reply]

I LOVE Jenny's idea's! I really think Chessica should do that. Will you please print all of these out for her and tell her to really try to push the Chuck-O-Rama one...that's my favorite!

Here's my own two bits of a story: I have a friend who went through almost the same exact thing. EXCEPT her boyfriend of two years broke up with her on the same day that her younger sister got engaged. Then her parents asked her to plan the huge family bridal shower for her sis a week later. Then they got mad when my friend didn't seem to be as excited about the whole thing as she should have been. What is wrong with parents these days?!

April said... [reply]

That whole situation is just disgusting and disgraceful. Those family members should be ashamed of themselves. If you aren't mature enough to try on your own freaking wedding dress, then you obviously aren't mature enough to actually get married.

Schrute Shun indeed.

Tolkien Boy said... [reply]

Does she have brothers? Maybe she could suggest that they be the ones to try on the dress. It makes the same kind of sense.

lilcis said... [reply]

Jenny had some great ideas. She should suggest the worst things she can think of, with all seriousness. If her sister doesn't have the good sense to realize they're bad ideas she deserves what she gets.

BTW, my sister's wedding was in '95.

blackjazz said... [reply]

When I read "What is wrong with parents these days?" I couldn't help thinking that another important question is "What is wrong with weddings these days?"

It's like every one has to be grander and more expensive than the one before. I find the whole thing so decadent. Since there are now 2 divorces for every wedding, I'm inclined to think that more people should be concentrating on making their marriage work, not making their wedding a wonderful event.

AzĂșcar said... [reply]


carly---get out. "Cuter pushing a stroller with a ring on your finger"? Now I am APALLED. I would have swallowed my mom alive for that comment.

I have a tale from the other side of unofficial engagements. When we got engaged we didn't have a ring. We didn't have one for several months. We proceeded to plan the wedding. I was TOLD by other people that our engagement was "unofficial" since we didn't have a ring. Excuse me? It's official to us!

Natalie said... [reply]

I have thought about this for quite a while, and was very disturbed. But, then I figured out what is really going on. Chessica's family is really planning a surprise wedding for her. With a groom that is righteous, intelligent, funny and looks like Hugh Jackman. Oh, and he loves to do dishes and laundry, too. That is what must be happening, because if not, her family is from hell, and I just don't want to believe that about anyone.

So, what dear Chess must do is be careful not to lead her family down the cheesy path, because, really, who wants to celebrate their surprise wedding to Hugh Jackman at the Chuck-O-Rama? Instead, she should suggest only the finest, most expensive, classy, sophisticated, beautiful, and did I mention most expensive, things. Then, she and Hugh can celebrate their happy day in style. Or, if, by chance, the surprise wedding is a sham, her evil parents will end up in the poorhouse, and will resent their not-Chessica daughter until the day they die.

And, that is what I call a win-win.

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